We had the honor today of meeting many Vermonters of all ages and from all walks of life. All of them are concerned about the future of Vermont and the impact that greedy corporations are having on our beautiful state.
The event was a well-organized, informational open house that included a hike up to the Lowell Mountains ridgeline. The views at the top were spectacular. Vermont’s mountains, hillsides and farmlands were a primary reason we moved to this state.
The devastation from Green Mountain Power on the ridgeline was beyond the scope of our imaginations. The blasting has created a huge crater where they are pulverizing the blasted rock to make the roads and pads for the 21 460-foot wind turbines (the size of a 40-story building.) More than 135 acres of forested land are being clear cut.
Storm water runoff, habitat destruction and habitat fragmentation, as well as impacts to birds and bats have been verified at existing wind turbine sites, both in Vermont and other states. There are also the adverse health effects on people and animals from the noise of the turbines.
We knew this information before our trek up the mountain. The total picture became even more depressing, however, as we learned so much more from this public open house.
Do you know that most (about 96 percent) of greenhouse gas emissions in Vermont come from heating and transportation fuels?
Solution: We can reduce our carbon footprint by focusing on weatherization and transportation, not electricity generation (e.g. wind turbines).
Are you aware that there is no need for increased electricity generation in Vermont? There is an excess supply!
Solution: Vermont’s solar resource is 620 times larger than its wind resource and it does not wreak such havoc on the environment. Solar’s cost is going down and should be equal to today’s retail electricity rates in 2015.
Did you know the Vermont Public Service Board issued a permit to Green Mountain Power without requiring that they secure adequate safety zones for blasting and logging, that they show that they had clear title to that land or that they establish the value of the mountain they are destroying (storm water runoff, etc.)?
The fact that GMP staff have stated that without the federal subsidies the Lowell Project would not be happening is outrageous. Corporate greed is the motivating factor in yet another area of our lives!
Vermont needs a clear cut, fair, statewide energy policy where the general public can weigh in before more mountaintops are ruined by corporations and their political ties. Question and answer sessions all over Vermont followed by a statewide referendum might be a good solution.
In conclusion, our hats go off to the Lowell Mountain occupiers and the open house organizers for their dedication and their perseverance for justice on behalf of Vermont’s most precious environment and all its inhabitants.
Jenn and Bob Nixon
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