The Green Mountain National Forest– 400,000 acres of diverse use land– boasts hiking, snowshoeing and soon enough renewable energy to run 13,000 Vermont homes for a year.
“We started this process many years ago and today we’re very proud of the work that we’ve put into it,” said Ethan Ready of the U.S. Forest Service.
It’s a process that’s been studied by the U.S. Forest Service since 2008. And while part of the process involved public hearings and public comment, some are still not happy with the outcome.
“The wilderness is supposed to be treated as something on a pedestal that’s very rare and very unique. And that’s why they were created,” said Justin Lindholm of Vermonters for a Clean Environment.
Though the slated 80-acre location, which will be operated by Deerfield Wind LLC, is not in a designated wilderness, it is within 2 miles of one. And for Lindholm that’s too close for comfort.
“Every time you look to the east the entire eastern horizon will be whirling blades. Every time you sit in the core of that wilderness you will hear the whomp, whomp, whomp of turbine blades,” Lindholm said.
But Ready says the installation of 15 400-foot tall state-of-the-art turbines will meet all national environmental regulations.
“This specific site is not in a wilderness area. And there are no buffers where you’ve got to be 6 miles from wilderness; you’re either in wilderness or you’re not in wilderness,” Ready said.
And while Vermonters for a Clean Environment have raised concerns that the blasting to install those wind turbines could bring harm to bear and fish populations, Ready says two years of studies have shown there will be no permanent damage to any wildlife populations.
“Are there going to be impacts? There’s going to be some impacts. Will they be so devastating the world is going to come to an end? I don’t think that that’s the case,” Ready said.
On Jan. 9 Vermonters for a Clean Environment do plan to file an official appeal of the project and they’ll receive a response within 45 days, but Ready says he doesn’t anticipate the appeal will hinder the process from moving forward.
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