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Groups protest statehouse to protect ridgelines

Montpelier, Vermont – People looking to put an end to mountain windmill projects took over the Vermont Statehouse, Thursday. They were found outside holding signs and playing music.

FOX44 was there as they packed into the Statehouse hallways and jammed into committee rooms, trying to pass along this message.

“We are calling for an immediate moratorium on further utility-scale wind development in our state,” said Energize Vermont Director of Communications Lukas Snelling.

The group put up photos taken from the top of Lowell Mountain, a place that Vermont’s second-largest utility, Green Mountain Power, is putting in a number of windmills.

Some people believe before the state adds more of these types of projects it needs to step back.

“Basically because there’s pristine wilderness and now it’s a superhighway of sorts,” said Robert Hurst.

FOX44 asked state lawmakers who heard testimony on Thursday about the possibility of a moratorium. They say it’s an idea that won’t get very far.

“Wind is a part of our renewable energy portfolio and I think it will stay that way. The question is how much and where,” said State Senator Virginia Lyons.

Governor Peter Shumlin wants 90% of Vermont’s energy to be renewable by 2050.

Some people say they hope we get there but without having to ruin the beauty of the Green Mountain State.

“We think that solar with its impressive decline in price, its universal resource and its scalability for our communities is a much better solution for renewable energy in this state,” said Snelling.

People were talking to lawmakers Thursday, not to provide information for a bill, but for lawmakers to have that information on hand for future decisions.