May 2, 2012

High drama at Derby meeting

By Laura Carpenter, The Newport Daily Express, 1 May 2012

DERBY – The select board meeting Monday quickly grew heated when the proposed Derby Line wind project was brought up.

Chair of the Derby Wind Committee, Sue Best, a town lister, attempted to explain to the select board that attorney Richard Saudek wants to know Derby’s official stand on the wind project in order to move forward with the contract.

The guidelines for the contract at the current time are that it is supposed to be favorable to the town. But Best and the select board were continually interrupted by a couple of Derby residents.

Glenda Nye and Vicki Lewis said that the board never made a motion or took an official vote on drafting of a contract. Nye said that Roberts Rules of Order are not being followed and made other loud, passionate statements. Nye and chair of the select board Brian Smith went back and forth with heated comments.

“I will see you in court,” Nye said multiple times as she stood and pointed at Smith.

Both accused each other of being out of order.

Nye accused Smith of calling her a “nut job” in a private conversation that followed a public meeting weeks before. Smith said Tuesday he doesn’t remember saying that. Nye brought it up multiple times at the select board meeting Monday and finally Smith said, “Well, if the shoe fits.” Again, Nye again said she would see Smith in court.

Nye and others are outspoken opponents of the proposed wind turbines on two farms just east of Derby Line and near the US-Canadian border. Tension continues to grow on both sides of the border.

The select board decided to hold a special select board meeting tonight, Wednesday, at 6 p.m., to discuss the wind project.

Stanstead Council member Paul Stuart read a statement to the select board expressing Stanstead’s opposition to the project. He said Stanstead wants to stand with the American towns to oppose the project.

Select board member Karen Jenne read a letter from a Canadian resident who is in the process of building a home approximate 325 feet away from where one of the proposed, 400-plus foot tall turbines could be constructed. In the letter, the homeowner warns of possible legal action against the Town of Derby and the villages of Derby Center and Derby Line if the turbine project is supported.

Canadian opposition is growing with concerns over health effects, safety, and property values.

Best resigned from the Derby Wind Committee Monday. In her letter of resignation, she said she can’t sit on a committee with some members whom she views have a conflict of interest from the stated mission and are using information gained at committee session to further their own agenda. She went on to say that the only purpose of some of the members is to stall the project long enough to so that the developers decide to abandon their plans.

Smith read the letter as Best packed up and left the room. Smith stated that he would like to disband the entire committee and get new members who are “unbiased.”

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