Anti-wind rally on the border; Quebec politicians enter fray
Credit: Robin Smith, Staff Writer, The Orleans Record, orleanscountyrecord.com 7 May 2012 ~~
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DERBY LINE, Vt./STANSTEAD, Quebec – A member of the Canadian Parliament representing the border town of Stanstead wants to be a party in the Vermont regulatory hearings over the Derby Line Wind Project.
MP Jean Rousseau said Sunday, during a rally on the lawn at the international Haskell Free Library, that he will also present a petition opposing two industrial-sized wind turbines in Derby near homes in Stanstead to the Canadian House of Commons this week.
Roussea is seeking a unanimous vote of support from the House of Commons for the petition. “This is endangering the citizens of Stanstead,” said Rousseau, a member of the minority New Democratic Party.
Sen. Joe Benning of Lyndonville told the hundreds of people at the rally that the region is “under attack by people seeking to make a quick dollar.”
Benning unsuccessfully sought a moratorium in the Vermont Legislature to put new wind projects on hold for more study. He accused Gov. Peter Shumlin of promoting wind projects.
“Our present administration is on a mission to target the Northeast Kingdom with wind projects. That cannot happen,” Benning said.
Pierre Reid, member of the Quebec National Assembly for Stanstead, said that as a member of the ruling Liberal Party, he has asked his staff to look into the project and its impact on neighboring homeowners in Stanstead. And he has written to the developer to explain why the proposed sites are not feasible.
Encore Redevelopment is proposing to erect two turbines on two farms in Derby, between Derby Line and Holland and each within a mile from the U.S.-Canadian border.
Canadians have been in an uproar since neighbors were notified by the developer of the project. And some American neighbors are also upset that they weren’t notified when Encore first asked for certification of public good for the project from the Vermont Public Service Board.
Rousseau said he asked to participate in the PSB proceedings two weeks ago and has not had any response yet. Groups of American neighbors and a large group of Canadian neighbors are seeking status in the hearings.
Encore has asked for the PSB to slow down the proceedings, with technical hearings in July. The turbines would not be erected before next year.
The rally attracted possibly 100 Americans and twice as many Canadians, plus a slew of Quebec reporters and TV crews along with reporters from local newspapers.
It also drew other politicians, including Derby Selectmen Karen Jenne and Beula-Jean Shattuck, members of the Stanstead town council and Rep. Lynn Batchelor of Derby Line, all opposed to the wind project.
Wind opponents Don and Shirley Nelson of Lowell and Steve Wright of Craftsbury, who are fighting the Lowell wind project, were there.
Stanstead Mayor Philippe Dutil said the project would affect the whole community.
Speaker after speaker urged the locals to keep fighting the wind project. Canadian Jean-Francois Nadeau, who owns property next to one of the farms, told the protesters that the border community successfully fought the idea of having a border site on a list of potential high-level nuclear waste depots.
“We won that fight,” he said. “We’ll win this one too.”
Steve Therrien of Sheffield, who has recently spoken out about how his family is hearing noise from the First Wind turbines in Sheffield, said he wasn’t opposed to the turbines when they were proposed.
Now, he is hearing roaring sounds some days and a constant noise that is becoming annoying. He is concerned about his family’s health.
“I actually asked them to buy me out. I got no response,” Therrien said. “I don’t want to be a guinea pig. I have two young kids.”
Someone yelled that Shumlin has said that he would love to live near a turbine.
“Put them in his backyard,” yelled another person.
“Shumlin, if you are a man of the people, come and talk turkey,” Therrien said.
Reid said that he disagrees with those who oppose all wind projects. They are needed, but in the right location. The developer didn’t take into account that some of the closest neighbors are not in the U.S., he said.
“These are strong enough reasons to go elsewhere,” he said.
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