I want to thank the Select Boards of the four towns of Castleton, Hubbardton, Pittsford, and West Rutland, for the positions they took to stand together with the Agency of Natural Resources, opposed to the ridgeline development project proposed for Grandpa’s Knob and the Pittsford Ridge. Where wind surely has a place in our nation’s mix, it has to be wanted by the regions and town(s) upon which it will be imposed; it has to bear effectiveness and efficiency and need while truly and actually not impacting these communities adversely.
I have attended every Pittsford Select Board meeting since April. These past few months, I have also attended many other meetings pertaining to the proposed development in Castleton, West Rutland, Pittsford and also a few in Rutland. It is clear that the Select Board members are attentive to the issues that stand to impact our region. Their votes as town boards, combined with Hubbardton’s resolution, show careful, informed assessment in how they have weighed the decision that rested with them.
The Agency of Natural Resources took a position early on, with regard to Reunion Power’s proposal for the area, and stated that the project would have “undue impacts that could not be mitigated.”
This was a position taken as this agency knows well the importance of ridgeline ecosystems and the value of these as a resource, for what is balanced within the existence of them. Protection of such an integral resource has been seen as important by the ANR, as this agency continues to come out strongly against such development upon ridges, and specifically this ridge of the Grandpa’s Knob region. The impacts are irreversible to upland and lowland watersheds, to natural erosion control, to water quality, with regard to noise/health and quality of life impacts for residents in proximity, to rare and endangered species, to migration corridors for wildlife, to economic and historical integrity of our region, to property values and tax bases of affected towns; and the benefits/merits are simply not there and/or are not substantial when the potential power generated back is deemed by VELCO as unnecessary in light of the glut of electricity in the Northeast for the next 20 years. Glut and demand deems this project unnecessary.
Politically, projects like this are an agenda, especially when considering that Green Mountain Power is the biggest donor to Shumlin. An understanding begins to clarify, shone in that light.
Still and all, where our Select Boards are concerned, they voted to stand together. They voted to stand with the Agency of Natural Resources. They all voiced the need to work together, all four towns, to create a clear community standard in their town plans. Clearly they stood to protect us, as best they can, by doing their jobs. I offer them much appreciation and wholehearted thanks.
VANESSA MILLS HOLMQUIST
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