August 7, 2012
Letters, Vermont

No free passes for industrial wind

Rutland Herald via Grandpa's Knob Wind Project

Recently an article appeared in Vermont news outlets titled “Wind facility seeks permit for bat deaths.” In this article, it was stated that “the company that owns and operates a Vermont wind power project in Sheffield is asking the state for permission in advance in case endangered bats are killed by spinning turbine blades.”

This is the first ever “Endangered and Threatened Species Taking Permit” to be requested in the state of Vermont. The state of Vermont placed the little brown bat on the state’s endangered species list last year because the species has been decimated by white nose syndrome. First Wind Executive Cowan was quoted as stating that in the last year 20 bats were killed at the Sheffield wind farm, although none were little browns.

We know in advance that wind turbines will kill bats, and we can assume that if there are any little browns left in Vermont, they will be among the bats killed. Why would the state of Vermont allow a project to proceed when we know that project will cause irreparable harm to an endangered species? And why would we give them a free pass to do this harm?

This is just one more way we are subsidizing industrial wind in this state and in this country. And this is one more way industrial wind is deceiving the “host communities” which they invade. I’d bet that if we reviewed statements made before First Wind pushed their industrial wind project through in the first place, they had some bought and paid-for research that showed they would not do this harm. The state of Vermont needs to stop allowing these corporations to lie in advance about harm they will cause. Since it is too late for that in Sheffield, the state of Vermont needs to do the right thing and deny this permit and fine First Wind for these harmful actions.

West Rutland

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