In June of 2012, the select boards in the towns of Hubbardton, Castleton, Pittsford and West Rutland voted to oppose the Grandpa’s Knob wind park project proposed by Reunion Power.
These votes took place after several months of open meetings, public protest and attendance at select board meetings by the opposition. They took place after formal presentations held by the developer in each town, as well as many private meetings at which the developer invited landowners and residents to discuss the project “in private.”
The proponents and opponents of this project have both had ample opportunity to express their opinions. In West Rutland on the night of the Select Board, there were only three people who spoke in support of the project and dozens who spoke to oppose the project. It is my opinion, and I believe that of the select board members who voted to oppose the project, that the select boards listened to their constituents, weighed the evidence and the costs and benefits on both sides, and then voted based on this process. And I thank all of those public officials for doing so. This is how the democratic process is supposed to work.
Yet Reunion is still here and has not formally “packed its bags.” What part of “no” does this developer not understand? Well, perhaps the part he revealed to Bill Greene that he “has friends in high places.”
Gov. Peter Shumlin earlier stated that wind projects would not be built where the towns did not want them. Now that our towns have sent this message, he is changing that statement to that of a town vote that we need to hold to prove that we do not want them.
Forcing town votes on our communities, when the residents have spoken and the select boards have listened, is wrong. This will only result in much more work for the opposition, as we are fighting for our homes and quality of life and we will not stop. It will also result in more suspect behavior on the part of the developer who will try to lobby our townspeople to change their minds and sell out to his financial benefit. And it will result in more division and strife in our local communities.
Shame on you, Gov. Shumlin. One has to wonder if you are on the payroll of the developer. Or if you just identify with the wealthy and big corporations more than middle-class Vermonters. Why should anyone vote for you in the next election when you clearly have no regard for local government, the democratic process, or the concerns of average citizens of your state?
LISA WRIGHT GARCIA
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