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Inside the blasting zone: Georgia wind company gets court restraining order

Neighbors opposed to a four-turbine wind energy project now under construction in Milton have been ordered to stay away from the project’s blasting zone or risk arrest, according to documents on file at Chittenden Superior Court in Burlington.

“Persons who refuse to move away from the boundaries as directed by this order shall be removed, arrested and … issued a citation to appear before this court at the earliest possible date to receive notice of criminal contempt,” Judge Geoffrey Crawford wrote in four-page temporary restraining order issued late last week.

Georgia Mountain Community Wind obtained the court order Friday after three people – including a 12- or 13-year-old boy – set up a tent inside the blasting zone Thursday afternoon just before a scheduled blast was to take place, a police affidavit filed with the court said.

The order and the decision by the company, Georgia Mountain Community Wind, was sharply criticized by Heidi Fitzgerald, who opposes the project and whose mother, Jane Fitzgerald, owns land adjacent to it. Part of the Fitzgerald property is contained within the blasting zone.

“How can anyone remove us from our own property, without even a hearing,” Heidi Fitzgerald said in a statement released by Energize Vermont, a group that promotes renewable energy projects it says are in harmony with Vermont’s character. “It isn’t our fault they don’t have enough space to blast into the mountain for this supposed green energy project.”

Jane Fitzgerald was among the three people who were discovered inside the blasting zone on Thursday. The other two were Daniel Fitzgerald and a youth who identified himself as “David,” according to a police affidavit filed with the court.

David Blittersdorf, chief executive officer of All Earth Renewables and a partner in Georgia Mountain Community Wind, did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Ritchie Berger, the firm’s attorney, said in an interview that the company had taken extensive safety precautions and was limited by permit conditions to use explosives only between 3 p.m and 5 p.m. on weekdays.

Berger also said that, because of the actions by the Fitzgeralds, the blasting Thursday was postponed and the company had to have a worker camp out at the work site to provide security overnight for the undetonated explosive charges embedded in the rock.

Berger said the site of the blasting is a remote “ledgy knob of hilltop” a mile from anyone’s home. A court hearing on preliminary injunction being sought by the company is scheduled for Aug. 30.