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Town leaders resolve to delay wind

CLARENDON – Two municipal boards support a temporary halt on wind projects throughout the region until more studies can be completed on potential impacts of large scale turbines.

The Clarendon Select Board has joined town planners in requesting the Rutland Regional Planning Commission executive board pass a resolution calling for a three-year moratorium on wind development projects in Rutland County.

The Select Board on Monday unanimously approved a statement read aloud by planning commissioner Carol Geery calling for the regional commission to approve a resolution.

“It’s well-worded and a very well-written letter,” Selectman Robert Congdon Jr. said.

The statement notes municipal officials have “grave concerns” about Reunion Power’s industrial project proposed for the towns of Castleton, Hubbardton, West Rutland and Pittsford.

“We believe this is a regional issue. A similar project two years ago awakened us to the reality of industrial wind generation. That wind project, called Community Wind, is not currently active, but we remain deeply concerned for our region,” Geery indicated.

Clarendon, Ira and Poultney commissioners amended town plans to include language discouraging industrial ridgeline development, according to the statement.

“Meanwhile, the four towns currently affected are responding to public outcry asking that their town plans be amended to contain language that is clear in discouraging ridgeline development for industrial wind,” Geery noted.

Both Clarendon boards want the regional commission to take a position that would allow municipalities the time to review town plans and assess the benefits and impacts of wind energy.

Geery noted the regional commission’s counterpart in the Northeast Kingdom had already approved a similar resolution calling for a moratorium.

“Our region along with the Northeast Kingdom seems to be a magnet for these developments. This is probably due to the perception that we lack the resources to adequately oppose them,” Geery stated.

Solar, biomass and wind projects along with energy conservation efforts have emerged throughout the region over the past year. “This discussion has just begun, yet wind industry representatives express a sense of urgency in their presentations. Is it the wind they are interested in, or is it government tax credits and renewable energy credits that can be sold for profit,” Geery’s statement read. “What’s the hurry? Since wind is ‘renewable’ and will be available forever, why do we need to act in such haste?”

In a related matter, the Danby Select Board recently approved a motion calling for RRPC to pass a resolution seeking a moratorium on wind development. The regional commission’s executive board is expected to take up the matter later this month.