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Residents oppose proposed wind project

In Environmental Matters, opposition is growing for an up and coming Wind Project proposed for the Swanton area.

Swanton Wind is a 20 Megawatt project proposed for a mountain-line near Rocky Ridge Road in Swanton. Project leaders say it’s about creating renewable energy for the future, while neighboring residents say the project is just too close to home.

‘Why not harness the wind that’s a free resource, a natural resource, and do something good for the environment,” said Travis Belisle. Belisle and his family, long time Swanton residents, are looking to capture that natural resource with 7 Wind Turbines. “This is something that we feel it’s vital to our local community and our environment,” added Belisle.

The Swanton project would be the 2nd smallest Wind-Farm in the State, but its gaining big opposition, like similar projects in Lowell and Georgia. “We have concerns that if this project does get approved, when the start blasting, what’s the blast radius going to be for some of these homes here? Are we going to have to leave during the day because of the blasting? What’s it going to do to our ground wells? Everybody up here is on well water,” questions asked by area resident Ed Ferguson.

Some residents along Rocky Ridge road feel the project will have big impacts on the environment, quality of life, and property values. Ed Ferguson and his family have lived in the neighborhood since 2011, he says they moved there because of its connection to the outdoors. He’s worried the wind project would destroy it. “The deer, the bobcats, the ponds up at the top of the ridge up there, it’s a little slice of Vermont,” said Ferguson.

Belisle says this project would create energy for up to 78 hundred Vermont homes. “We have certain guidelines and rules that have to be met. We have to stay within those boundaries, we’re going to do that,” said Belisle.

For residents, it’s not a matter of opposing wind projects, it’s a matter of not wanting them in their front yards. “Away from homes, where it’s not going to affect anybody, would be the ideal place,” stated Ferguson.

Those concerned residents are holding an informational meeting this Saturday, August 22nd, 1-4:00 PM on Rocky Ridge Road. They will have experts on hand to discuss the impacts a project like this could have on surrounding homes and communities.

The Belisle family will have its own public meeting September 10th from 6 to 8:00 PM, to talk about the affect the Wind Farm will have on the state.

The project is expected to break ground in 2016, if the remaining permits are granted.