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Concerns grow over Swanton wind turbines

A plan for seven wind turbines in Swanton has had people on both sides talking for months.

Project Developer Travis Belisle of Swanton Wind LLC held an informational meeting for the public Thursday. The list of concerns is long for people on Rocky Ridge Road.

“We drove up to Georgia and took a walk up there and heard the noise,” says Christine Lang. “I thought it sounded like sneakers tumbling through a dryer.”

Lang joined a group of protesters outside Thursday’s meeting, including Penny Dubie, wife of former Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie. The turbines would be behind their house in Fairfield.

“Wind energy is good in the right location and what’s going on here is an industrial wind turbine farm, seven 499 foot turbines being put in a residential neighborhood,” says Dubie.

Aside from constant noise, Lang and Dubie say other concerns include water well pollution and disruption to nature. Belisle tried to ease these worries Thursday, providing experts to answer questions.

“We’re clear cutting about 36 acres, but we’ll reclaim a large portion of that,” says Belisle. “There’s six stormwater ponds and a series of level spreaders that will be installed, those hold any sediment that would be carried throughout the project.”

Belisle owns the 250 acres of land the turbines would be built on. He says he’s trying to provide clean energy to local Vermonters, having seen the turbines in Georgia and Lowell.

Lang says Swanton’s Selectboard supports those who oppose the project.