GRAFTON – A request from Iberdrola Renewables for the towns of Grafton and Windham to each appoint an “independent and balanced” committee to negotiate a possible agreement on the proposed 96 megawatt Stiles Brook wind facility hasn’t produced any results.
In the case of Grafton, according to Select Board Chairman Allan Sands, he said the issue won’t be taken up until after a special town election set for July 12 to elect the fifth member of the board.
Former Board Chairman Gus Plummer resigned this spring after what he perceived as a threat over intense feelings about the 28-turbine project slated for 5,000 acres owned by Meadowsend Timberlands of New London, N.H. Twenty of the turbines would be in Windham, with the other eight in Grafton.
Since Plummer’s resignation, the board has been essentially deadlocked on wind issues, Sands said. Two board members, including Sands, are in favor of exploring the various aspects of the wind project and two board members oppose any work on it.
Sands said the two candidates for Plummer’s seat continue the division on the board, and the election will form a new majority. John Turner and Don Dougall are facing off to serve the remainder of Plummer’s term.
Sands said he read Iberdrola’s June 13th letter out loud at this week’s Select Board meeting and it was greeted with silence. He said the room was filled with 80 percent anti-wind people.
In nearby Windham, two out of the three select board members endorsed a strongly-worded letter telling Iberdrola to save its breath – Windham was not interested in having a dialogue. And, Windham said, Iberdrola would do well to drop its project entirely.
Windham’s actions were not well-received by Iberdrola, which released a statement this week accusing the Windham board of thwarting democracy and engaging in “slanderous” attacks, and that the Windham letter was “filled with falsehoods, inaccuracies and slanderous rhetoric.”
“Voting is the most democratic action one can take in the USA so it’s disappointing that any elected official would seek to block registered voters from exercising this right,” the Iberdrola statement said. “We find it incredibly unfortunate and ironic that two elected officials in Windham are so unwilling to allow the very people who voted in their election to have their voices heard on this issue.”
Iberdrola spokesman Art Sasse declined to elaborate on Iberdrola’s prepared statement. In an email, Sasse said that Iberdrola had yet to receive Windham’s letter, but would respond in detail once it had formally received it.
“The most democratic reflection of a community’s values and support for a project is through a vote,” he wrote.
Iberdrola has promised to respect townwide votes in both Grafton and Windham, both currently slated for the general election in November.
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