These comments are in response to Mary McCoy’s commentary on VTDigger.org dated Aug. 28. As a selectwoman in Windham, I responded to them at the Sept. 6 Windham Selectboard meeting. I did that with the full intent that any of our residents who were unable to attend, would still be able to view/hear my comments online, as our meetings have recently begun being commercially recorded. Unfortunately, there were technical difficulties with the recording and it picked up the meeting just after I ended my remarks.
It concerns me greatly that Ms. McCoy says negotiations are underway between knowledgeable Windham residents and the developer. First and foremost, no group in Windham, aside from the current Selectboard has the legal authority to negotiate with the developer and we will determine if any illegal activity has taken place. That said, the Selectboard’s stance on negotiation has been consistently clear: The proposed site is not right for an industrial-scale turbine project, for numerous reasons, which have been detailed in public many times. Our town is not for sale; there is no amount of money that will make us agree to this project, which will harm the environment, animal habitat and most importantly human population. Somehow Ms. McCoy has misconstrued this by saying that we fear negotiations will make the developer’s proposal more appealing to residents.
Ms. McCoy goes on to say that it’s the “just say no” approach that fuels the divisiveness and hard feelings in Windham. I think she forgets that there was no divisiveness before the proposal was made. Is it possible that Iberdrola’s standard operating procedure of divide and conquer, documented in every community they have touched, might have contributed to the divisiveness in Windham?
Ms. McCoy talks about the town’s past as a resource to be well-managed, but at the same time references it having been denuded for farming as well as mined in two quarries. Is she glorifying that? I’m sorry, but I cannot.
Ms. McCoy further mentions the “people providing services for others who come here to enjoy the mountains,” as if those same people don’t or even cannot enjoy them too. This surprises me, as I know many locals, Vermonters and flatlanders alike, who love living here and take pride in a community such as ours and all it has to offer, including hiking, kayaking, beautiful scenery and quietude. I don’t understand how any full-time resident, whether they have been here six months or 60 years can condone activities the likes of what we’ll see if this project is approved. The mountains, which took millions of years to form, will be devastated in an irreversible, ecological blink of an eye.
I say blink of an eye, but in reality, this will take years of noisy construction vehicles lumbering through town, building roads and blasting on the mountaintops. This does not fit my definition of enjoying the mountains.
Ms. McCoy makes the point that even if she lived closer to the proposed site, she would still favor this project. In all sincerity I hope she never has to make that decision.
Lastly, Ms. McCoy hopes that the “no” neighbors will accept the validity of others’ opinions and the importance of negotiations for a fair vote. I ask that Ms. McCoy and the others listen to their neighbors (scores of them!) who have taken the time to individually write to the Selectboard and emphatically request that no negotiations take place.
This commentary is by Windham Selectwoman Maureen S. Bell.