If you consider yourself an environmentalist, a bird watcher, a hunter or just a nature enthusiast, you might take a walk before you decide who to vote for governor this cycle. Take a hike to the top of Putney Mountain, or up to the Pinnacle in Westminster West. Take a good look around you, at the view and the nearly pristine forest you are surrounded by. Now picture a four-lane highway blasted across this ridge all the way from Dummerston to Saxtons River, mountaintops removed to make room for 30 to 40 wind towers 500 feet high complete with flashing lights which will eliminate the night and the subliminal hum of electric generation coupled with the “whoosh whoosh” of huge 90-foot blades rotating whenever the wind blows. As you wander about the concrete blocks which are sunk many feet down into the subsoil to bedrock, you must step around hundreds of small corpses of the passerines and raptors which, confused by the lights and spinning blades, fly directly into the death trap. It is well known that these ridgelines are favored by many migrants because of the updrafts and clear flight lines afforded here. Additionally many uncommon to rare neo tropical birds nest in this rare habitat.
Picture also a tropical storm releasing its payload of nine inches of rain in a few hours as did Irene. Without the trees and ground cover which slowed the rain during Irene, this deluge will rush down the compromised ridge sides as it used to before the trees grew back after the eighteen hundreds. Perhaps you could look at some of the footage from the recent destruction in Haiti where there are about three trees per acre.
What Iberdrola wants to do to these ridge tops happened several times before during previous glaciations. It took 10,000 years for the mountains to reach their present stage of growth. Blasting into bedrock is even more invasive than glacial scraping. Big Wind wants 200 miles of wind towers in Vermont by their own admission. Brattleboro to Newport.
Peter Shumlin was seduced by the wind proponents’ visions of environmentally “clean” energy. Local control and peoples’ lives in small towns were trampled as a result. VPIRG and Bill Mckibben have come out in support of wind.
Grafton’s highest peak is 2,280 feet. There are six peaks above 3,000 feet in the Breadloaf Wilderness in Professor Mckibben’s neighborhood. How about some wind towers for you to look at, Professor? Why are these wind industries found only around poor towns with small populations? This is the approach used by the coal industry in Appalachia.
Sue Minter is following the same path of seduction. Wind will stop global warming, make Vermont energy independent. The wind industry is now buying feel good adds on Public Radio. Remember the electricity too cheap to meter from the nuclear industry? Sound familiar? Are Vermonts’ ridge tops, her “coral reefs,” going to be collateral damage in the fight against global warming?
I have in my life voted for two Republicans, George Aiken and Jim Jeffords, both committed to Vermonts’ landscape. I believe Governor Aiken vetoed a proposed ridgeline highway back in the forties. My dilemma now is who can I vote for? Phil Scott and Bill Lee have both proposed a ban on wind development in Vermont. I am in favor of wind power, just not on Vermont ridge tops. If Phil Scott dismantles Vermont health care, it can be fixed in a few years. If Sue Minter lets the wind industry destroy our ridges, the damage is basically forever. She won over Matt Dunn because he flip flopped on wind, so she has now backed herself into a corner. I would have thought she might have some ideas about flood control.
So before you vote, take a walk up a hill. You don’t have to believe me, look at the video at Vermonters for a Clean Environment (vce.com). The pictures of Lowell mountain will tell you all you need to know. No wonder they have made it illegal to trespass near wind farms. A picture is worth a thousand words.
Richard Foye, South Newfane, Oct. 19
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