[ exact phrase in "" • results by date ]

[ Google-powered • results by relevance ]


Add NWW headlines to your site (click here)

when your community is targeted

Get weekly updates

RSS feeds and more

Keep Wind Watch online and independent!

Donate via Stripe

Donate via Paypal

Selected Documents

All Documents

Research Links


Press Releases


Campaign Material

Photos & Graphics


Allied Groups

Wind Watch is a registered educational charity, founded in 2005.

News Watch Home

Energy plan draft revisions hammered out before approval 

Credit:  By Tom Benton | St. Albans Messenger | November 3, 2016 | ~~

SWANTON – The Planning Commission held a public hearing regarding proposed revisions to the municipal energy plan at the Village Municipal Complex Wednesday night, the final step before the language is passed on to the Town Selectboard for approval.

The hearing lasted less than an hour. It served mostly as a chance for those at the center of the local wind power debate to fire parting shots before verbiage heatedly debated for months is effectively put to bed.

No previously unheard members of the public stepped forward to comment on the language in the plan. Village Manager Reg Beliveau approved of it. He said the revisions are an attempt to make Swanton more appealing to businesses.

“I understand the Belisles’ position, what they’re trying to do with their own properties,” he said. But he also expressed concern, drawing from his experience managing Swanton’s hydropower facilities. “Because of these large-scale renewable energy projects that are out there, we’re told to curtail running,” he said. “So then we have to buy out on the open market at higher prices.”

That was the extent of neutral language at the hearing, save for diplomatic comments from Planning Commission Chair Jim Hubbard as the meeting’s moderator.

The rest of the discussion was predominately a back-and-forth between Swanton Wind attorney Anthony Iarrapino and the project’s most outspoken local opponents, Dustin and Christine Lang. Both Iarrapino and Christine pointed out the Planning Commission had “heard all this.”

Tempering matters even further, Hubbard described the town’s revised municipal energy plan as an “11th hour” initiative that will have no effect on Swanton Wind, since the Public Service Board – which has the final say in whether the project moves forward – has already begun its review process.

“Personally, I wish you well in your endeavor, whether it goes forward or not, as businesspeople in this community,” Hubbard told the Belisles. “I wish you utmost success, and let the powers be decide it.”

Swanton Wind’s representatives were not so benign. Despite the plan’s ultimate powerlessness in influencing the project, Iarrapino expressed concern that the plan set a dangerous precedent for future local business. He said Swanton’s local government “is unfairly targeting local private property owners.”

“If the draft is any indication, the Town of Swanton has started down a very slippery slope,” he said.

Iarrapino put his clients’ objections to the revisions on the record. There were many – as Iarrapino put it, “too many instances where fear won out over facts.” He said he hoped the commission would note a lack of complaints from those living around similar projects in Georgia, Milton and Lowell, citing several magazine articles on the town’s booming economies without any mention of the wind projects or their adverse effects.

He noted the project could bring an estimated $4 million in wages mostly to Franklin County workers. He stressed the importance of adapting to fight climate change, which he said is a far greater threat to wildlife than wind turbines, noting that even the Audubon Society supports wind power.

But mostly, he took reiterated arguments against several assertions within the plan, such as the turbines will cause large bird fatalities. “Wind projects in North America are responsible for 0.1 percent – 0.1 percent – of human caused bird fatalities,” he said, whereas household cats accounted for 1.4-3.7 million bird deaths.

“Given the emphasis you all have placed on bird fatalities, I hope you will include standards in the Swanton Town Plan that will include and guide prohibition of the town’s outdoor cats in the future.”

He also disputed claims the turbines would interrupt an important flyway and strike down geese, noting geese are considered wildly overpopulated in Vermont now, and that hunters are currently allowed to kill eight per day.

“I don’t agree with all of your views,” Hubbard responded. “I don’t want to pick it apart. It was well presented… Some of the testimonies I’ve received over the past year disagree with some of your comments.”

Dustin Lang said earlier that day, “Bird Diva” on Vermont Public Radio had discussed going up French Hill, in St. Albans, and watching hawks migrate. Lang said raptors have the highest incidences of collisions with wind turbines.

He also took issue with the project’s agreement with the Department of Fish & Wildlife to apply better management practices to a deeryard on the site, improving deer habitat. “The deer go to a deer yard in the winter for shallow snow to escape predators,” Lang said. “They’re under a lot of pressure.” He said the introduction of turbine sound and a flashing red light would disrupt those efforts. Iarrapino retorted that Fish & Wildlife had done “such a good job we’re overrun with deer.”

“I think we have to rely on the experts regarding what’s good for deer,” he said.

Christine said they see hawks near the project’s proposed site all the time. Iarrapino said independent scientists had been “hundreds of hours” studying birds near turbine sites and seen no raptor fatalities. “Just because birds are there where wind turbines are doesn’t mean they’ll be flying into the blades,” he said.

Christine reiterated reports from homeowners in Georgia and Milton who say they are disturbed by the turbines’ noise and that their property values have decreased. She also said the project’s Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) will most likely be sold out of state, therefore not benefitting the state’s renewable energy goals.

Hubbard closed the meeting with the weary statement, “In my 20 years on the commission, this is the toughest thing I’ve been involved in.”

Source:  By Tom Benton | St. Albans Messenger | November 3, 2016 |

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Contributions
   Donate via Stripe
(via Stripe)
Donate via Paypal
(via Paypal)


e-mail X FB LI M TG TS G Share

News Watch Home

Get the Facts
© National Wind Watch, Inc.
Use of copyrighted material adheres to Fair Use.
"Wind Watch" is a registered trademark.


Wind Watch on X Wind Watch on Facebook Wind Watch on Linked In

Wind Watch on Mastodon Wind Watch on Truth Social

Wind Watch on Gab Wind Watch on Bluesky