Pledge to wind, solar leaves us at mercy of Swanton wind project

Saint Albans Messenger

Letter to the Editor  August 13, 2015

The proposed industrial wind factory for the Ridgeline along 105 and Swanton/Saint Albans is nothing more than a developer (Travis, Ashley, Gerry Belisle) and a consulting firm(Martha Staskus of VERA) running to cash in on available tax credits,which means money in the bank for them. At a public forum it was well stated that the state of Vermont has a goal to get onto renewable energy at all cost. There was a quote from the expert (Dr. Asa T Hopkins) ”only a few people will be affected”. This is called collateral damage. I challenged him and the commissioner of the public service department Chris Recchia as to why there are no regulations for how close industrial wind turbines can be located near homes considering all the problems with noise, health issues and decreased property values.

The only answer I got is “we’re working on it”. I then asked,”with all the complaints why hasn’t the state learned anything about siting turbines near homes”, commissioner Recchia stated: “this is why the state has allowed more local input through local boards”.

That’s just not true. At the Swanton select board meeting, they told us that they understood our concerns, but their hands are tied, because the state had the goal of getting to 90 percent renewable energy by 2050. This is why government isn’t working anymore for the people. It’s quite obvious the fix is in at any cost.

This is where irresponsible developers come in and take advantage. They quietly buy ridgelines, then reach out to opportunists like Martha Staskus of VERA renewables. At the Swanton wind meet and greet, she was told of videos of people living near the Georgia Wind project, telling stories of issues. Rather than having a reasonable explanation, she scoffed and said,”oh they’re just the complainers”.

Not very professional if you ask me. The Belisles claim they will be living near the project, too. I guarantee you they will be gone after they cash in. They will have the economic freedom to leave,while the rest of us can’t sell our homes because of their selfish and shortsighted actions. They knew there would be backlash, so they kept it quiet as long as possible. Erecting a tower with no permits and then claiming ignorance is nothing less than disingenuous.

They claim they are being attacked, I would call it challenged. I do not live in the Rocky Ridge development, but I do live directly below the ridge in the affected area. It wasn’t brought to my attention of their intentions with the ridge when they bought the property, even though me and my family are going to be affected. We are two years behind them regarding this project because they skirted the permit process. Imagine the information we would be armed with by now. They cheated on step one, how are they to be trusted going forward?

Steve Woodward, Sheldon road

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