Wind developers shut out concerned neighbors

Saint Albans Messenger; December 22, 2015

On Tuesday December 22nd [today] there will be a meeting held involving the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) and Swanton Wind at a State of Vermont facility involving state agency personnel. The meeting will be about Swanton Wind’s findings on Rocky Ridge in Swanton in the area of the proposed seven industrial wind turbines project.

The data will include study findings on bat species, bat population numbers and Bald and Golden Eagle sightings on the ridge, among other observations. This meeting is not open to the public by request of Swanton Wind’s attorney! This is yet another of many examples of how the State of Vermont’s renewable energy procedure is biased towards the developer.

Due to the Public Service Board’s (PSB) process the developers, Travis, Ashley and Gerald Belisle, have the advantage as a result of an administration that is building renewable energy projects “like mad”. This is the same administration that presided over the creation of the review process for these renewable energy projects. They used industry insiders to draft the criteria and then it was polished with well distributed political campaign contributions.

Swanton Wind is essentially in the pre-approval stage before the PSB. They have had their “paid experts” evaluating the site for its feasibility and will present these findings to the PSB when they file their application. The ANR and the Public Service Department (PSD) will work with the developers to overcome any obstacles and “mitigate” (set aside land elsewhere) to offset the destruction of wetlands, wildlife habitat and other compromises to the proposed project site.

The State of Vermont has no siting requirements for 500 ft. tall 300 ton structures with blades that spin in excess of 180 mph at the tip. By world standards Vermont has a very liberal 45 dbA noise level limit averaged over a one hour period. These factors, which directly impact the health of human beings, are given little consideration. The developers, with paid experts under oath, will state that in fact these variables do not adversely impact humans, similar to the paid experts who testified under oath for “Big Tobacco” that cigarettes do not cause cancer. World wide people are complaining about the negative impacts of wind turbines on their health. There are organizations in every country where wind turbines exist with web sites for these victims.

Sure the PSB will have public hearings where they will listen but, unless you have Ph.D. at the end of your name they will consider your comments as just your opinion and dismiss them. This process also makes it harder for average Vermonters to express their opposition to these projects because of the expenses incurred in hiring experts to present the contrary view point. People who have done this already learned that the PSB ignores all the experts from towns and neighbors and gives more weight to the developer’s experts.

The governor has jumped into this renewable energy movement with both feet similar to the way he approached health care, and we all know how that turned out. As with health care there is a lot of money involved in these renewable energy projects and those seeking that money are willing to spend a lot to pursue it. You may have seen the expensive TV ad touting wind energy with scenes from Crystal Lake paid for by the wind lobby – tactics that other industrial groups with huge profits at stake use. What makes them even more desperate is that wind is losing out to solar in cost and feasibility creating a situation similar to Betamax and VHS with wind being the Betamax.

Dustin Lang

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