Saint Albans Messenger; Saturday 8/6
If Swanton Wind is allowed to be built on Rocky Ridge in Swanton, then there is no hill, ridgeline or mountain top in Vermont that will be off limits to industrial wind turbines. Seven 500 foot tall industrial wind turbines (tallest in VT) located next to a large deer yard with a food source (highly unusual) in a rare and unique 982 foot elevation wetland which is recognized by the State of Vermont and the Northwest Regional Planning Commission (NRPC) as the highest value habitat block in the northwest region. It is also in the watershed of Lake Champlain (an impaired waterway), within 1,800-2,000 feet of seven homes (closest in VT) and in the Champlain Flywaya major east coast bird migration route. Not to mention a town vote of 731-160 to oppose the project.
Before you dismiss this with a sucks-to-be-you attitude consider this- David Blittersdorf, Vermont’s self-proclaimed renewable energy guru, has stated that to meet Vermont’s aggressive renewable energy goals it will require 200 miles of our mountain ridgelines to be covered with industrial wind turbines. At present approximately 11 miles of Vermont ridgelines are under industrial wind turbines. This includes approximately 25 miles of roads associated with these projects. With a rough ratio of 2:1 (road impacts to miles of industrial wind turbines) that leaves 189 more miles of ridgelines left to be covered with industrial wind turbines and 378 more miles of high elevation road impacts. Any hills or ridgelines where you live? For comparison, the Long Trail is 272 miles long.
Have you noticed that three of the four existing industrial wind turbine projects in Vermont are located in poor rural towns? Why poor towns? Try proposing an industrial wind turbine project on Mt. Mansfield (and why not?) high elevation winds with the infrastructure already in place in the form of roads and transmission lines. Because, after just one concerned citizen’s meeting in Stowe you would have one million dollars in donations on the table to oppose the project. Oh, and the excuse that Mt. Mansfield’s elevation would lead to excessive icing on the blades-Try heating the blades. The Finnish blade heating system uses carbon fiber elements mounted to the surface of the blades. And the fact that Mt. Mansfield is on state forest land- No problem. There are already communication towers up there so what’s wrong with a few more (industrial wind) towers? The Federal Government is allowing development on National Forest Land as well (proposed Deerfield Wind project). Where’s Teddy Roosevelt? The Long Trail- Perfect! Governor Shumlin has promoted wind turbines as a tourist attraction and wind developers have open houses at their facilities. Personally once you’ve seen one industrial wind turbine you’ve seen them all. The Sierra Club and The Nature Conservancy have not opposed industrial wind turbines so far, so why would they oppose the Mt. Mansfield project?
A temporary noise standard was just set by the PSB pursuant to S.260. It did nothing to protect Vermonters from the ill effects of Industrial Wind and it completely ignored the fact that the State of Vermont is now aware that the sound attenuation from outside to inside a home (with windows open) is not 15 dB as previously thought, but 1-3dB. As a result the State of Vermont is still saying that it is okay to have a dB level averaged over an hour inside your home, caused by industrial wind turbines day and night, of 42-43dB. This average can include spikes to 48-68 dB in the course of an hour! This would be like having a hair dryer randomly turning on and off inside your home. At night this hair dryer comes complete with a flashing red light outside your bedroom window. Who is monitoring the sound level outside/inside your home to make sure it averages out below the threshold over an hour? NOBODY! They rely on models that have nothing to do with real life installations. Go to http://bit. ly/2ayRSQv to read about the ill affects Vermonters have been experiencing as a result of exposure to existing industrial wind turbine sites and the lack of concern from the State of Vermont and the wind developers.
Ask your local candidates running for state level positions how they feel about the current industrial wind standards and if they feel they are adequate in protecting Vermonters. To predict how candidates will vote on wind related issues go to http://www.followthemoney. org to see how much money in campaign contributions they have received from the wind lobby.
Don’t let Vermont become the pin cushion of New England.
Dustin Lang Swanton