Saint Albans Messenger; August 13, 2016
Ihave lived in Vermont for the better part of 30 years. My family and I moved into our present home in the Rocky Ridge neighborhood, in Swanton, in 2011. We had our home built on Land that Travis Belisle sold to us and we were informed prior to our purchase, and again at the time of our signing, that he had future development ideas for the hilltop behind our house, which might include a wind farm. Knowing this my family and I continued forward with the purchase of our land and the building of our home.
Having been born in and growing up in Vermont I have always expected two things, cold winters and short summers. With that said, in the past 30 years it is clear to see that our climate is changing. I remember listening to my parents talk about having snow banks piled up to the roof of their barn and sledding down it. Now it is rare that we have sustained snow throughout a winter.
The State of Vermont has recognized this concern and has taken an ambitious approach to doing their part helping address the deteriorating environment. In 2011 the Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan put forward a pathway for Vermont to obtain 90% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. Wind energy is among those methods identified to reach this goal.
The project that Travis has brought to Swanton and what he is ultimately trying to accomplish is in keeping with the spirt of the people of this state and our working-landscape heritage of harnessing natural resources to meet our common needs. Though Vermont is small in size we are progressive in thought and always ready to do that which must be done to better the whole. In this case the environment needs our attention, though this project may be small in comparison to others, the importance of the need that it is helping address cannot be overlooked.
I believe that the Swanton Wind Project has brought to the forefront that which Vermont made its state motto, “Freedom and Unity”. The wind project, like our motto, is about the idea of balancing two seemingly opposite ideals: the personal freedom and independence of the individual citizen, with the common good of the larger community. The discussions surrounding the Swanton Wind Project show, in part, what make Vermont special: Vermonters openly debating and expressing their convictions over that which they firmly believe and ultimately moving forward in a direction which benefits the whole.
Chris Maynard Swanton