Saint Albans Messenger; November 17, 2016
Iberdrola listened to Vermont towns, why won’t Swanton Wind?
On November 8TH the towns of Windham and Grafton not only voted for president and governor, but they voted to reject a proposal to build the largest wind turbine project in Vermont within their borders (24 industrial wind turbines).The developer, Iberdrola Renewables, is a Spanish company that has received 2.2 BILLION DOLLARS in U. S. government subsidies for the renewable energy projects they have built across America (and I’m told to “Buy American”) and they said they would honor the results of the vote. The voting results were: Windham: 181-101 to oppose and Grafton: 235158 to oppose the wind power project.
A year ago [today] November 17th, the town and village of Swanton voted 731-160 to oppose Swanton Wind’s proposed seven industrial wind turbines on Rocky Ridge. The developers of Swanton Wind, the Belisle family, have ignored the community’s dissatisfaction with their project and continue to pursue a certificate of public good. If only Swanton Wind would listen to their community like Iberdrola listened to Windham and Grafton.
Anthony Iarrapino, an attorney for Swanton Wind, claims that Swanton’s vote a year ago represented a low voter turn- out. In actuality, for a ballot that contained just two items, 1) whether you were opposed to the Swanton Wind project and 2) whether you thought there should be more local control over renewable energy projects, the turnout numbers were impressive and the results resounding, especially considering it was held during rifle season.
At a recent Planning commission meeting Mr. Iarrapino again brought up the Swanton vote and what he perceived to be a lack of voter participation. He claimed to know what those that didn’t vote a year ago were thinking. With that kind of knowledge and insight into what non-voters are thinking, Mr. Iarrapino would find many polling agencies out there willing to hire him – especially after the polling disasters of the recent presidential election.
Dustin Lang, Swanton