St. Albans Messenger, Feb. 20 2017
On Thursday, Feb. 9th I went to the Swanton Municipal Building for the Swanton Wind Workshop. I sat for 4 hours listening to the public ask questions about their proposed industrial wind project and what I witnessed was very disturbing and frustrating.
The workshop (in my opinion) was an unprepared workshop with many avoided and unanswered questions. Throughout the evening we heard several times from the Swanton Wind lawyer and specialists that ‘we can’t answer that question because we don’t have the specifics yet’, referred the public to go online to their website and/or application to get their questions answered.
They had nothing set in stone of which turbine sizes would be installed or how many MW it would be producing for the residents having to live near the turbines. Swanton Wind knew well in advance that a workshop was going to be held for the public so why weren’t the specialists there including those for the bird habitat, economic and historical sites. The town selectboard chair asked several questions about the project, the people, the town benefits and if Vermont will get the power, and his questions were also unanswered. They evaded all the details and kept everyone guessing throughout the evening by barely answering any questions to the full truths that evening.
It was very disturbing to hear the news for those whom would have these turbines in their backyard. Swanton Wind specialist explained that the residents WOULD BE subjected to: Noise decibels, more & bigger power lines will be going through their neighborhood, shadow flickers that the local residents would be subjected to throughout the year, that they wouldn’t move any turbines that would spin as close as 100 feet to a working sugar bush and so much more.
A sugar maker who would have 2 turbines with spinning blades 100 feet away from his working sugar bush asked… what was he supposed to do to protect his family and workers while out in the woods and ice is being thrown off the blades into his sugar bush? Should they be wearing helmets and getting their hearing checked due to the loud CONSTANT noise (like a loud chainsaw) that they would be subjected to all day? They had no answers for him. When asked if they could move the turbines away from his sugar bush, they said NO very quickly. This is VERY dangerous to himself, workers and family to be out there with flying ice when this is his business.
A mother asked about the high voltage power that would be put near themselves and children. All they could say was that there would be more power going through them. NOT what a mother wanted to hear when you’re speaking of higher electromagnetic field closer to her home and her family.
A question was asked for them to give a suggestion to the people that would be invaded of shadow flickers of how they could avoid this in their homes? Their answer… they don’t give suggestions. So the answer from me was, well then you are saying… just live with it or leave your home.
When asked about all the fossil fuel the turbines take (whether it be Mobil, Exxon, etc) they didn’t want to answer the question of what they would be using, nor how many gallons they use & where the waste goes. Plus when asked if the oil leaked near the residents drilled water wells what would they do then, they said the developer would be responsible BUT kept saying it couldn’t happen. Which in all possibility, there is never a guarantee on any equipment, so having leaking oil from a turbine near a drilled water well and ruining the neighbors drinking water, it could happen.
I had people come to me (that had never been to a meeting like this before and/or aren’t even going to live anywhere near the proposed project) they, too, said to me that they are very frustrated from what they heard that night and couldn’t imagine what the local people who would have to live near these things are going through. They would not want their children/grandchildren to be put near an industrial wind project with high voltage power, spinning blades as close as 100 feet with ice being thrown at them, the noise they make, shadow flickers, red blinking lights, infrasound, taking a risk of their water wells, foundations/walls in their homes, etc. One person left early and told me she couldn’t take this disturbing news any longer and she lives in Swanton Village (nowhere near the proposed project).
Finally to end things off, when speaking about shadow flickers onto Route 105 and the dangers it could pose to the thousand of vehicles that drive on it daily. The shadow flicker specialist and the others at his table laughed when he tried to explain how shadow flickers wouldn’t go on Route 105 because you don’t look off to the side to drive, which we found to be very rude because they made it seem like the flickers wouldn’t be on Route 105 but we don’t believe of their observation since we live here and see how the sun shines daily. As I see it, this isn’t a laughing matter and we didn’t appreciate their attitude.
Michelle Deslandes Swanton Resident