“Global Wind Day” is Just Another Day That Vermonters Are Opposing Ridgeline Wind

Citizens and Advocates Say: “Get the Facts, Learn the Truth”

VCE is hard at work today supporting citizens who are dealing with the impacts of ridgeline wind projects proposed for or operating in Vermont communities.  For too many Vermonters, there is nothing to celebrate.  And the facts make it clear why.

“Today, as we do every day, we are focusing on the facts.  We’re happy to share them with anyone who wants to know what is really going on with these industrial developments – not the ‘spin’ you get from developers and the same tired experts they hire project after project,” said Annette Smith, VCE’s Executive Director.

Here are some of the facts facing Vermonters:

  1. Sheffield project – noise complaints

Despite claims by the developers and their hired so-called experts that “all is well”, project neighbors are filing complaints with the PSB and DPS about noise from the turbines impacting their health and their quality of life.  VCE has received noise complaints from neighbors ¾ mile to the west, less than a mile to the east, between one and two miles to the east, and two and a half miles to the south.

2.  Lowell project – storm runoff overwhelms project, floods roads

Town residents say that the impacts from the recent storm were far from routine, despite the fact that the region often has heavy downpours and intense rain events.  Erosion controls on the Green Mountain Power wind project site that were supposed to be designed to handle a storm of this magnitude failed.  Stormwater came off the mountain’s new impervious roads at high volume with great velocity; sediment ran off into streams and wetlands; and a new stream channel was cut into the mountain.  Homes, roads and farm fields were casualties, and dirty, silt-laden water continued to flow off the mountain one week following the May 31 event.  ANR documented only some of the damage on the access road, ignoring damage near turbine sites along the crane path road.

3.  Georgia and Lowell Mountain projects – blasting rules ignored or inadequate

On both projects, permit blasting schedules and notification requirements have been routinely ignored, and blasts have been set off without adequate warning.  In some cases flyrock and blasting mats have crossed property lines.  All of this has endangered neighbors and made them unable to utilize their property, without compensation or consideration.

4.  Vermont community votes – when they vote, the answer is usually “no”

Polls of uninformed voters located far from actual projects don’t tell the whole story about what Vermonters think about wind.  Here are the results of town-wide votes in places where projects have been proposed:

  • Londonderry: 425-213 to oppose turbines on Glebe Mountain and change town plan
  • Sheffield: 120-93 to explore (not support) wind project
  • Barton: 160-0 to oppose Sheffield project
  • Sutton: 120-23 to oppose Sheffield project and change town plan
  • Manchester: 62-60 to oppose turbines on Little Equinox Mountain
  • Readsboro: 191-31 to allow expansion of the existing 11-turbine array with 300’ tall towers, not 400’ towers currently proposed
  • Lowell: 342-114 in favor of project
  • Ira: 80-29 in support of town plan prohibiting ridgeline development
  • Wilmington: 51-15 to oppose Deerfield project

5.  New wind proposals bring uproar – Derby, Seneca Mtn., Pittsford Ridge, Windham

All of the most recent and active utility-scale wind development proposals are being met with substantial and persistent opposition, and not just from area residents.  Canadian officials have vocally objected to the Derby wind turbines, and VELCO has firmly told the Seneca Mountain project developers there is inadequate transmission capacity in the region that will cost tens of millions of dollars to upgrade to support their project. Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources told Reunion Power their Pittsford Ridge project would cause an undue adverse impact that cannot be mitigated.

Meanwhile, four public meetings were held in the area around the Pittsford Ridge project and not one person spoke in favor of the proposal.  The Town of Windham has conveyed its disapproval of Iberdrola’s new proposal for their community by opening a meeting with the developers by reading from their own plan which prohibits ridgeline wind turbines.

“When people experience it for themselves – by living through it, not just visiting on a tour bus or a snow machine – they get the facts pretty fast.  Big wind hurts people, the landscape, water resources, property values, community cohesion, and quality of life,” said Steve Wright of Craftsbury.  “Don’t talk to the developers, talk to the citizens who live with it.  They have nothing to gain by telling you ‘all is well’.  I’m more interested in listening to people, not promoters.”

Neighbors of the Lowell project cannot understand why state regulators did not stop work on the project to fully investigating flooding impacts, despite clear evidence that GMP’s construction up to and on the ridgeline increased the severity of the flooding.  “I think we ought to buy GMP and ANR some new brooms. The old ones must be worn out after sweeping everything under the rug,” said Albany resident Mike Nelson.

Smith said that experts consulted by VCE have pointed out significant flaws with the Lowell project’s stormwater plans.  “While wind supporters talk about addressing the ‘big picture’, they seem to ignore that renewable doesn’t necessarily mean sustainable.  And that’s where the facts are so important.  The rain data being used to design the stormwater management system for Lowell and other projects is over 50 years old.  A sustainable project has to forecast the future, not look to the distant past.  Looking at the facts, independent experts are not surprised about the damage caused by this storm.  This will not be the last time this happens” she said.

“Wind supporters claim they have the facts, but if you actually dig into the permits, get out in the impacted communities, walk the land, and talk to the people, the truth is easy to find,” Smith concluded. “Vermonters impacted by industrial wind projects are experiencing real problems from these massive corporate intrusions into our communities.”