Industrial wind projects — such as the Stiles Brook Forest turbines proposed by corrupt multinational Iberdrola (Avangrid) and New-Hampshire-based Meadowsend Timberlands — are now facing opposition not only from environmentalists and communities, but from lawmakers from all across Vermont.
Below are excerpts from the Burlington Free Press:
MONTPELIER – Lawmakers in both the House and the Senate want to ban any future industrial wind projects.
Sen. John Rodgers, D-Essex-Orleans, introduced S.210 on the first day of the session earlier this month. Rep. Vicki Strong, R-Irasburg, introduced H.598 on Wednesday.
The bills would ban any wind energy project with a capacity of 500 kilowatts or more — like existing projects in Sheffield and Georgia Mountain — though small individual turbines would still be allowed. Strong and Rodgers cited the impact on the environment as well as the preservation of Vermont’s scenic resources as their motivations for pushing for an industrial wind ban.
Strong’s bill mirrors the language of the Senate bill and has the support of more than 20 House members. Most are Republicans, but Strong said three Democrats have also signed on.
Rodgers, who sits on the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, brought grassroots opponents to industrial wind and advocates for energy siting reform to the Statehouse on Wednesday. Clad in neon vests, some held signs outside in the snow while others testified about the detrimental effects of large-scale energy developments on their towns.
They reacted with huge cheers when Rodgers brought up his intention to ban industrial wind. He compared turbines to billboards, which have been prohibited in Vermont for almost 50 years.
“They don’t fit here,” he said….
The push to ban industrial wind comes as the Senate committee wrestles with giving towns more control over the siting process for energy projects. Siting has long been a controversial issue in the state, and the committee is currently considering legislation that would give towns more power in the process.
“Every year we try to solve the problem,” Sen. Diane Snelling, R-Chittenden, saying resistance from the governor and renewable energy advocates made it difficult.
“I’m very hopeful,” Rodgers said, “that we can eventually solve the problem once and for all.”
Read the rest at the Burlington Free Press.