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To The Editor:
I’ve recently seen much in the news and social media about a proposed wind development moratorium in Vermont, usually accompanied by photos of reputed disastrous ridgeline devastation. Today Senator Bernie Sanders broke with tradition to speak out against the wind moratorium bill making its way through our state Legislature. I agree completely with Senator Sanders and am surprised and saddened that some of my fellow Vermonters are promoting such a proposal.
Yes, I've seen the pictures – which, by the way, are pictures of mountaintop removal in West Virginia. It’s dreadful, but it isn't a wind development site. Leo and I have flown for miles along ridgelines with established wind turbines in the Alleghenies. From 3,500 feet, what you see is one turbine every quarter mile or so, linked by a single-track dirt road. Are the turbines visible from the valleys on either side of the ridge? Quite likely some of them are. The microwave tower in the App Gap is pretty visible, too; I look at it several times a day, and haven’t “seen” it for quite a while.
I propose that we, as Vermonters, need to discuss where the power we use comes from, and we don’t need a moratorium to do so. We’ve been pretty clear that we don’t want nuclear power . . . unless it comes from New Hampshire. Some of us don’t want solar installations, at least not along roads where we might have to look at the arrays. Damming our rivers? No thanks – but it’s OK to buy power from Hydro Quebec. Bio-mass? Coal? Oil? Even when the oil comes from Canada, we don’t want it in a pipeline crossing our state.
I don’t know whether or not medium-scale wind development is appropriate for various sites in Vermont; I suspect that it is. But until we have a fact-based discussion, we’ll never know.
How will we satisfy our energy appetite? As Vermonters, this is a conversation we must have – or others, whether large companies or those with the loudest voices, will have it for us.