People who live near the Lowell Mountains who are parties to the Public Service Board proceedings about the proposal by Green Mountain Power to construct 21 large wind turbines on the ridgeline wanted to invite Governor Shumlin to visit them, so they decided to hold a news conference at the end of the PSB’s technical hearings.
Lowell Mountains on the left and a mountain in Sheffield — two of the wind turbine projects in the North East Kingdom
The news conference was scheduled for Thursday, February 24, to coincide with the testimony of ANR Community Ecologist Eric Sorenson, when students from Sterling College who have been part of the wilderness experience that the college has incorporated into its curriculum for 30 years were coming to Montpelier to hear the ecologist’s testimony.
Sterling College student Ira Powsner speaking at the Feb. 24 news conference on the statehouse lawn in Montpelier
The governor’s office was notified of the news conference on Wednesday, the day before the event, and he was invited to address the crowd and come for a dogsled ride. Eden Dogsledding‘s Jim Blair, who is extremely concerned about the economic impact the wind turbines are likely to have on his wilderness-based business, brought a team of dogs to the statehouse lawn for the news conference.
Don & Shirley Nelson, whose farm adjoins 1 1/2 miles of the ridgeline, speak at the news conference. Jim Blair’s dogsled is in the background.
Governor Shumlin was also asked on Tuesday, Feb. 22, to visit the people of Lowell by two legislators who represent constituents whose interests are affected by the wind project. Wednesday night, those constituents learned that Governor Shumlin was indeed going to visit Lowell — on Thursday, around the same time as the news conference.
Video of News Conference where Lowell residents spoke about the impacts of GMP’s wind project
Lowell area residents and people representing the towns of Albany and Craftsbury who have intervened in the PSB proceedings were in their third and final week of hearings. Some people had to take time off work, use vacation days, in order to participate. They had to be in Montpelier on Feb. 24th to see the hearings through to the end, not in Lowell. They invited Governor Shumlin to meet with them in Montpelier, and they extended an invitation to visit them in Lowell.
As reported in the Caledonian Record, Governor Shumlin did indeed go to Lowell. What was not reported was that two Lowell residents who are not in support of the project and who have interests affected by the wind proposal were present and invited the governor to tour the area with them. He declined, and instead took a tour with Selectman Richard Pion. The two Lowell residents reported that after leaving the town clerk’s office, the governor pointed to the mountain range in the distance and thought that was the Lowell Mountain Range. No, it was Haystack Mountain and Belvidere.
Governor Shumlin did not see the Lowell Mountains from the perspective of Jim Blair, whose view of the mountains is shown above. He did not hear Jim’s concerns about the potential health problems he is at high risk for from wind turbine noise because of his Asperger’s Syndrome, nor did he learn about Jim’s investment in his business that depends on the wilderness experience provided by the pristine landscape. He did not hear from the Sterling College students about what their wilderness experience on the Lowell Mountains means to them.
Vermont’s governors have a reputation for being open and available to the public, no matter whether they agree with them or not. We have access to our elected officials in Vermont in ways that hardly anyone else in the nation enjoys. But, in his relentless support of wind energy, this governor has shown disdain for the public whose interests are affected by Green Mountain Power’s wind project, which ANR’s Community Ecologist testified on Feb. 24 is a major project on a scale he has not seen before in Vermont.
We sincerely hope that Governor Shumlin will show the respect to the people of Vermont that they deserve, including those people who are facing or already experiencing the loss of their property values, their business investments, and their way of life because of the GMP Lowell Mountains wind project. Governor, please visit Don & Shirley Nelson, Jack Brooks, Jim Blair, Bonnie and Milo Day, and the many other Vermonters who live, work and have rights to the peaceful enjoyment of their properties.