On November 12, 2015

I love the wind

Dear Editor,

I love the wind…waves lapping against my dock, the whispering of the tree leaves, the way my flags blow. All are moving with this crisp wind blowing through my land. I even have a little windmill in my garden that I love watching! So you may wonder why I’m opposed to industrial wind turbines in Vermont.

At first, I thought: “How wonderful! Harvesting the wind. Green energy is awesome. I totally support it,” and went about my merry way, like so many of us do. But then I read more.

I live on Dream Lake (a.k.a. Fairfield Pond) on the back side of the same ridgeline proposed for the Swanton Wind Project. Residents call it “Dream Lake” for many reasons but one is that this body of water is tucked into a quiet community that not many know about. Its fresh spring-fed waters bubble up creating the pond. Now I’m outing it in the hopes to save it.

Like many disillusioned Vermonter youngsters, I left our state looking for fortunes in more developed areas but returned recently from the hustle and bustle to reclaim the serenity of my childhood home. Finally, I can breathe again! I’d missed it. Vermont is a special, magical place, not like many others. We have something here people want (and are willing to pay for), which include sunsets, clear water, mountains, nature—and silence.

But now seven industrial wind turbines are proposed for our waterway, towering 499 feet, with blade speeds up to 186 mph! This is a bad idea on so many levels. The impact on bird migration, particularly, is huge. Thousands daily cruise on top of the water, and then head over the ridge to munch on some farmer’s corn on the other side. In the direct path of the proposed turbines. Ouch.

Industrial wind turbines are not your friendly Dutch windmills. Towering almost twice the size of Lady Liberty, these not only kill birds and bats, they barely reduce carbon use. Seriously? How misunderstand that? Studies show that’s true due to the extreme pollution in manufacturing, transportation and installation, which destroy the forest’s ability to hold storm water, increasing sediment runoff.

The human cost is also of great concern. Small towns across New England and Vermont are being targeted for their cheap land and lack of industry; developers make huge profits, with financing for these projects coming mostly from government subsidies, which is our money. But local neighbors suffer from the ill effects of these industrial monstrosities health-wise as well as the quality of living and devalued real estate.

Supposedly the electricity generated from this project will be enough to power 7,800 homes….but not locally! Vermonters may not even benefit.

Perhaps we should be looking at how to use less energy. We can use less, and still keep our ridgelines intact!

My story is not an example of “not in my back yard” (NIMBY). I’m 100 percent for small-scale renewables, but do the research. Someone is selling us out when they tell us industrial scale wind will save the planet. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. We don’t have to destroy our planet to save it.

Get educated, there’s more blowing out there than just the wind.

Suzan Seymour, Fairfield Pond, Vt.

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