RECENT NEWS FOR TODAY:
It was an absolutely beautiful day to be on the mountain; the air crisp, not a cloud in a brilliant blue sky, the sun shining. This morning, at least,there was not even the faintest breeze blowing: even if all 21 turbines were completed, they wouldn’t have produced enough power to light a 40-watt bulb. (And what about those 24,000 households whose electricity needs are supposedly going to be met by this project? I guess a nuclear, coal-oil- or gas-fired plant will just have to take up the slack.)
I hiked up alongside the beautiful brook that cascades down the east flank of the ridge, full of moss-covered rocks, decaying bits of tree, fallen leaves, and green ferns that have hung on despite the frosts and the snow still evident in shaded nooks. I always try to pass by the immense boulder just north of the brook, left by the last glacier. It’s now home to a mini-forest of its own, including numerous birch trees whose roots drape along the sides until they finally reach the ground.
But the noises of demolition and construction are also in the air, incongruous among the sights, smells, and sounds of otherwise undisturbed forest. And as I approach the ridge I see, just beyond the orange ribbon that demarcates the boundary between nature and industry, a massive pile of wood chips. This is all that is left of perhaps 100 acres of trees – each one ripped from the earth, delimbed and sent through a huge chipper – all that tells you there was once a living, breathing forest here. Between the orange ribbons, infact, nothing is alive but the construction workers. All the trees and shrubs, all the ferns, mosses, mushrooms and wildflowers, all the tiny sprouts of fir struggling for sunlight – all are gone. There’s not a decaying moss-covered log, not a single moldering maple leaf. Even the living and life-giving soil is gone now, buried beneath tons of rubble blasted from another part of the mountain.
The construction work today seems concentrated to the southwest of the campsite. A huge excavator on tracks is moving blasting mats into place along the edge of a bowl that has already been blasted away. It looks like this will be another major blast, with at least a dozen blasting mats required. But it’s nearly 1:00, and I’m already 4 hours late for work. There has been no word from GMP’s contractors about when – or if – a blast will occur today, so I head back down the mountain. Halfway down I get word by radio that a blast has been scheduled for 2:00, and that two occupiers are on their way up to take my place. Near the bottom, I see them — Raymond and Bird gamely trudging up the mountain, Bird carrying one and Raymond two very heavy12-foot rough-sawn 2x8s for the platform. We exchange greetings, and I continue down the mountain, filled once again with awe and respect for people power.
So now the press is going to our blog for news. We knew GMP was reading it and now the press.
So to clarify for the press; We are not a bunch of a renegades running around the mountain with guns. There just happened to be a bird hunter among the campers and hikers for a few days. So someone from GMP or JA McDonold must have taken a picture of him. Is there now a law that doesn’t allow hunting on private property? Will no one be allowed to hunt deer on the ridgeline in the near future? Am I allowed to bring my knife in my backpack ?
Lowell Blog: Protesters, Police Meet
LOWELL — Law enforcement officers talked to protesters on Lowell Mountain Monday, reportedly to find out how many people were willing to resist a restraining order and be arrested in protest of the Lowell wind project.
The encounter is detailed on the Lowell Mountain News blog, a daily posting of the events at the encampment of protesters on Nelson farm property off the edge of the Lowell wind project.
The protesters have stood within a 1,000-foot safety zone to hinder blasting by Green Mountain Power contractors. The intent is to slow the construction of turbine sites and the crane path on the ridgeline.
GMP has said that the protests won’t stop the construction of 21 industrial grade turbines.
A spokeswoman for the protesters as well as the chief deputy with the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department confirmed the meeting between police and protesters Monday.
Chief Deputy Philip Brooks said he could only say that he was there and that any statement about what was involved would have to come from the Vermont State Police.
He confirmed that Capt. Tim Clouatre, commander of VSP Troop B serving the Northeast Kingdom, was the lead officer involved. VSP officials could not be reached for comment late Monday afternoon.
Orleans County Sheriff Kirk J. Martin, when contacted earlier Monday, said he had been involved in meetings about the Lowell protest but he could not comment on it.
Stacy Burke, a protester, said Monday that Dr. Ron Holland of Irasburg wrote the blog that she then posted on the Lowell Mountain News website.
Holland could not be reached for comment.
Orleans Superior Court Judge Martin Maley had issued a temporary restraining order, ordering the protesters to move out of the safety zone during blasting. It expired Sunday. And it has yet to be replaced. Law enforcement officers said the original order did not allow them to make any arrests.
She said that she understood that law enforcement spoke to the protesters at the camp.
Here is Holland’s blog:
“Three folks were on the mountain at 9:30. Two of us were starting a fire, the other was doing morning prayers for the mountain,” Holland wrote.
“Six people approached the campsite — Captain Tim Clouatre who is Troop “B” Commander … , Sheriff Kirk Martin, Deputy Sheriff Phil Brooks, another deputy sheriff that stayed in the background, and two construction workers.
“Of course, with the police presence, I thought ‘finally we can make a statement.’ Their interest was to understand us and our perspective.
“They wanted to know how many would leave and how many would not if read a restraining order. I told them that some would leave, and some would stay. Probably 2 or 3 would be arrested at a time,” Holland wrote.
“Captain Clouatre asked if we would be doing this daily? I said yes.
“Would we resist arrest? No,” Holland wrote.
“Do we have guns? No,” Holland said.
“They said they had pictures of peoples with guns.
“I said, that I am not aware of people with guns, we are a non-violent group.
“Would the same people be arrested more than once? I said, that we would cross that bridge when we come to it,” Holland wrote.
“We exchanged phone numbers.
“I asked when the new restraining order would be coming. They did not know.
“I did not have any conversation with the construction workers, but my partner at the time did — she found the workers to be slightly aggressive but handled the situation with class.
“I told them that we would notify them of any change in plans, for example, if we had a hundred people to arrest.
The meeting was cordial,” Holland concluded.
The website also has the mission statement of the protesters, who are calling themselves the Lowell Mountain Occupiers.
“The mission of the Lowell Mountain Occupiers is to help the people of Vermont develop a humane and sustainable energy policy that effectively addresses global warning through reduction of co2 emissions that is informed by science and objective analysis.
“We cherish the historic Vermont values of integrity, respect for the individual, private property, the importance of our environmental heritage, an educated citizenry and personal courage in the face of injustice.