Vt. Police Arrest 6 Blocking Wind Construction In Lowell


Vt. Police Arrest 6 Blocking Wind Construction In Lowell

Monday, 08/06/12 1:15pm

VPR/John Dillon
A state police officer arrests Bill Roddy from Irasburg at Green Mountain Power’s wind project in Lowell.


Police have arrested six protesters who briefly halted work at Green Mountain Power’s wind project in Lowell.
The utility has already put up two of the 21 turbines and the project is scheduled to go on-line before the end of the year.
But the protesters say their fight continues beyond Lowell. They say they’re making a statement that large-scale wind is not suitable for Vermont’s mountain ridges.
Monday morning on the Lowell ridgeline, roughly 45 protesters blocked a roadway built for the huge construction cranes used to erect the 400 foot tall wind towers.
They sang and danced while work stopped for a few hours. When two-dozen state police officers and sheriff’s deputies drove up, the protesters split into two groups: six that wanted to get arrested, and a larger group that didn’t. Lamoille County Sheriff Roger Marcoux gave the order to disperse.
“Right now, Green Mountain Power has asked that you all leave,” Marcoux said. “So please do so. Come on, folks!”
The six were quickly handcuffed and checked for weapons. A sheriff’s deputy grilled 71-year-old Carol Irons, as she extended her wrists for the cuffs to be locked in place.
“Do you have anything on you that could be potentially dangerous to me?”
“No,” Irons replied.
“Any weapons?”
“Any knives?”
“No,” she repeated a third time.
“Anything in your pockets?” the deputy asked.
Before the arrests Dr. Ron Holland – an emergency room physician from Irasburg – said the protesters were there to speak out against what he called a flawed energy policy.
“This does nothing to help climate change,” he said. “This is an illusion that you’re doing something green. The way you address climate change is you decrease fossil fuel emissions. You don’t destroy intact ecosystems that are an appropriate response to climate change.”
Holland said the protesters were occupying a section of the ridgeline that is the subject of an ownership dispute between a neighbor and the landowner that’s leasing the property to GMP.
Green Mountain Power spokesman Robert Dostis said the company has the legal right to use the property. Dosits added the Lowell wind development is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to generate electricity.
“As a renewable energy project, this is something we should be encouraging not protesting,” he said. “Be that as it may, the leaders of this protest have been part of the process for the past two years. They’ve had their say. We’ve gone through the democratic, legal process to get this permitted and now we’re constructing. And the delays they’re causing now really just means that it’s increasing the cost of the projects and it means our customers pay more.”
At the base of the mountain, anti-wind activist Steve Wright said the protest was about more than the Lowell development. He said a broad coalition hopes to stop other projects planned for Essex, Rutland and Windham counties.
“It’s not about the project. It’s about the state,” Wright said. “It’s about the Green Mountains; it’s about Vermont’s signature image. It’s about the core of the economy. It’s about effective climate change, not about wasted money and wasted mountains on methods that don’t work.”

Some of the protesters say they’ll be back on Tuesday, for a ceremonial funeral service for the Lowell Mountains.


4 comments on “Vt. Police Arrest 6 Blocking Wind Construction In Lowell

  1. Annegret Pollard says:

    Dostis simply lies about the process of the past 2 years. For one, GMP has not fulfilled the conditions required by the CPG and is allowed to do as they please, note the flood in Lowell on July 4th, no accident.

  2. Annegret Pollard says:

    A pointless exercise.

  3. Carol Maroni says:

    This is about more than GMP and the Lowell Mountain range. This debate is about the destruction of our VT ridgelines to promote Shumlin’s failed energy policy. My two year experience of attending Public Service Board and Agency of Natural Resources meetings to see every issue be rubberstamped to move the large scale wind agenda forward was disheartening and out of touch with reality. I can totally understand how people that did not witness the “process” would question the ongoing actions of our fellow Vermonters.

    Issues raised during hearings, noise issues, vibration issues, the real costs of wind energy, the disputed land issue, and environmental issues like water quality, wildlife, and endangered species concerns were ignored. (Very recently, First Wind in Sheffield has petitioned the State for a permit to kill endangered bats – and the permit to kill endangered bats is actually being considered by Deb Marcowitz…. yes it’s true!) Why should Industrial Scale Wind get a free pass to avoid the penalty that applies to all other energy sources including fossil fuel producers for killing endangered species?

    Oh and then there is the little discussed reality that wind and solar (without sufficient battery resources that are not yet available) do not reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Add to that the Renewable Energy Credits that are “earned” with building large industrial wind facilities on VT ridgelines, then “sold” to other States to meet the renewable energy goals of the other State …. a two for one deal that essentially makes a mockery of any renewable benefit. Build it in Vermont so other states can buy REC’s and continue to pollute. Exactly what is it we are trying to do with industrial wind turbines?

    I don’t understand how Mr. Dostis can say these industrial wind parks on our ridgelines are environmentally friendly. Just consider the destruction of intact mountain ecosystems that left alone would reduce carbon emissions. A renewable energy project to encourage would be one that is small scale, distributed and home based. One that gives the energy credits to the homeowner not large corporations who’s motivations may be in question.

    Finally, I’d like to point out that the “small group” Dorothy Schure from GMP addresses in her public comments is an “actively growing” group as people become informed of the realities and real costs and benefits of Large Scale Industrial Wind Parks on our mountain ridgelines. Often Governor Shumlin and others quote State wide surveys where the majority of citizens are in favor of wind energy. I’d challenge the Governor and others to identify in the survey those who have the turbines in their communities. Those local “NIMBY” people with full time jobs and families that have taken the time to research wind. Or those of our neighbors unfortunate enough to have experienced the realities of Large industrial scale wind due to their home proximity to the project. Identify in the survey those that know the reality, the costs vs the benefits and see what the results from that population show.

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