Burlington Free Press Opinion: Sue for share of wind power payoff

Oct 02, 2012 No Comments by

Reposted from Burlington Free Press.


Could a recent conversation with a friend have revealed a possible solution to the deep concerns about industrial wind turbines on 200 miles of mountain ridgelines? Although my friend was angered by Gov. Shumlin’s part in the Sheffield and Lowell “done deals,” she thought Shumlin deserved some credit for such things as the recovery from Tropical Storm Irene. And she reminded me that the Lowell ridgeline dispute was going on for 10 years before Shumlin took office.


Comforting? No. Irene, after all, was a natural disaster from which we might fully recover, whereas the Sheffield and Lowell installation are a man-made disaster from which we will never recover — those ridgelines are gone forever! Furthermore, wasn’t Shumlin in public life long enough to come up with the vision and backbone to grasp the looming destruction of habitat, nature in general, mountain aesthetics and the encroachment of Gaz Metro/Green Mountain Power — a corporate brown snake devouring our lives?


But, remember that old, beloved expression, money talks? Listen closely, and I think you’ll hear it saying “Sue!” If all the affected towns would get together and sue Sheffield and Lowell for the lion’s share of their sellout to Green Mountain Power, where would the incentive be for other towns down the state to take GMP bribes? Sheffield is getting $500,000 a year for 20 years! That’s $10 million to spread around all the towns where property values have been affected because of the ruination of their views.


Also, I asked if my friend thought Deb Markowitz would grant that “easement” giving permission for Green Mountain Power to allow the giant turbine blades to kill brown bats. “Of course she’ll grant the easement! What is she supposed to do? Deny the easement and force them to take the towers down?”


Why not? All sorts of immense, ill-conceived, harmful-to-endangered species projects have been stopped, reversed. So, yes, deny the easement. Take the towers down. And upon little Deb Markowitz, of all people, will be conferred the heroic stature we’ve been dying for!


Sally Levy lives in Glover.

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