VT Digger: Barber & Arborio: An appeal to the governor

Sep 10, 2013 No Comments by

Reposted from the VT Digger. Opinion. September 9, 2013.

Editor’s note: This letter to Gov. Peter Shumlin was written by Cynthia E. Barber, executive coordinator of Newark Neighbors United, and Pamela Arborio, president of Brighton Ridge Protectors.

Dear Gov. Shumlin:

In August, the Public Service Board granted permission for Seneca Mountain Wind (Docket No. 7867) to install MET towers in Brighton, Newark and Ferdinand. The town of Newark, the town of Brighton, and Newark Neighbors United (the independent citizens group) intend to appeal the PSB decision to the Vermont Supreme Court. Since you have clearly stated your opposition to siting energy-generation development where towns have voted against such projects, and supported Newark after our September vote (thank you!), we are writing to ask you once again for assistance in this matter.

We would like your administration to join us in our appeal.

“Please join the citizens of Newark and Brighton in our appeal to the Supreme Court of the PSB decision.”

As you may recall, in September 2012, in the largest town meeting in anyone’s memory, the town of Newark voted overwhelmingly (74 percent) to amend our town plan. In it, we clarified our position on MET towers and industrial-scale turbines. Our town plan discourages “commercial or industrial structures that exceed 125 feet.” Our collective vision, as expressed in the plan, is that Newark does not wish to be industrialized. A large commercial structure such as a ~200-foot MET tower is inappropriate and inconsistent with our collective vision and goals. The wishes of the people of Newark and the region could not be clearer. We voted: the results of that vote could not be clearer.

The Town of Brighton also voted, 63 percent against industrial-scale development on Brighton ridgelines. This is a clear expression of town will: the results of that vote could not be clearer.

Newark voted again at town meeting in March 2013. This time, the vote was 88 percent in favor of defending ourselves from the ongoing attack by out-of-state wind prospectors and international landowners. We voted again: the results of that vote could not be clearer.

In her October 2012 letter to the Newark selectboard, then DPS Commissioner Elizabeth Miller stated, “The department will, as Governor Shumlin noted, let the PSB know that the type of clear expression of town will … deserves serious and significant consideration by the Board under its ‘orderly development’ criteria. Governor Shumlin has been clear that energy generation projects should not be sited in locations wherein substantial opposition exists.”

We therefore respectfully request that you instruct the current DPS commissioner that your position remains firm: your administration will not support construction of wind turbines or MET towers (whose only purpose is to serve as a precursor to turbines) in Newark or Brighton. Please join the citizens of Newark and Brighton in our appeal to the Supreme Court of the PSB decision.

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