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Rutland Herald: ‘This family was out of time’ : Sheffield family resettled with help

January 17, 2015
http://www.rutlandherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20141228/
NEWS 01/712289931
‘This family was out of time’: Sheffield family resettled with help
By Amy ASH Nixon
STAFF WRITER | December 28,2014
(John Dillon / VPR Photo)
.therriensThe Therrien family outside their former Sheffield home in 2013.
Luann and Steve Therrien had a busier Christmas than most people this year — and
maybe a better one.
After living in the shadow of the 16 industrial turbines at the Sheffield wind site near
their modest year-round home, a former camp that has been in Steve’s family since the
1970s, the family has been relocated with help from supporters of the anti-wind cause to
a mobile home in Derby.
Over the last three years since the turbines went online, the Therriens — the poster family
for the wind movement — say they have been feeling sicker.
The new home came with a to-do list that some worried might not be ready by winter:
heat, electricity, a refrigerator, front steps and skirting to keep out the cold winter air.
Just a few days ago, with Christmas within days, the family suffered a vehicle fire that
destroyed their van. As a result, they lost their young children’s car seats. A vehicle and
car seats were added to their list of necessities.
The fire was not arson, Luann said, but the Vermont State Police still investigated. The
family has enemies because of its continued, public outcry — including testifying at the
State House — about how the wind project has impacted their health and the health of
their children, Seager, 5, and Baily, who turns 3 next month.
People are upset, Luann said. They hear it often and with a certain reciprocity of vigor.
The owners of the wind project, First Wind of Boston, have not helped the Therriens.
Help has come from many of the family’s supporters — from people in Sheffield to the
Danby-based Vermonters for a Clean Environment.
VCE executive director Annette Smith dipped into inheritance funds her parents left her
to purchase the used trailer for the couple, saying she feared for the Therriens’ lives while
trying to survive another winter on the mountain.
“This family was out of time,” she said.
Transition
At the home in Sheffield earlier last week, Luann was in good spirits, grateful her family
was moving on. But she said she was sad to be walking away from the quiet life the
Therriens had enjoyed on their 50-acre property before the wind project came along.
Even on the market, no one has come to see the property up for sale.
While their land is near the interstate, Luann said “it’s nowhere near the same as dealing
with the turbines. We would sit outside and have bonfires all the time and I’d be out
playing with Seager (before the turbines). … I haven’t even wanted to be outside (since
they went up).”
Ironically, the couple’s home was off the grid. They were not opposed when talk of a big
wind project started in Sheffield.
“We thought, ‘It’s wind, how bad can it be?’” Luann said of how wind dovetailed with
their existing principles.
When a petition against the wind project circulated, “all my friends were signing it, so I
said, ‘OK, I’ll sign it.’” But that was the only protest the couple made at that time — a
signature.
They were not concerned. “We didn’t go to any rallies. We didn’t go to any meetings … I
knew nothing about wind turbines before all this started. Now, I could write a book,” she
said.
Until Dec. 22, they lived less than a mile from one of the turbines, within a mile of five
more. Each of the 16 turbines are 420 feet in height and within two miles of their home.
“We’re the only full-time resident this close,” Luann said, noting most of the other
dwellings in that range are camps. They never imagined they would be able to see or hear
them. They were wrong, she said.
Open house
Ultimately, with VCE’s help, the Therriens’ former home will be turned into a motel of
sorts. Guests will be educated on the effects of living near an industrial wind project site,
said Smith.
“We are going to set it up as the First Wind Motel, that is our plan, and people can come
up and experience it firsthand,” said Luann. A minimum stay of several nights will be
required so the experience is meaningful, said Smith, adding that the same idea is being
discussed near a wind project in another state.
Smith said, “Someone will be staying at the house in Sheffield after the Therrien family
leaves.”
The family has sought help from the town of Sheffield, which takes in more than a halfmillion
dollars in payments for hosting the wind project each year for 20 years, and from
First Wind. The Therriens had been hoping for financial help to relocate, but none has
come.
Officials at the town and state say tests required by the state Public Service Board, which
approved the wind project, show the industrial project is well within noise standards
established for its operation. They dispute the Therriens’ claims.
“The Sheffield project has undergone extensive sound testing by private and state experts
and it has been deemed to be in compliance with state regulations,” said John
Lamontagne, spokesman for First Wind in Boston. “We wish the Therriens well in their
new home.”
Luann said First Wind offered them $45,000 for the two acres their home sits on as well
as a non-disclosure agreement.
“We still think they should buy us out,” she said. “We’re abandoning our land. We’ve
gone into major debt so we can get out of here.”
Had to go
Luann said she remembers the first time she realized the turbines were not going to be
good neighbors. It was October, 2011, and they had put up with months of construction
on their road and not said anything.
“It was right off … I know it was a foggy morning, and Steve got up to go to work and he
stepped outside, and he was like, ‘Oh my God, this is not good, they are so loud.’”
Steve Therrien, a former truck mechanic driver who had a garbage route in the Barre area
but now has trouble feeling well enough to drive said, “We gotta just move forward. We
can only help ourselves at this point.”
“I cannot tell from day to day how I’m going to feel, and how do you look at your
employer and say, ‘I am going to be two hours late … it’s nerve-wracking to drive,” he
said.
Of having to move, he said they had no choice.
In a letter sent to state officials Dec. 1, Smith will receive rent from the state on the trailer
she bought as the family is on public assistance and unable to work due to their health
issues.
Dr. Sandy Reider, a Northeast Kingdom doctor who has gone on record voicing concerns
about the effects of wind, testified to the health of the couple.
“I have seen both Steve and Luann Therrien in my office for complaints that are most
certainly related to living in close proximity to the Sheffield wind development,” Reider
said. “… Because I have seen several others that have been similarly affected since these
industrial wind projects have come online, I have had a crash course in the effects of
sound (including infrasound) on health.”
Reider has testified before many state panels, citing the connection between the turbines
and human health effects.
“In my opinion, the Therrien family needs to abandon their current home and move, as
there is no other way to mitigate the adverse health effects they are suffering from living
so close to these industrial turbines,” he stated, before they did move.
“It has to be done for my kids and my family,” Steve said of the family’s move to Derby.
“It’s a good thing, with everybody that’s been behind us.”
The Therriens moved into their new home earlier this month. With it, they hope, a new
start.
A new hope
Steve said his mother gave them the lot on which they put the trailer.
The support from friends in Sheffield and other wind project families, as well as VCE, “It
really picks our spirits up.”
The trailer they found was $15,000, more than they had hoped, but is in good condition
and everything works. Friends dropped by with beds and even a wreath for the door.
Others donated the skirting and paid for the power; someone else paid for the steps, while
another supporter brought a sofa, another brought a stuffed chair. The home came
together quickly and with a great sense of community.
“The last thing I ever wanted for them was to have to live in a trailer,” Smith said of the
Therriens. “The right thing to have done would have been for First Wind to have bought
them out and for them to be able to buy a home of their choosing … We’re doing this for
dirt cheap, and it’s nothing for First Wind to be proud of, it’s nothing for this (state)
administration to be proud of. This is a family who has been completely thrown away by
our state government whose policies put them in this position, and with everyone in the
highest level of government knowing about their situation … These two small children
and their parents have had their lives destroyed.”
But this holiday season, Steve said he is counting his blessings.
“We’re blessed. … It’s still sad that the state won’t step in and make these companies
accountable for their damages. … I would say when you do business you take care of your
damages, and that is your main priority. … We slipped through the cracks.”
amy.nixon@timesargus.com

Green Mountain Power To Pay The Nelsons in Dispute Settlement Over Property Impacted by the KCW Lowell Wind Project

April 15, 2014
4/15/2014
Wind Opponents Call The Nelsons Heroes, Predict More Buyouts
Robin Smith
Staff Writer
ImageDon and Shirley Nelson

Wind opponents from across Vermont reacted to the settlement between Green Mountain Power and Don and Shirley Nelson of Lowell on Monday, calling them heroes.
They said they hope the buyout could spur more as the state begins to realize that industrial wind projects have an impact on human neighbors and they vowed to continue fighting them.
Luann Therrien of Sheffield, who also lives near industrial wind turbines, said she cried for joy when she heard the news that the Nelsons had struck a deal and would be paid for their property.
“We are so thrilled for them. We are so excited that they can get out and get healthy,” she said.
Her husband Steve said he had been to the Nelsons’ farm and understood their experience. “I wouldn’t have wanted to be there another day,” he said.
Therrien said he hoped that this settlement creates a pathway for others who are experiencing health impacts.
They have tried for years to get First Wind to purchase their property.

 

Steve Wright of Craftsbury, president of Ridge Protectors, said the Nelsons had the Vermont dream, until they were forced from their land by a foreign-owned corporation.
“Yes, they were paid for that property, but money runs a poor second to beauty, peace, quiet and a love for your land.
“Don and Shirley are heroes. They represent the long-held Vermont values that live on in the struggle for an energy policy we know is possible, one that doesn’t drive people from their homes, damage their health, and wither hope.
“The Nelsons are not the only ones forced off their land; already, at least three other families near the Lowell project have experienced a similar fate. More are expected,” Wright said.
Annette Smith of Vermonters for a Clean Environment said her group supports the Nelsons’ decision to agree to a settlement.
“At the same time, we and many others in the community know that they have been damaged by Green Mountain Power far beyond what any monetary settlement could provide,” Smith stated.
“Any time a utility has to buy out a neighbor, it is not a ‘win’ for the corporation.”
“We expect this is just the beginning of litigation and settlements … ,” Smith stated.
“We at Energize Vermont are saddened that the Kingdom Community Wind tragedy has driven Don and Shirley Nelson from their home,” executive director Mark Whitworth of Newark said.
GMP’s settlement “represents just the latest in the series of unanticipated costs” from the wind project that will be passed on to consumers “who are weary of hearing about the cost-effectiveness of wind-generated electricity,” Whitworth stated.
Neighbors are being hurt, Wright said, even though industrial wind projects have “no effective climate change benefit.”
“Industrial wind technology does not work on the New England landscape and the Lowell Project, in spite of GMP’s claims, is clear proof,” he said.
“Complicit in this sad tale is the Shumlin administration, aided and abetted by the so-called ‘environmental’ community. Together, they continue to advance statewide energy policy that even the Public Service Board acknowledges worsens Vermont’s carbon footprint,” Wright stated.
“The negative impacts of the Lowell turbines are far greater than Green Mountain Power has disclosed and the benefits to society that they promised will never be realized,” Whitworth stated.
“The turbines will have no impact on global climate change. Their damage to the land is permanent,” Whitworth stated.
“Wind energy generation is simply inappropriate for Vermont,” Smith stated.
“It does not live up to the promises of ‘free fuel,’ but instead comes at tremendous and unaccounted-for costs. The harm done to the Nelson’s property which now has no value in the real estate market, to Don and Shirley’s health and quality of life which is degraded on a daily basis, and to the wildlife, water resources and landscape are evidence that big wind turbines have no place in Vermont,” Smith stated.
The Nelsons will remain “a symbol to the rest of Vermont” of the sacrifices demanded of those who are forced to live near wind turbines. “In the end, we believe the Lowell wind turbines must come down,” Smith said.
“The Nelsons are not the only Vermonters who have suffered ill health and financial damage because of industrial wind turbines,” Whitworth stated.
“We call upon Green Mountain Power, First Wind, and Georgia Mountain Community Wind to make reparations to the other Vermont victims of their industrial wind projects.
Steve Therrien said he has asked First Wind three times to buy them out.
They have tried to find an attorney who would work for free to help them sue the developer but have not been successful.
 
4/15/2014
Lowell Wind Project:GMP Buys Out Don And Shirley Nelson In Lawsuit Settlement
 

Robin Smith
Staff Writer

ImageThree of the turbines sited behind the Nelson’s home

LOWELL — Green Mountain Power will buy Don and Shirley Nelson’s Lowell farm for $1.3 million as part of an out-of-court settlement of dueling lawsuits over property, damages and trespassing.
GMP and the Nelsons announced the settlement early Monday morning in separate statements. The deal ends a court battle that has been percolating in Orleans Superior Court in Newport City since GMP began blasting rock for the mountaintop wind project three years ago.
The settlement allows Don and Shirley Nelson to live on the 540-acre farm near Albany for two years. They also retain ownership of 35 acres of property in Albany. They plan to move away from proximity to the turbines.
The Nelsons accused GMP of damaging their mountainside property and trespassing. They challenged GMP over ownership of some of the land where the 21 turbines stand. They also sued mountain property owner Trip Wileman of Lowell, who has leased the property to GMP for the 21 industrial-sized wind turbines.
The lawsuit against Wileman was dropped as well in the settlement, Wileman said.
GMP fought back with counterclaims, also asserting damages. A judge issued a temporary restraining order allowing GMP to continue blasting and telling the Nelsons to stop encouraging protesters from going from their property to the wind site. But that order in 2011 did not resolve the larger claims of ownership of part of the wind site.
During the protests and the beginning of the court battle, GMP had offered to buy the farm for $1 million, the listing price. The Nelsons rejected the offer, demanding $2 million instead.

 

The utility also tried to broker a deal involving Vermont Land Trust and farmers who wanted to buy the property, but that fell through when the Nelsons realized that GMP was participating with funding behind the scenes.
The Nelsons, with the personal and financial support of those who opposed the wind project, battled the wind project planners in hearings before the state utility regulators on the Public Service Board and in the court of public opinion as well as in civil court.
In their statement they said they thought they would prevail in court but that would not stop the turbines from operating.
They thanked all their supporters.
Shirley Nelson in particular has participated in hearings over a handful of noise violations early in the operation of the turbines. She has testified that her health has been affected by the turbines.
GMP spokeswoman Dorothy Schnure stated that the purchase of the property is part of the mutual agreement which meets the needs of the Nelsons and the customers of the state’s largest utility.
“We are pleased to announce that GMP has reached agreement with Don and Shirley Nelson to settle all pending claims,” Schnure said in GMP’s short statement on the settlement.
Before the turbines were erected, GMP bought out another neighbor who lived on the southwest side of the mountain range.
In their statement, the Nelsons said that “if they had fought the court battle to the end and prevailed — as they were confident they would have — they would not have been able to reverse the effects on Lowell Mountain or cause the towers to be removed from the mountain top.
“They would have received, at best, money damages comparable to what they achieved through settlement but only after a major courtroom battle with the possibility of appeals and with no certainty as to the outcome …,” according to the Nelsons’ statement.
“Once the turbines were built, it was clear that they were not coming down and the effect on Lowell Mountain was irreversible,” the Nelsons stated.
“They made the decision that they would not remain in their Lowell Mountain hill farm in the shadow of the turbines. The Nelsons intend to move from their farm to a location well away from the turbines.”
The Nelsons stated that GMP has agreed it will not oppose “post- conviction relief sought by the citizen protesters who were convicted of trespass for standing on land that the Nelsons claim is theirs. Green Mountain Power acknowledged that the legal status and title to the land was in dispute.”
Several groups of protesters have been found guilty of trespassing on the wind project site on land that was in dispute in the court case.
“The Nelsons have been fierce opponents of the Green Mountain Power wind turbine project because of its impact on Lowell Mountain, a mountain that Don Nelson grew up with and that both Nelsons dearly love,” the Nelsons stated. The Nelson farm has been in the Nelson family for more than 72 years.
“The Nelsons expressed their gratitude to their many friends and neighbors who have battled with them to oppose the construction of wind turbines on Lowell Mountain.”
Schnure referred to GMP’s statement when asked questions about the settlement and whether GMP has bought out anyone else near the wind project.
GMP revealed little of the agreement in its statement, except the purchase of the Nelson property.
“The agreement meets the needs of the Nelsons as well as those of our customers,” Schnure stated.
“Kingdom Community Wind is an important part of our growing investment in renewable energy in Vermont. It is an ongoing priority for us to deliver clean, cost-effective, renewable energy to customers including wind, solar, and hydro-electricity.
“Vermonters place a high value on the competitively-priced, low carbon energy developed at the site. Kingdom Community Wind is a critical part of that effort to ensure a clean-energy future in Vermont, and since 2012, the project has generated enough electricity to power more than 24,000 homes,” Schnure stated.
“We believe that this settlement represents an opportunity for both to move forward and we are pleased to have reached agreement,” she concluded.

IT’S OVER

February 7, 2014

IT’S OVER!!!!!

Image

More Landowners Terminate Easements for Grandpas Knob Wind

February 7, 2014

Click on link below to read the recently-signed termination agreements

Pittsford Termination of Easements

West Rutland Termination of Easements

Freedom & Unity: The Vermont Movie’s Barnstorming Tour

October 22, 2013

PART 6 features a segment on the Lowell Wind project.  A Q&A will follow the screening on Thursday night.

Freedom & Unity: The Vermont Movie’s Barnstorming Tour

Merchant’s Hall, Rutland, Vermont

Join us in Rutland for screenings of parts 4, 5, and 6.

Tickets for this event are $8. Students with valid I.D. $5 @ the door.

Merchant’s Hall, Rutland, Vermont

40 and 42 Merchants Row, Rutland, VT 05701, USA map

Part 4- October 23rd @ 7:00 PM (Purchase Tickets)

Part 5- October 24th @ 5:45 PM (Purchase Tickets)

Part 6- October 24th @ 8:30 PM (Purchase Tickets)

Part Four, Doers and Shapers

Part Four explores the people and institutions that push boundaries. Starting with education, we take an engrossing journey through the philosophy of John Dewey, leading to the hands-on style of Goddard College, the Putney School, and the inseparable connection between education and democracy. We explore other progressive movements: Vermont’s famous Billboard law and Act 250, cultural movements such as Bread and Puppet Theater and finally Vermont’s groundbreaking civil union law. Democracy at work—differing voices, different points of view.

Part Five – Ceres’ Children

Part Five takes a deeper look at some of Vermont’s cherished traditions: participatory democracy and the conservation ethic, from the ideas of George Perkins Marsh, one of America’s first environmentalists, to contemporary volunteer groups and activist movements. The film captures 21st century debates over natural resources, then circles back in time to show how these concerns originate in the ethics of farmers, who depended on the natural world for their survival. The disappearance of dairy farms has raised a tough question: how big is too big? How can Vermont survive in a world economy? Can Vermont be a model for small, local and self-sufficient farming?

Part Six – People’s Power

Part Six tackles contemporary tensions over energy, independence, the environment and the state’s future. Chronicling the struggle to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, it reveals the power of protest, the influence of lobbyists and the importance of town meeting debate and a citizen legislature. It follows the battle over windmills in Lowell—a struggle over scale, aesthetics and environmental impacts—and explores thorny questions about economics, sovereignty and climate change. Finally, the devastating impacts of Hurricane Irene reveal the power not only of nature, but of people and community.

http://www.flynntix.org/Productions/Details.aspx?perfNo=10344&perfCodePrefix=OPG14U

A reminder: Lowell Mountain Open House

August 29, 2013

mtntop-open-house-poster1

Introducing: PEAK KEEPERS of Vermont’s Mountains

August 12, 2013

51f941b3e4b0cc5aa44a8cf3

Visit http://www.peakkeepers.org for links to videos of their Roundtable Discussions about Vermont’s mountain ecosystems and the importance of these to our state and beyond. Learn from esteemed educators, authors, and experts about Vermont’s mountains, in a series of informative videos. And pass this on!

The RENDEZVOUS on August 17th & 18th

July 13, 2013
In Irasburg, Vermont

The RENDEZVOUS on August 17th & 18th

Visit and follow the blog: therendezvousvt.wordpress.com for camping details, directions to Irasburg & the Rendezvous, for updates on the event schedule, and the event’s workshops and presenters and music info, all coming soon!

Not to be missed at the RendezVous: the renowned Bread & Puppet!!

Tell your friends! fill a car! Be there! Hope to see you!

SOLARFEST 2013! July 12th, 13th, & 14th

July 13, 2013

Visit http://www.solarfest.org for ticket info, sustainability workshops schedule, directions and more!

Quoted from their newsletter:
“Factoid: Enough sunlight falls on the earth’s surface every hour to meet world energy demand for an entire year.”
Come out to Solarfest. Forget-Me-Not Farm in Tinmouth VT. $15 day admission and LOTS to see and do and learn! Great Music! Local Food! Great Ideas!

Hope to see you there!

NEWS from the Mountain Occupiers!!

June 25, 2013

NEWS from the Mountain Occupiers!!

Please visit therendezvousvt.wordpress.com for more
information on this great event on August 17 and 18.
ENERGY * CULTURE * TRUTH * JUSTICE

From their webpage:
The Rendezvous
August 17 and 18, 2013 | Irasburg, Vermont
What is the Rendezvous?
The Rendezvous is a bold beginning to reorder human life on the planet, starting with our own region. It is an event for anyone who cares about maintaining a livable planet. It is a time to explore a collective vision for the future guided by the Truth about finite resources; Culture grounded in a right relationship with the Earth; Peace and environmental and social Justice; and Energy generation that protects the natural systems on which we depend.

The Rendezvous is organized by the northern Vermont coalition, Mountain Occupiers; along with members of regional groups such as Rising Tide, 350 Vermont, and the Vermont Workers Center. Attendees will include members of environmental and social justice groups from across New England and Québec.

The Setting:
The Rendezvous will take place in a 50-acre field near Irasburg village. The location has expansive views of the surrounding ridgelines, including the controversial Lowell Wind Project. Beneath the field is a 73 year old pipeline that is under consideration to carry tar sands oil. Participants will camp onsite, sharing food, ideas, and knowledge. A natural amphitheatre will be the venue for local musicians, a Bread and Puppet performance, and keynote speaker Peter Brown, Ph.D. (Author of Right Relationships: Building a Whole Earth Economy). Attendance is by donation.

See you at The Rendezvous!

“We are participants in a conflict between two cultures. The dominant culture regards the Earth as a natural resource to be dominated for the purpose of extraction of personal wealth. We regard the Earth and all creation as a set of right relationships and our role is to understand and live by and within those relationships” (Peter Brown).

Land Owner Tells His Story About Dealing With Wind Developer

May 29, 2013
D Saari Video

click on photo to see video

Derek Saari Talks in West Rutland about the Grandpa’s Knob Wind Development, May 20, 2013

Email: Derek Saari Update

May 24, 2013

**Update May 24, 2013

Due to several issues related to the potential threat of inclement weather,  he is regretfully postponing the May 26th event (refer to Derek Saari’s  invitation letter below).
Derek’s Power Point presentation slides are attached below as “Vermont Presentation”

——————-

Good Evening Mr. Eisenberg,

When I arrived home late last evening from the presentation I see that you sent via regular mail your response from the other day. I’m assuming the letter is dated May 15, 2013 and not March 15, 2013. Totally accustomed to your error filed writing. Thank you but I had already made 100 copies and dispersed your letter at the meeting. In fact, I modified my presentation to read your letter into the record. By far Mr. Eisenberg, your anticipated weak response, I must rate, as one of the top three worst letters you have produced in the last year. But this observation makes sense. Since informing the public on December 21, 2012 that you were experiencing episodes of “hiatus” and that this condition was still present on April 8, 2013 and even more disturbingly, in your above-mentioned letter to me regarding this meeting, the resulting symptoms really have impacted your already compromised writing skills. Best of luck dealing with this self-identified issue.

I have attached to maintain continuity with my extensive work on this hiatus project, a copy of the presentation from last evening. I totally understand that the individual slides may or may not be completely obvious as to their individual or collective meaning, so to overcome that perception, you will receive a CD copy of the presentation, in addition the following, the Governor, Attorney General, Public Service Board, the four affected Town SelectBoards/Committees, numerous State officials, and the lengthy list goes on. The presentation was professionally taped for your viewing convenience. There is a slide missing relative to the return phone call from Burlington Electric that I received after completion of the slides but that discussion can wait until you receive the CD.

In addition to the presentation being on the CD, this Sunday May 26th between 10:30AM and 1:00PM, the same professional video company will be on my property and the surrounding area within the limits of granted permission, to bring the presentation from last night into true environmental reality. As you recall, I warmly welcomed you on my property on October 7, 2012 similar to the invite on April 14, 2012. Unfortunately you rudely declined my October invite in your letter dated October 6, 2012. Inviting you and your development staff should never be considered what you commonly refer to as a “so-called fear tactic”, I have nothing to hide. I have done more work at 80 Payson Hill Rd in Rindge NH then you have ever done at 82 Elm St in Manchester Center VT. So once again, I’m reaching out to you and any other development team member to come to my property this Sunday. Now, I understand the repetitive statement that not even a conceptual site plan rendering remotely exists for the Grandpa’s Knob project even after seven long years but your extensive and successful development background in renewable energy as cited on your Reunion Power website, as well as, your Ruby Renewable Resource website, would be a tremendous value to the on-site portion on the CD production

To provide you and any of your invitees the legal comfort in gaining access to my property and as was the case for the no-show in October, I will waive the “Order Of No Trespass” for Old Hubbardton Road that was sent to you on July 9, 2012. This brief waiver will be between the above-listed timeframe for May 26, 2013 only, after that, the Order reverts to being in full force in effect. There will be a social period after 1:00 PM but your invite to this portion is not extended.

This invite is open to the public. I’m trying Mr. Eisenberg to allow you so many opportunities to promote the environmental and community benefits as you stated in your letter. Another no-show says so much. My property is tranquil and may ease the hiatus symptoms so please consider the opportunity.

————————

Derek Saari’s Power Point Presentation Given in West Rutland Monday May 20, 2013:

Vermont Final Presentation

Email: Derek Saari to Steve Eisenberg 5/21/13

May 23, 2013

**Update May 24, 2013

Due to several issues related to the potential threat of inclement weather,  he is regretfully postponing the May 26th event (refer to Derek Saari’s  invitation letter below).

——————-

Good Evening Mr. Eisenberg,

When I arrived home late last evening from the presentation I see that you sent via regular mail your response from the other day. I’m assuming the letter is dated May 15, 2013 and not March 15, 2013. Totally accustomed to your error filed writing. Thank you but I had already made 100 copies and dispersed your letter at the meeting. In fact, I modified my presentation to read your letter into the record. By far Mr. Eisenberg, your anticipated weak response, I must rate, as one of the top three worst letters you have produced in the last year. But this observation makes sense. Since informing the public on December 21, 2012 that you were experiencing episodes of “hiatus” and that this condition was still present on April 8, 2013 and even more disturbingly, in your above-mentioned letter to me regarding this meeting, the resulting symptoms really have impacted your already compromised writing skills. Best of luck dealing with this self-identified issue.

I have attached to maintain continuity with my extensive work on this hiatus project, a copy of the presentation from last evening. I totally understand that the individual slides may or may not be completely obvious as to their individual or collective meaning, so to overcome that perception, you will receive a CD copy of the presentation, in addition the following, the Governor, Attorney General, Public Service Board, the four affected Town SelectBoards/Committees, numerous State officials, and the lengthy list goes on. The presentation was professionally taped for your viewing convenience. There is a slide missing relative to the return phone call from Burlington Electric that I received after completion of the slides but that discussion can wait until you receive the CD.

In addition to the presentation being on the CD, this Sunday May 26th between 10:30AM and 1:00PM, the same professional video company will be on my property and the surrounding area within the limits of granted permission, to bring the presentation from last night into true environmental reality. As you recall, I warmly welcomed you on my property on October 7, 2012 similar to the invite on April 14, 2012. Unfortunately you rudely declined my October invite in your letter dated October 6, 2012. Inviting you and your development staff should never be considered what you commonly refer to as a “so-called fear tactic”, I have nothing to hide. I have done more work at 80 Payson Hill Rd in Rindge NH then you have ever done at 82 Elm St in Manchester Center VT. So once again, I’m reaching out to you and any other development team member to come to my property this Sunday. Now, I understand the repetitive statement that not even a conceptual site plan rendering remotely exists for the Grandpa’s Knob project even after seven long years but your extensive and successful development background in renewable energy as cited on your Reunion Power website, as well as, your Ruby Renewable Resource website, would be a tremendous value to the on-site portion on the CD production

To provide you and any of your invitees the legal comfort in gaining access to my property and as was the case for the no-show in October, I will waive the “Order Of No Trespass” for Old Hubbardton Road that was sent to you on July 9, 2012. This brief waiver will be between the above-listed timeframe for May 26, 2013 only, after that, the Order reverts to being in full force in effect. There will be a social period after 1:00 PM but your invite to this portion is not extended.

This invite is open to the public. I’m trying Mr. Eisenberg to allow you so many opportunities to promote the environmental and community benefits as you stated in your letter. Another no-show says so much. My property is tranquil and may ease the hiatus symptoms so please consider the opportunity.

————————

Derek Saari’s Power Point Presentation Given in West Rutland Monday May 20, 2013:

Vermont Final Presentation

Landowner holds forum on wind project

May 17, 2013

http://www.rutlandherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130517/NEWS01/705179951

Landowner holds forum on wind project
May 17,2013

WEST RUTLAND — A landowner who terminated his easement agreement with a wind project developer is hosting a public forum at 7 p.m. Monday at the West Rutland Town Hall.

The event is hosted by Derek Saari, who last year pulled out of his agreement with Reunion Power, the developer of the proposed Grandpa’s Knob Wind Farm. According to Saari, the forum will focus on his experience and prior involvement with the project. He said he has invited the project’s developer to the forum.

For more information, email biddieknobvt@yahoo.com.

Letter to Derek Saari from S. Eisenberg re: Invitation to Forum May 20

May 17, 2013

Grandpa’s Knob Windpark, LLC
PO Box 2049
Manchester Center, VT 05255
March 15, 2013

Mr. Derek Saari

RE: Your Invitation to a Meeting on May 20, 2013 regarding the proposed Grandpa’s Knob Wind
Project

Mr. Saari:
We have received the subject invitation and we decline to participate.
The Grandpa’s Knob Project is currently in hiatus and there are no definitive plans or schedule at this time.

Rest assured when plans to proceed are in place, proper steps will be taken to communicate
publicly.

In 2012 there were multiple introductory meetings, communications and community outreach
with regards wind power and the potential Project. But due to a number of factors, the site plan for the Project was not finalized and we did not proceed with an application for a permit at that time. To be 100% clear no formal proposal was presented.

There exists a great deal of information in the public domain regarding commercial wind power
as well as other forms of generation. Sadly a great deal of misinformation has been propagated regarding wind power and the Project as well. Each form of generation has both positive and negative impacts on the environment and the community. At this time we still believe that the primary attributes remain in place and in our view the Project is good for both the environment and the community.

We respect the rights of all interested parties to hold and express opinions on the matter of wind power, including yours, although we note again that your outrageous actions and letters are filled with inaccuracies, unsupported claims and misleading statements. At the same time we remind you that there are many landowners and local residents who have expressed support for wind power and the Project. In addition a solid two-thirds majority of Vermonters have expressed their continued support for in-state wind power (and we note the 2012 and 2013 polls by Castleton State College regarding ridgeline wind power). Furthermore we note the actions taken in Montpelier this legislative season where efforts to adopt a moratorium on wind power by a minority in the Senate failed to gain broad based support.

In closing, we reiterate when the definitive plans for the Grandpa’s Knob Project are in place, public communications and outreach will be made.

Respectfully,
Steve Eisenberg.

Cudnohufsky: The devastation of ridgeline turbine installations in New England

May 13, 2013

Opinion — Vt Digger ——- May 12, 2013
Editor’s note: This op-ed is by Walter Cudnohufsky, a landscape architect and land planner, and landscape artist. He has served on the Ashfield (Mass.) Planning Board and Wind Advisory Committee.

As a landscape architect, I am concerned about and cherish deeply our expansive and natural New England landscape. My concern for our highly visible and long protected ridges in particular, was increased in 2009 when Blue Sky Wind Developers made a presentation to Ashfield, Mass., citizens. They were requesting to locate up to twelve 400-foot-tall industrial wind turbines on Ridge Hill above Ashfield Lake.

During the presentation, a slide was shown and claim made that the roads when complete will be 12- to 15-foot wide gravel paths winding gently through a replanted native forest. They were characterized to be perfect walking trails.

I was compelled to challenge that assumption and assertion publicly, already then having a good sense of the size and nature of equipment needed to install and maintain large turbines and also knowing a good deal about road design. I suggested to my fellow citizens that the area of devastation would be many magnitudes larger than our presenters stated.

I did not know the half of it! Since then more ridgeline turbine installations have happened locally, Hoosac Wind and Brodie Mountain in Massachusetts; Lempster, Groton and Coos County in New Hampshire; and Sheffield, Georgia and Lowell Mountain in Vermont. The reality of the devastation has opened my eyes, generated horror and much sadness.

Lowell Mountain News website identifies these roads correctly, “An interstate highway on a mountain ridgeline.”

For reference I begin with the familiar Interstate Route 91. The lane width is 12 feet, inside and outside shoulders another 12 feet making a total paved of 36 feet (in each direction). This 36 feet is exactly the tread width required for the crane used to erect the turbines. For safety 40-plus feet of road bed is required.

When the drainage swales, cut and fill embankments down to and up from the road are added, the clear cut width will range from 100 feet to well over 200 feet. This is because of the more rugged and steep ridge top terrain all specifically avoided by Route 91.

The average width of the constructed Lowell Mountain turbine clearing and cut has been calculated averaging at least 120 feet. Some vertical bedrock cuts and fills at Lowell exceed 45 feet and their residual exposed blast rock will not host vegetative growth for decades, if ever! Essentially these sensitive areas have been turned into giant rock quarrying operations. Do know that the shallow depth to bedrock landscapes such as Lowell Mountain, Hoosac and Brodie are exceedingly fragile, erosion prone and support unique and often rare vegetation.

The exposed rock runoff which has a coefficient of nearly 100 percent (think city street), the frequent stream and wetland crossings all add up to uncontrolled runoff that make the ever more frequent devastating storms, such as Irene of August 2011, an increasing certainty.

All trees, but native woodland trees in particular, with necessarily shallow and widely dispersed roots, cannot tolerate cut or fill. Most will die if grading takes place on their roots. The clear cut will increase over time with substantial incremental tree death well beyond the 120-200 feet.

The interstate (Route 91) design criteria are stringent, with a 6 percent maximum slope, broad curves and gentle transition grades. Up to 10 percent slopes and occasional short lengths of 16 percent slopes are allowed on turbine roads, but the limiting design criterion are otherwise surprisingly similar.

The absurdity of adding the equivalent of a roughly calculated 1,000 miles of additional New England interstate system on New England’s precious ridges is unconscionable. The reality is the current 2020 onshore wind energy goals for Massachusetts and the five New England states is exactly that, approximately 1,000 miles.

Additionally sobering are the additional clearing for access roads to the ridges, and the necessary clearing for new transmission lines, in total equal to or exceeding the cost and area of disturbance of the ridgeline turbines themselves.

Next, these 2020 goals are about to be dramatically increased fortuitously with no additional ridges to accommodate them. These goals will necessarily mutilate the visible New England landscape and change it to a dramatically industrial persona. I find it difficult to apply the term “sustainable” knowing this scale of consequence on a fragile esteemed and highly visible resource. This is especially true when I learn of the predictable small amount and proven shortfall of energy that must be expected from these barely function machines.

Why do so many of our longstanding environmental organizations, governmental and planning agencies embrace industrial wind? Why when it so antithetical to their conservation and community building efforts, do they not see these clearly devastating impacts? Why do many other organizations become complicit by remaining silent on this planned devastation when they could be exhibiting true conservation leadership?

Naomi Klein gives us the answer, in The Nation article “Time for Big Green to Go Fossil Free,” May 2, 2013. The answer is not a surprise. It is the money!

I express a loud no to ridgeline interstate highways in New England! Please join me!

Grandpa’s Knob Wind Park Informational Meeting

May 6, 2013

Grandpa's Knob Wind Park Informational Meeting

May 20, 2013

Real issues remain obscured

April 26, 2013

http://www.rutlandherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130426/OPINION02/704269963
April 26,2013

The big wind and renewable energy industry and its high-priced Montpelier lobbyists must absolutely love Rebecca Reimers’ April 23 letter written in rebuttal to John McClaughry’s oped on the current energy situation.

The big wind industry’s admiration has little to do with the content of the letter, but with the fact that Ms. Reimers’ arguments take the renewable energy debate deep into the weeds of confusion. Deep in the weeds of confusion is exactly where the big wind and renewable energy industry wants the discussion because it does them no harm, as the real issues remain obscured.

As long as the debate about placing giant wind turbines on Vermont’s mountain ridges and huge fields of solar panels in peoples’ back yards stays muddled in the esoterica of adjusted gross incomes, energy subsidies and coal mining accidents somewhere else, the Vermont big wind and renewable industry couldn’t be happier.

The last thing the industry wants to talk about is the real impact of large renewable projects in Vermont. The simple fact is that erecting giant wind turbines on Vermont’s mountain ridges and placing large solar panel arrays in the back yards of Rutland neighborhoods does nothing to improve Vermont’s air quality.

Out-of-state developers can cover every square inch of Vermont with turbines and solar panels, and the people will get nothing but higher electric bills and damage to the environment in return.

The big wind and renewable industry doesn’t want the debate to focus on the simple fact that industrial turbines and solar panels give Vermonter’s essentially nothing good. They want the debate hopelessly entangled in the deep weeds of confusion, where Ms. Reimers’ letter squarely places it.

PETER YANKOWSKI
Rutland Town

Landowners terminate agreements with wind developer

April 8, 2013

Rutland Herald Online

http://www.rutlandherald.com/article/20130408/NEWS01/704089991/1002

By Lucia Suarez STAFF WRITER | April 08,2013

PITTSFORD — Two more landowners have terminated their easement agreements with the developer of the proposed wind project along the Grandpa’s Knob ridgeline.

According to documents filed with the Pittsford town clerk in early March, Gardner Stone and his son Todd ended their relationship with Grandpa’s Knob Renewable Energy, the project proposed by developer Reunion Power.

The documents filed show that the Stones, who own 1,000 acres on the ridge, entered into an agreement with the project in August 2007, but last year the company failed to make evaluation period payments on the property as required under the agreement.

A condition under a section of the easement agreement allows the owner to terminate the agreement if a payment is not made within 30 days of notice of default. The documents state that the Stones sent the company a notice of default in late October before the termination was written up.

Steve Eisenberg, co-owner and project manager of Reunion Power, confirmed Friday that the Stones had terminated the agreement. He said it was unfortunate, but they are changing things and the project is still going on.

“It’s still in a hiatus, but we are still pursuing the project,” Eisenberg said. “I would not be pursuing it if I did not think it was viable.”

Stone, who owns G. Stone Motors in Middlebury, said Friday the condition in the agreement was his way out, but other factors also contributed to his family pulling their support.

“The main reason was they stopped paying the rent of the land,” Stone said. “But I was not aware of the devastation on the mountain they were going to have.”

When he signed the agreement with Noble Environmental, who used to own the project before Reunion Power purchased the rights and agreements in 2010, he thought the project was a win-win for the county, Stone said.

He said when the project changed hands he was not comfortable with the transactions, and when the scope of the project was expanded to include larger turbines, that seemed to be the final nail in the coffin.

“I was not enlightened about the devastation,” Stone said. “I thought it was the right thing for the community and the state. But then I started doing my own research … We weren’t enlightened with that. I am very pleased (with terminating the agreement).”

The Stones are not the only property owners to terminate their agreements with Reunion Power. Last year, Derek Saari, who also owns property in Pittsford, terminated his easement agreement.

Reunion Power is proposing an 18- to 20-turbine wind project on the Grandpa’s Knob ridgeline in the towns of West Rutland, Castleton, Hubbardton and Pittsford.

lucia.suarez

@rutlandherald.com

 

Two More Landowners Terminate Leases

March 26, 2013

Read the documents filed with the Town of Pittsford:

Landowners Terminate Leases

Giving people a say

March 4, 2013
February 28,2013
The Senate bill bringing wind generators under the purview of Act 250 reflects the concern of senators that the process now does not give sufficient weight to the views of local communities. It would also put into law the promise of policymakers, including Gov. Peter Shumlin, that wind projects would not be shoved down the throats of towns that don’t want them.

Wind opponents have lamented the fact that the law as it exists puts approval of power projects in the hands of the three-person Public Service Board, which has the authority to approve a project even if it is opposed locally. The Public Service Department, which is part of the administration, has the power to recommend that a project be rejected, but the decision rests with the PSB.

Alarmed at the proliferation of wind projects in the state, opponents had recommended that the Legislature impose a three-year moratorium on ridgeline wind development. Senators crafting the bill have abandoned the moratorium, instead expanding the reach of Act 250, which specifically requires local and regional plans to be considered when projects are reviewed and which also demands special protection for upland alpine terrain. Read more…

An affront to natural heritage

March 4, 2013

<http://rutlandherald.com/article/20130227/OPINION04/702279921/1039>

February 27,2013
Our residence on Lake Champlain in North Hero affords a spectacular panorama of Green Mountain peaks and ridgelines stretching from majestic Jay Peak in the north to Mount Abraham many miles to the south.

It’s an iconic Vermont landscape image, whereby with some blurring of reality, one could imagine that what the eye perceives as undeveloped wilderness might actually be real due to the relative absence of civilization’s markings. Almost.

Recently, four gleaming white pillars were erected on a nearby mountain, impossible to ignore from our vantage point, indelibly blemishing, albeit slightly, the wilderness perception.

The insults to Vermont’s rural and environmentally conscious culture and heritage represented by ridgeline wind development are numerous enough on their own merit that we should remove this option from the menu of alternative energy solutions that we all agree must be thoughtfully deployed.  Read more…

An Ill Wind is Blowing

March 4, 2013

<http://vtdigger.org/2013/02/27/pilette-grafton-and-wind/>

by Opinion | February 27, 2013

Editor’s note: This op-ed is by Ron Pilette of Grafton  
Wind projects divide the communities in which they are built as well as the environmentalists in those communities. Grafton and Windham are not escaping this scourge. Letters to the Grafton News supporting the project do so for the most part by denigrating those who oppose the project. A recent letter from a non-Grafton resident to the Reformer notes apprehensively the unfortunate behavior by the chairman of the Grafton Selectboard towards an opponent of the project. There are three groups of issues: economic, environmental, and moral, which come together in a fourth – community.

ECONOMIC. There will be a few dozen jobs involved in constructing the demonstration and final projects. Several of these will no doubt go to Grafton residents. They will last about a year or so. A handful of jobs will remain for ongoing maintenance, etc. The average property owner will save a few hundred dollars or less on their taxes, not the $1,000 or so that some believe. The two-thirds of our property tax related to education will not be affected by the wind facility’s existence, and most of the project property lies outside of Grafton. There will be a mitigation (or Good Neighbor) fund, which will be a payment to the town for several years. It will not go to individuals and will likely not go to reduce our taxes. Best use of this fund would probably be to either use the interest (a relatively small amount) yearly or let it increase to help us pay for the next devastating flood (see below under ENVIRONMENTAL). Finally, some property owners adjacent or very near to the project may agree to take money in return for “shutting up” about their complaints, a strategy that has been used in at least one New Hampshire wind project. Read more…

Too much power for PSB

March 4, 2013

<http://www.rutlandherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130221/OPINION02/702219838>

February 21,2013

On the front page of the Rutland Herald, Feb. 12, there is a picture of the three-person Public Service Board.

This board holds within its power the ability to destroy or protect all that we know and love of Vermont. With one nod, Lowell Mountain is destroyed. With another, Sheffield.

If the Grandpa’s Knob wind project comes before them, the decision will be made by two men, because one member is recusing himself.

Apparently Select Board decisions, town plans, environmental laws and public sentiment hold no weight in comparison with the absolute power this board wields.

What’s wrong with this picture?

BEV PETERSON
Brandon

Hypocrisy on climate change

March 4, 2013
February 19,2013

  • Peggy Sapphire deserves kudos and special thanks for her terrific piece in the Rutland Herald on the wind turbine hypocrisy of Bill McKibben and Bernie Sanders.

    I hope everyone in Montpelier reads her comments several times over and that she will continue to put forward her brilliant prose to keep the spotlight on such hypocrisy.

    As for McKibben and Sanders, they should probably read Dante’s Inferno to see what’s in store for them when they reach the eighth circle.

    PETER YANKOWSKI
    Rutland Town