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Vermont governor: Don’t ban windmills

February 10, 2013

By MIKE FAHER / Reformer Staff

Saturday February 9, 2013BRATTLEBORO — Gov. Peter Shumlin wants no part of a moratorium on wind turbines.

The second-term Democrat is well aware that commercial-scale wind power is a controversial topic in his native Windham County.

But he also has pushed hard for more renewable energy sources. And during a visit to Brattleboro on Tuesday, Shumlin said he does not agree with a proposed three-year moratorium on all wind-power development.

“Climate change is our single greatest challenge,” Shumlin said. “And I don’t think banning renewables is wise or prudent when we’re losing the battle on climate change.”

The moratorium, which is part of a Senate bill introduced last month, has won support from wind opponents.

That includes officials from the Town of Windham, who last year unsuccessfully fought the planned installation of wind-measurement towers that could lead to the county’s first wind farm.State Sen. Peter Galbraith, D-Townshend, backs the moratorium and said he expects it to be considered by the full Senate, though he predicts that the vote would be “very close.”

Galbraith also has introduced legislation that bans industrial wind turbines on state land and allows “affected” communities to vote on whether to allow a wind project to move forward.

“It gives the affected towns a say,” Galbraith said.

Shumlin has supported the idea of allowing communities that would host a wind farm to vote on the matter. But he also advocates

for an “inclusive, thoughtful, expedited process” for pursuing all forms of renewable energy — including wind power.”My own view is, we should harness all of the renewables in a thoughtful way in this state,” he said. “We’re leading on that. We’re growing jobs because of it.”

Shumlin added that “the biggest threat to our ridgelines is not a few windmills. It is climate change.”

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