Protesters say wind power will harm Vermont - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Protesters say wind power will harm Vermont

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -

From Randy Brock to Batman, protesters from all 14 counties came to Montpelier waging war on large-scale wind.

"I hope that the governor wakes up and directs the Public Service Board and the Legislature to have a moratorium on wind development," said Lisa Wright Garcia of West Rutland.

A wind moratorium is something Randy Brock worked on, but couldn't win support for, this past legislative session.

"The question in my mind with the dangers and also the economics that don't make a lot of sense whether that's the right thing for Vermont," said Brock, Republican for Vt. governor.

It's in the building across the street where one must go to get a certificate of public good. The protesters played off that, issuing the governor a certificate of public harm.

Both sides of this issue argue about the environmental and economic impacts these turbine projects have. The administration will say it's cost effective and sustainable; protesters argue we don't know the full extent of the damage these projects will cause, and many just don't like the look of them.

"These impacts are here-- they're right now and we need to stop the building today and wait to figure out what we can do about these impacts," said Luke Snelling of Energize Vermont.

But Public Service Commissioner Liz Miller says there's no reason they can't evaluate improvements now without a moratorium. Despite protestors' arguments that 14 projects of this nature are under way, she says not one is pending Public Service Board approval; they're still in the planning stages.

"Our process is working. Now it's just a question of whether there are things that can be done to increase what is already, I think, a high level of public acceptance," Miller said.

She adds not only is large-scale wind the cheapest renewable option, but it's contributing as much as in-state hydro to the electric grid.

"Sheffield has contributed to the grid the amount of power equivalent to the Burlington residential load," Miller said.

Still, after hours outside his office the group hand-delivered their message to the governor's staff, refusing to back down until they know no more turbines will be put up.

Commissioner Miller spent the day touring the Sheffield wind project and was not available to speak in person. She says the best option for renewable energy is a mix of projects ranging in size.

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