Wind project headed to a vote in the Kingdom - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Wind project headed to a vote in the Kingdom

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FERDINAND, Vt. -

Voting ends Thursday on a measure that could decide whether a major industrial wind project in the Northeast Kingdom moves forward.

The Seneca Mountain project calls for 20 turbines on ridge lines in the town of Ferdinand-- part of the UTG or Unified Towns and Gores. With few year-round residents, the UTG extended the vote to all property owners, including many who live out of state.

The company behind the 60-megawatt project has said they will not move forward without support from a majority of voters. Officials have also advertised $900 annual payments to UTG landowners, which some have called a blatant effort to buy votes.

"It's just devastating what the ecological value of the area when you do that. It sort of becomes the center or the focus whenever you look at.  You no longer are seeing this beautiful lake here," project opponent Pete Rodin said.

"I've been to hundreds of projects from Maine to California, and everybody that I've spoke to have always been positive about the project after it's up and going. Some of them were kind of iffy at first, but once it was up, it was positive," project landowner Dan Ouimette said.

Company officials say given the UTG's small budget, direct payments to landowners makes sense.

Although voting ends Thursday, results will not be tallied until mid-January.

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