(Host) The Supervisor of the Green Mountain National Forest says she’ll decide this summer whether to approve the first major wind development on National Forest land.
Officials are inviting public comment on several versions of the proposed 30-megawatt Deerfield Wind Project. The turbines would be built on National Forest land in Searsburg and Readsboro.
A 15-turbine version of the project has already been approved by the Vermont Public Service Board.
Forest service officials were in Readsboro last night to discuss their draft evaluation of the project’s environmental impact.
Readsboro select board member Craig Bartosewcz spoke in favor of the wind farm.
(Bartosewcz)" I feel that long term it’ll help our environment. It’s going to provide a little help to the poor town of Readsboro – a little tax money. Yes, we’re scarring a little bit of the mountainside, but somehow it’s got to weigh itself out."
(Host) But Readsboro builder Bill Birch, isn’t sure the benefit is worth seeing his ridge top hunting grounds give way to roads.
(Birch) "You know there’s going to be 30 megawatts of power they’re going to get out of these wind mills and that’s not a lot and it’s because the windmills only turn when the wind blows. So they’ve got to have power in the back ground a hydro plant, a coal plant to provide the power still."
(Host) The project has drawn criticism because it would destroy bear habitat.
Forest Supervisor Colleen Madrid says bats could also be a factor in her decision, if efforts are successful to list bats affected by White-nose syndrome as endangered species.