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2 Vt. senators want halt to wind development

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 3, 2013 at 5:37 pm •  Published: January 3, 2013

The senators argued that the bulk of Vermont's greenhouse gas emissions come from vehicles and building furnaces. Vermont gets large amounts of power from Canadian hydroelectric dams, a New Hampshire nuclear plant and other low-carbon sources. With electricity accounting for just a fraction of Vermont's carbon footprint, a full build-out of potential wind power sites in the state would gain little, the senators said.

Meanwhile, extensive environmental damage is being done to the fragile mountaintop environments where wind towers are being built, they said. Hartwell said aerial photos taken by Benning showed huge swaths of trees were cut down along the Lowell Mountain ridge line, where Green Mountain Power recently built 21 turbines.

Trees absorb carbon, and "the forest is the single biggest carbon sink we have," Hartwell said.

The Vermont Natural Resources Council was among several groups defending wind power development in the state.

"VNRC believes that carefully sited renewable energy generation facilities — including wind turbines — coupled with aggressive energy conservation and efficiency strategies, are a responsible response to climate change, peak oil and the need for an independent, clean energy economy," it said in a statement.