February 2014 Newsletter

Greetings Friends of the Northfield Ridge!
It has been a while since a newsletter has been put out and a lot has happened that we feel you would be interested in hearing about.  The purpose of this newsletter is to let you know we are reinvigorating our organization in light of recent ridge top and other large and medium scale wind developments being discussed and proposed locally and throughout the State.

FNR supports truly sustainable renewables that respect the environment.  The organization opposes industrial wind in Vermont because the tiny reduction in Vermont’s carbon footprint that these facilities create is vastly outweighed by the massive and irrevocable damage done to her beautiful, ecologically sensitive, pristine ridgelines. Electricity generation accounts for less than one-half of one percent (0.5%) of VT’s carbon footprint. There are more effective actions Vermonters can take that will have a far greater impact on Vermont’s carbon emissions, without tragically damaging her mountains. Chief among these are conservation and efficiency in our consumption of transportation and heating fuels which together account for 82.5% of Vermont’s carbon footprint.

Sources of Carbon contributing to Vermont’s carbon footprint.
a. Electricity – 0.5%
b. Transportation and Heating emissions – 82.5%

With so many recent statewide developments we feel that it is important to stay abreast of the current state of our mountains. Therefore, we have reorganized our board and organization to go forward with a new President: Candice Shaffer; Vice President: Greg Schipa (Warren Rep.); Treasurer: Bob Shaffer; Secretary: Avril Howe; Bill Coyle & Harrison Snapp (Waitsfield Reps.); and John Gallagher (Moretown Rep.). Patty Manning is our Northfield Outreach Coordinator and Steve Lusk is the Roxbury Outreach Coordinator. Once a Fayston Board Member is recruited our network of Mad River Valley Ridge Line Representatives will be complete.

There has been word of renewed interest in Northfield and Moretown by a large wind corporation and Warren’s Planning Commission is discussing the option in the energy section of their revised town plan of including “medium scale” wind towers anywhere in the town. If you live in these towns you have an opportunity to join your neighbors in expressing your view and joining the effort to protect and steward your mountain ridgelines. Your town’s FNR representative is listed above or you can contact us at the email given.  

Our intention is to be prepared should our Valley mountains receive another round of development interest by initially:
1. Including Fayston and “valley ridges” in our mission statement to unify the towns behind the mission statement.
2. Growing our membership in order to:
a) Identify and support truly renewable and sustainable energy forms for the future.
b) Educate the public about the overall detriment of wind energy, the natural systems provided by our mountains and the need to protect them.
c) Spread awareness of opportunities to assist other communities in need of our support as they face industrial wind corporations trying to work their way into their communities.

There is urgently needed legislation (S.201 and S.292) being proposed in the VT Senate at the moment that governs the permitting process of all new “electric generation and transmission and natural gas facilities”. These bills can make the process more transparent and accessible to Vermonters while giving more weight to local and regional plans. This is a small first step to regain control of our ridges that requires our attention and active participation lobbying our representatives in the State House. If you would like to act you can refer to:
to read the bills and contact your Washington County legislators in support of them.
A case in point is the current proposal at the Seneca Mountain (Ferdinand) wind project. This project has been overwhelmingly turned down by the towns affected but the project is still being pursued by the developer despite both the Governor and the developer having assured the people that the project would be withdrawn if the towns voted against it.

**We welcome your participation in our efforts and need your involvement to grow our network of support for our mountains.  If you are interested and would like to be more closely involved by working on our newsletter, educational or outreach activities, please contact Candice at monalisa@madriver.com. We also welcome your recommendations for the Fayston board member position. Be part of the team – we are appreciative of anyone willing to share their interest and energy with FNR.

In closing – FNR urges anyone with the time and interest to join us and become actively involved with helping our organization with outreach and educational activities as well as lobbying at the State House. These acts, as well as talking to your neighbors and friends to grow our membership helps us and others, prevent industrial wind projects from destroying the mountains that we cherish and love throughout our beautiful State.

The Board of Friends of the Northfield Ridge

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