As the consequences of climate change grow clearer, we support energy conservation and responsible renewable energy development that reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions while also preserving core areas that help nature adapt to climate stresses. There is considerable room for wind energy across northern New England, but some places are simply too wild for turbines, roads, and transmission lines.
In Vermont, public lands harbor some of the last remaining pockets of wild forest. Vermont’s national forests also attract many people for recreation — hunters, anglers, snowmobilers and hikers.
The Deerfield Wind project raises significant issues, because it:
- Violates a court injunction that limits activity in Lamb Brook, a roadless area that was formerly proposed for designation as protected wilderness
- Has not provided adequate hydrological analysis to reduce the threat of flooding and erosion from intense storms if these roadless lands were opened for development
- Impacts black bears, bobcats, bats and their habitat. Bat impacts could be particularly critical in light of the devastation to local bat populations caused by white nose syndrome, which has led Vermont to list several cave-dwelling bats as endangered.
The Forest Service has issued a special use permit for this project and a court case is currently pending that challenges this permit.
At The Wilderness Society, we support renewable energy and work to guide projects to the right places and away from sensitive lands. In order to establish a sustainable clean energy future, we need to make sure the impacts of renewable energy projects on wilderness and wildlife are minimized.
Seneca Mountain Wind
Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom boasts an extensive network of conserved state and federal lands, including 132,000 acres of former industrial timberland that was conserved through a federal, state and private partnership known as the Champion Lands project. A large proposed wind farm would border the lands conserved through this historic effort.
500+ foot tall turbines along this intact mountain range would threaten the special character of this rural corner of Vermont, a National Geographic geotourism destination. The land also supports wildlife such as black bears, American marten and Bicknell’s thrush, and its clear mountain streams feed the Nulhegan River, which also drains the Nulhegan Basin Division of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge.
Vermont is just beginning to plan for the cumulative impacts of renewable energy development, and it is imperative to locate energy infrastructure in the least damaging locations.