Destruction? What destruction?
I’m thrilled! I’m on cloud nine because Paul Burns, the head of the environmental group VPIRG, stated to an audience of Middlebury College students on Oct. 9 that “there is no mountaintop destruction associated with wind turbines in Vermont,” when he was referring to the construction of large industrial wind power generating facilities on our mountains.
Apparently I have been the victim of a cruel hoax, having been shown many photos, purportedly of mile after mile of ridgetop destruction at Lowell Mountain. These photos show mountaintops removed and wetlands and stream headwaters filled in and obliterated. The photos show huge roads built high upon 150-foot-wide bases of blasted rock, rock that was blasted and bulldozed from areas where 30 to 40 foot high cliffs remain as testament to this destructive earth moving.
Like other curious and inquisitive environmentalists, when I heard a couple of years ago that Lowell Mountain might be in harm’s way from industrial wind development, I hiked up there to look around, and found myself extensively photographing the place.
Along that ridge I saw ground so beautifully blanketed with flowering trout lilies and low-bush blueberries that there was an urge to lie down in their plush comfort. I walked through enchanting groves of stunted yellow birches. And on this ridge were places in the spruces and firs where the ground was so covered with thick moss, these places so dark and quiet and mysterious that, if words were spoken at all by the human visitor, they were spoken in hushed tones, like when one enters a cathedral.
Paul Burns says this exquisite, quiet beauty is still there. But to be sure, I would like to receive permission (the land is now posted) from Green Mountain Power Company, which built and operates the site, to walk the three miles of this ridge that I photographed, accompanied by my photos. On this walk I will stop and stand at each spot where a photo was taken before construction and compare each photo with the scene that is there now. Hopefully some college students and reporters will accompany me — and Paul Burns, too.