Protestors Block Crane Path at Lowell Wind Project (VIDEO)
Updated below — Six protesters arrested for blocking road.
After gathering at 5 a.m. this morning, a group of 20 or so "mountain occupiers" hiked to the ridge of Lowell Mountain to block construction of wind turbines. Their plan: Camp out in the crane path — a crucial thoroughfare for construction at Green Mountain Power's Kingdom Community Wind project — until "the situation is resolved," according to a press release put out by the demonstrators.
Protesters have formed a human blockade, where occupiers are singing, chanting and brandishing signs that read "Stop Destroying Vermont" and "Shumlin Lies." An additional 25 protestors have joined the barricade since early this morning, bringing their numbers to around 45.
The protesters made the march to the ridge line by way of Don and Shirley Nelson's adjoining property, and were on site to block construction vehicles at 7 a.m.. They're making their stand on the same piece of land where, in December, six protesters and one reporter were arrested for trespassing. The ownership of the land is currently in dispute between the Nelsons and GMP.
Craftsbury Commons resident Steve Wright, an outspoken opponent of the wind development, is stationed near the access point on Route 100. Wright told Seven Days by phone that the drumming and chanting from the ridge line can be heard in the valley east of the project. While Wright hiked the ridge line for 25 years, his "aging legs" didn't let him join the protest this morning.
"This is not about stopping the project," Wright says, acknowledging that construction will inevitably continue at the 21-turbine wind development. "This is about stopping other projects that are as ill- thought-out and land abusive — projects that really don’t do anything for climate change action."