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October 19, 2011

Occupy Lowell Mountain Launches Blog From The Blasting Zone

IMG_4508Talk about your daily blasts: Protesters making a last-ditch effort to halt construction of Green Mountain Power's Kingdom Community Wind Project on Lowell Mountain have launched a daily blog, called "Mountain Talk,"  to spread the word about their ongoing "tent-in" and invite newcomers to join them.

As reported in my story this week, "Occupy Lowell Mountain? Despite Court Order, Opponents Camp Near GMP Blasting Zone," opponents of the 21-turbine, $163 million wind project in the Northeast Kingdom have set up a round-the-clock encampment on land owned by the project's most vocal critics, Don and Shirley Nelson. The protesters, who have permission from the Nelsons, are set up within GMP’s blasting zone and say they’re prepared to stay on the mountain all winter, if necessary, in order to prevent the project from moving forward.

Last week, GMP offered to buy the Nelsons' property at their initial asking price of $1.25 million — the land has been for sale for about a decade — but also threatened the couple with a $1 million lawsuit if the campers don't leave the blast zone and delay construction. The Nelsons said no, then upped their asking price to $2.25 million.

Says Don Nelson, 69, "If they’re gonna sue me for $1 million, I’m gonna add a million to the price tag. It's high-stakes poker, and I don’t intend to sell out to the enemy if I can help it."

Environmentalist or extortionist?

I'm still confused how the court can order law abiding people legally staying on private property to vacate the area. If it was a fricking black bear or a loon the whole god damned project would come to a screeching halt in a heart beat. Maybe the "Occupy Lowell" people need to haul a bald eagle nest up there...

Easy: NIMBYist extorsionists.

Does anyone know if the Nelsons are from Vermont vs. being transplanted flatlanders?

4th and 6th generation native Vermonters, both with native American backgrounds. The Nelson's farm has additional value to GMP, which needs a habitat fragmentation mitigation easement by the end of the year, and will likely cost at least $1 million to purchase. Basically GMP gets that for free if the Nelsons accepted their first offer.

Question for Murphy: Are property rights different for those who have owned land for one generation versus those who've owned it for six? I didn't see anything in my deed when I bought my house eight years ago after moving here from western Montana.

For heaven's sake, Tim and Murphy. Not everything is a conspiracy. Put away your tinfoil hats. (and Ken, face it--you are and always will be a Flatlander and therefore your opinion matters less. Um, never mind that Montana's mountains are bigger than ours.)

All that said, I'm still not understanding all the opposition to this project. If you people want to get off Yankee and foreign oil, how else are we supposed to get there? Wind is remarkably sustainable. Energy will never come for free and conservation will only take us so far.

@ Annette:

"Basically GMP gets that for free if the Nelsons accepted their first offer."

Oh, you mean, the exact amount of money the Nelsons have been asking for all along -- $1.25 million?

If they don't want to sell their property to GMP for the price they've been asking all along, that's their prerogative. And they can live with the consequences.

@ Ken:

Property rights aren't different, but perceptions and attitudes are. Flatlanders come up here and buy huge swaths of Vermont and then complain bitterly -- in the hypocritical name of supposed "Vermont values" -- when the people who were already here want to do anything. Yes, perceptions and attitudes do matter.

From Western Montana eight years ago; Facebook page New York beginnings. Perhaps eight years in Vermont with the gift of wisdom Montana-given has not yet taught the difference between Chittenden County and the Northeast Kingdom? Or the strength of real Vermonters and those who respect them . . .

Arnicawoods, I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. Yes, I was born and raised in NY, college educated in Illinois and Texas. In all, I've lived in eight different states in my life and drawn from the wisdom of the people in each one. And I certianly recognize that there's a big difference between Chittenden County and the NE Kingdom. My point to Murphy was simply that we should judge people's positions on issues based on the validity of their arguments, not on their geographical pedigree. To me, such an attitude reeks of Sarah Palin's "real Americans," i.e., anyone who doesn't agree with her.

I took issue with the western Montana mention (Montana is of positive import to Vermonters) and lack of what seemed full disclosure. Thank you for clarifying. Your Sarah Palin reference is hardly one worth the arguing, but a sense of place cannot be disputed. How simple it is for those of us who have lived in various places to substitute "geographical pedigree" for the deep sense of place experienced by those who were given the Kingdom by their ancestors and who have chosen to stay.

Lots of "native" Kingdomites want these wind turbines. The town of Lowell voted overwhelmingly to have them there. Newbies should not be telling the people of Lowell that they are not smart enough to have made this decision.

Easy there Murphy. The town of Lowell voted overwhelmingly to accept nearly 500K / year from GMP to have to stare at that those monstrosities. Not because they like or want them.

Next you will be telling us that most Kindomites are Democrats too.

And yes, the Nelsons are native Vermonters.

Jcarter, whether you or I or annette "clean" smith like the turbines or not, or think that the poor fools in Lowell were bought, doesn't matter. They voted and approved. The project went through the PSB process and was approved. Vermont's regulatory process is the most inclusive on the planet. Anybody -- whackjob or not -- can participate in the process and tell the PSB what they think. Annette and the Nelsons and all the protest campers named "moonflower" can argue that they don't like the final decision, but they should accept the democratic process.

Finn, Vermont's regulatory process is not consistent. If you want to build a golf course where someone happened to see a black bear forget it. If you want to put wind towers and a chain link fence up in one of the largest black bear crossings in the state well have at it.

Moreover, the democratic process you speak of is based in part on stipulations with in the permit. Something GMP hasn't been too concerned with so far.

Not to mention apparently they aren't even on their own leased property.

The Nelsons can support or oppose the wind towers. That's irrelavent to being able to protect your property and property rights.

Interesting article in The Chronicle the other day about another wind project and paying people off.

People who support projects like this have strayed too far from thier connection with this Earth. If people were more in touch with the Earth and thier natural surroundings the idea of blasting a mountain top for "greener power" would never have been thought of. This is about money and greed and smooth talking.When we can live our lives in harmony with Earth and all its existence all will be well, but until then there will be suffering. People must listen to thier natural intuition, instinct, that is telling them to protect this planet, to protect themselves, thier communities, ultimately to survive.

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