Wind Energy Jeopardizes Landscape Conservation in Vermont

Northeast Kingdom, Vermont

Image Courtesy of Hancock Timber Resource Group


Steve E. Wright, the former commissioner of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, recently published an Op-Ed in the New York Times, weighing the value of wind energy against other natural resources. In his essay, The Not-So-Green Mountains, Wright, describes Green Mountain Energy's latest plan to construct wind turbines across 3 miles of ridgeline.

While these projects meet many of the environmental goals touted by alternative energy advocates, wind-energy development can compromise important ecosystem services and disrupt landscape-scale processes. The Green Mountain Energy's latest project cuts through the heart of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, a region long prized for its' traditional landscape and natural resources. In this region, the project will cause soil erosion, increase water pollution, compromise scenic views, and disrupt the migratory paths of wildlife, like moose and bobcats.

Landscape conservation initiatives in the Northeast Megaregion are working to understand the potential impact of wind turbines, and are collaborating with energy companies to develop best practices. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has created partnerships between government officials, conservation organizations, scientists, corporations, and tribes called Joint Ventures (JV). JVs, like the ones established for the Appalachian Mountains and Atlantic Coast regions, are conducting research to assess the impact that wind turbines have on the migratory paths of birds.

Read Steve E. Wright's Op-Ed here: Not-So-Green Mountains

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