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Supporters of Wind Project Hold Rally

By Pat Bradley

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wamc/local-wamc-992532.mp3

Lowell, VT – Green Mountain Power has begun construction of a 21 turbine wind power project on Lowell Mountain in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. The company has to blast in order to build a road to the site, and protesters have been camping on private property adjacent to the construction site - but within the safety zone. The 3-member Town of Lowell Selectboard organized a rally Thursday to counter the campers' efforts. Selectman Richard Pion says 80-percent of the town voted on the project and 75 percent approved it. He says the protests have already delayed the project and cost Green Mountain Power at least a million dollars.

Above and beyond the tax credit, Richard Pion says the project is bringing needed jobs and income to the area.

The protesting campers are staying on property owned by Don and Shirley Nelson which abuts the construction site. Don Nelson says the community is wrong to support the project for tax write-offs and money.

Vermont State Representative Mark Higley represents Lowell, Jay, Westfield, Troy and Montgomery. Higley says it was important to show that the area still strongly supports the project.

A court has ordered protesters to stay out of the blasting zone and told law enforcement to arrest violators. Representative Mark Higley was at the site earlier today.

The Town of Lowell will receive about 525-thousand dollars a year in taxes from the wind project and that will increase every five years. The current annual town budget is about 430-thousand dollars.