Testimony Supporting a Moratorium in New Hampshire

Offered in support of Senate Bill 99 (in its original form) on Wednesday, March 20th, in front of the Senate Energy Committee, were testimonies of various persons who will be affected most specifically by the proposed wind turbines and the Northern Pass power line project.

While Northern Pass has received a lot of press and a lot of support from the general public due to the length of time its been before the public and the amount of organizing against, the issue of wind turbines proposed for the western highlands of the state has not received much attention.

The full senate will be voting on SB 99 tomorrow (Thursday, March 28th), please call your senator and let them know we need to halt the industrial onslaught now!

We decided to place here for your perusal, some of the testimony from that day from people.  Those who will be directly affected or who have expert knowledge of how the trails and mountains will be affected by the proposed wind turbines testified that day.  The folks at NH Wind Watch were kind enough to send us these transcripts and also some video that was shot of the hearing, which show most of the testimony, starting with Jeannie Forrester, the bill’s sponsor.

Also in the video are small business owners who say that like the Northern Pass effect, their business has essentially stopped, in particular those engaged in the building trades.  Potential buyers lose interest once they hear of the possible wind development and current owners begin to contemplate selling before the market falls rather than expanding.  Not also the one woman who comes in against the moratorium bill from Franklin, a representative of a local bank that has not stopped frothing at the mouth since Northern Pass promised huge chunks of cash to the town of Franklin.

We also included some written testimonials below the video.

from Nancy Watson

My name is Nancy Watson. I live in Groton. I don’t have a lot of statistics for you today.  I think this is more about collateral damage.

As the septic was finishing up for our home, we found out about the Spruce Ridge wind farm, which will be located on the mountain top about a mile and a half in front of us, with 24 proposed 50 story industrial wind turbines. Groton Wind is about a mile and a half behind us, with another 24 similar turbines.

A few weeks ago, we learned the land on the mountaintop across from us, to the front right, went under lease for the Alpine Ridge Wind Farm.  That’s also about a mile and a half away. We don’t know how many turbines will be on that ridge, because the company won’t return our phone calls.  Many in Groton are worried.  Our town has desirable large tracks of land.  How many more wind farms are we going to squeeze into town???  How will the SEC keep up with so many applications?

I think I can safely make the assumption I will be surrounded by a triangle of approximately 75 – 50 story industrial wind turbines. I don’t think there are even that many buildings in Boston that tall! And we’re not the only ones.  We have neighbors too. This will be the case for most residents of Groton.

I used to worry about what all this would look. I’m beyond that now.  I worry about the harmonics when the turbines are all spinning and churning at once and the possible health effects of the low frequency waves produced by the pressure reduction. It makes some people sick.  How can any wind company possibly measure the implications of so many turbines, from so many angles, from so many varying heights?

Last month, I received an assessment of my property from a local realtor/broker (with almost 30 years of experience in my area). With just the prospects of one met tower, which will undoubtedly lead to a wind project, our property will be reduced to timberland value, a 25 to 50% reduction. And so will our neighbors’ property!

We were going to build a home.  Now we’re on hold.  So are at least two of our neighbors.  No dirt work, no carpenters, no plumbers, no electricians. No money passed to the tradesmen.  No money for their families to spend at the local stores.  And the cycle continues.

I’ve been sitting in on hearings and work sessions and some legislators are worried about the message a moratorium will send to business.  How about us – the citizens of  NH?  What message are you sending us? Many of us have put our future on hold, because we don’t know what’s going to happen to our economy and to our real estate value?  Why build a house, when it will be worth 50 % less before even moving in?

So in our case, my husband and I are living in our garage. Are we collateral damage?

We ask YOU to please support the moratorium until proper siting guidelines for wind facilities can be enacted to protect the residents and small businesses of NH.  Thank You!

From Craig Sanborn

Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee:

My name is Craig Sanborn. I live in Enfield. I am here in my capacity as the Appalachian Mountain Club Trailmaster for Cardigan, although I emphasize that what follows is my personal observations and estimates, neither authorized nor forbidden by the Club.

The map I gave you has the hiking trails highlighted in green, the existing wind turbines on Tenney Mtn. in red, and proposed or suitable turbine sites highlighted in yellow. Wild Meadow in Danbury, Spruce Ridge in Groton and Alexandria, and Jewell Hill in Groton are all in the early stages of research for applying to the SEC for operating permits, thus have very little money invested so far. The other yellow sites are at elevations or on prominent ridges where in theory there may be wind enough often enough to run the turbines. My source is a map in the “documents” section of the nhwindwatch.com website.

There is another reason why sb99 ought to pass besides the economics of subsidized wind turbines, flat demand for electricity, health risks, and the inadequacy of the SEC to fully evaluate applications or police existing permits without the proposed 2007 guidelines. That reason is the loss of tourist revenue to the state plus the livelihoods of workers and small businesses in the tourist trade. Others have described their losses from tourists and second-home buyers refusing to invest their time and money where they would have to see Northern Pass towers or giant wind turbines. The tourists are already voting with their money, and they vote “NAY” when they can.

The map I submit to you shows that several hiking trails now in use would be closed if the turbines capture the ridgelines. Here are the best estimates of hiker tourists I have been able to come up with:

– 8000 bed-nights a year at the AMC Cardigan Lodge, per its manager

– 15,000 day hikers ” ,60-car lot.

– 12,000 ” at the Mt Cardigan State Park on the other side of the mountain, where the lot holds 40 cars but I observe it is usually full by 10 AM on a sunny weekend day.

All those 35,000 people pay the gas tax and rooms and meals tax etc.

I have asked people on the summit what they think of the Tenney Mtn windfarm they can see. 3/4 or more say they don’t like it. I then point out the ridges where other turbines are proposed, and they tell me they don’t like them either. Therefore I anticipate that dozens of turbines within two miles (Spruce Ridge) and several dozen more within 5 miles will chill hikers’ willingness to hike this mountain.
The tourists pay to see natural-looking wild landscapes hereabouts. Our economy depends on their willingness to spend money here. The proposed wind farms bring profits for their owners and losses for thousands of local residents. We need time to establish a balanced approach to finding a proper place for new energy sources.

Please pass sb99. Thank you.

From Craig Williams

RP Williams & Sons Inc. is a family owned lumber and building supply business in Bristol, NH. We have been supplying quality building materials to homeowners and contractors in the Newfound Region for over 60 years. RP Williams has been directly and indirectly responsible for many hundreds of jobs in the Newfound area. Newfound Lake and the surrounding towns have always been a strong economic draw for our business.  After the past few years of national economic decline, we have been on the verge of a rebound in building and new construction. However, the threat of Wind Turbines on the ridges around Newfound Lake have had a detrimental effect on people considering building in this area. We have experienced actual cancellations in building plans directly related to Wind Turbine construction. This includes Groton Wind, (already operating), and builders and clients reacting to the possibility of further wind turbine projects recently proposed around Newfound Lake.

Construction of additional wind turbines will most certainly affect property values in this pristine region.

In closing, we feel the turbines will have further negative impact on our business as well as many others in the local area.

We ask your committee to support SB-99 granting a moratorium to allow a year for the state to undertake a comprehensive study of the SEC and their siting responsibilities.  It is time to seriously examine and take into consideration the economic impact wind turbine projects are already having on our local businesses and economy.

Craig Williams

Vice-President, RP Williams & Sons, Inc.

From Steve Bleiler

Good morning,,,,my name is Steve Bleiler.   I am a 38 year resident of Alexandria. When my wife and I graduated from college we could have settled down anywhere, but  chose the Newfound area believing it to be one of the most beautiful places we had ever seen.

We bought our Cardigan Mountain Orchard farm which needed extensive work in 1975.  While having a 33 year teaching career, my wife and I restored the house, built 8000 ft of farm buildings, and  cleared 25 acres of field.

We have been growing our current apple business to now have 1000 apple trees.  Our  three adult sons hope to take over this farm which is why we recently bought and restored an old country store in Bristol and we were planning on doubling the number of trees as well.  Recently, our farm was awarded the New Hampshire Farm of Distinction.

The future growth of our hilltop business has been put on hold pending the outcome of industrial wind development in the Newfound, Mt. Cardigan region.  That is why I am here speaking to you today. I am asking you to pass this moratorium on new wind farm projects.   My three sons and their families are in a state of limbo knowing the expansion of our farm and country store, which up to this point has been steadily growing year by year,  will be curtailed  and start to decline.  You might be thinking that is  just our overreaction, however you need to know that 75% of my customers are tourists visiting Newfound lake and hiking the 50 miles of trails of Cardigan State Park and the AMC lodge which is one of the most popular fall hikes in NH.  I found out about the first proposed wind power project  in September of 2012 and at that time began to ask my customers how they felt about turbines 454‘ tall surrounding Mt. Cardigan and the lake.  They said this would be terrible and asked why would they put them on the mountain tops of this pristine wilderness area???  One of these proposed projects will close down many of the state park trails.  I believe this will be a death blow to the AMC and Cardigan State Park and the many tourist related businesses of the Newfound Lake region.  It bothers me when they call industrial wind  “wind farms” for no farmer I know would ever treat their land as these corporations do blasting and leveling the mountain tops.

Our vision is to provide as a small agricultural business quality local foods to our neighbors and visiting tourists.  Like most farmers, it is not about getting rich, but rather taking pride in what we grow and see the customers enjoy and appreciate the “fruits of our labor”.  I know that each of you here desire small businesses such as ours to thrive.  I am concerned however that we are facing billion dollar companies pushing industrial wind who are  all about making a profit dressed up in “green energy” packaging. The long range consequences economically to our area needs to be evaluated.   May I ask you??  Where is the next industrial wind project going to assault another sensitive tourist economy based area?   Mt. Monadnock, Mt. Sunapee,  the Franconia Notch ridges? Lake Winnipesaukee, Squam Lake or our shoreline?  Criteria has to be established for the proper placement of renewable energy facilities by the State and not by power companies.

As I delve into the workings of these corporations, and the way the power grid works many red flags go up.  We need to intelligently look at the reality of all the consequences of the “green energy” movement.  Please pass this moratorium to give our state a “time-out” so we as a state can decide what is best for New Hampshire and its people and not the unbridled foreign companies whose object above all else is to make a profit.

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