Newfound LakeRegion Association and Commercial Wind in the Newfound Watershed: Position and Three Step Preliminary Action Plan
Established in 1971, the Newfound Lake Region Association (NLRA) has been protecting NewfoundLake and its watershed, inspecting boats for invasive species, testing lake and stream water quality, combating stormwater pollution, conserving land, and assisting Towns with land-use planning for 41 years.
The recently proposed Wild Meadows wind project in Alexandria, Danbury, and Grafton and an application to install meteorological test towers in Groton remind ushow vulnerable the watershed is to development. While believing in the value of fossil-free energy, the NLRA Board is concerned about the scale of the proposed project and its potential impacts on environmental and scenic values around NewfoundLake. Before stating our position on the Wild Meadows project, the Board sought information and guidance from State regulatory agencies; legal counsel; representatives and legislators; planning experts; Town officials; State, regional and national conservation organizations; and NLRA members.
In keeping with the approach it has taken for nearly half a century, NLRA will coordinate with Towns and citizens to realize the region’s shared principles. The Board has identified a preliminary action plan consisting of three areas where it can best influence the outcomes of commercial wind proposals for the Newfound watershed.
First and most urgently, NLRA will reach out to our political representatives to advocate for a State-wide moratorium on commercial wind farm projects until the 2002 NH Energy Plan has been updated and the Site Evaluation Committee review and approval criteria revised. The Senate filing deadline is December 21, 2012. Please add your voices to this debate by contacting your local legislators and expressing your opinion (contact information and sample language are provided at the end of this letter).
Second, NLRA has attended presentations by and is in communication with the principals of NH Wind Watch, a Newfound region organization. Information about NH Wind Watch initiatives in response to the Wild Meadows project is available at http://newfoundlakewindwatch.com/. Additional commercial wind industry information can be found at American Wind Energy Association http://www.awea.org/.
Third, NLRA expects to maintain an ongoing role in hosting expert speakers for public forums so that balanced and accurate information is readily available to all interested parties. NLRA is currently working with the Lakes Region Planning Commission to present a public workshop early in 2013. In the meantime, the following links provide examples of policies balancing natural resources and commercial wind:
NLRA’s role, in keeping with its established mission, is to work constructively and knowledgably with all stakeholders to uphold the Newfound region’s shared principles of clean water, healthy forests, and rural character.
Board of Trustees, Newfound LakeRegion Association
December 17, 2012
SAMPLE LETTER TO LEGISLATORS / GOVERNOR
Subject: Request for Moratorium on Commercial Wind Power Development
Dear (Representative / Senator / Governor):
Because the 2002 New Hampshire Energy Plan has reached the end of its planning horizon, and because the Site Evaluation Committee criteria for siting commercial power projects do not include consideration of the New Hampshire Energy Plan or adverse impacts on the local economy, I feel it is in the best interests of the State of New Hampshire to establish a moratorium on all proposed commercial wind power projects.
The purpose of the moratorium would be to ensure that issues such as determination of need, local economic cost/benefit analysis, and short- and long-term environmental impacts are all properly addressed.
Thank you for your serious consideration of my request to establish a moratorium on commercial wind power projects until critical planning and evaluation processes are established.
Contacts for Grafton Co. legislators (including Alexandria, Bridgewater, Bristol, Danbury, Groton, Hebron and Grafton) can be found at this link:
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