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Windham Sets Language For Vote On Controversial Wind Project

Howard Weiss-Tisman
Windham residents enter the town offices prior to Monday night's Selectboard meeting. The board finalized the wording for vote set for Nov. 8.

The town of Windham will hold a vote on a controversial commercial wind project.

The Selectboard met Monday night to finalize the ballot language for the vote which will be held on Election Day.
Selectboard chairman Frank Seawright is opposed to the project but he says the town needs to make a decision about the development.

"The wind developer Iberdrola have said that they will abide by a vote held on Nov. 8," Seabright said. "They said that if 50 percent of the votes cast, plus one, opposes the project, they said they will abandon the project. They've said that repeatedly in a lot of different ways."

Windham held a special town meeting on Aug. 3 to ask residents if the town should vote on the wind project, and there was near unanimous support for a Nov. 8 ballot vote on the development.

The Spanish energy company Iberdrola Renewables wants to build Vermont's largest wind project in Windham and Grafton.

The company says it wants to build 20 turbines in Windham, and another eight in Grafton.

But before the company asks the state for a certificate of public good both towns were asked to hold a vote to see if there is support for the project.

At the selectboard meeting residents asked the board to make sure Iberdrola supported the ballot language.

There was discussion about the company's willingness to respect the outcome, but the company has repeatedly said it will not move ahead with the project if voters reject it.

Iberdrola doesn't need local support and the company can ask the state for a permit regardless of the outcome of local votes.

The deadline for getting a question on the November ballot is Aug. 18.

The Grafton Selectboard hasn't moved ahead yet with approving a ballot question, and it's not clear if Grafton residents will get a chance to vote on the project in November.

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