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U.S.-Bordering Que. Town Protests Wind Turbines

05/06/2012 05:13 EDT | Updated 07/06/2012 05:12 EDT
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A proposed wind turbine project across the U.S. border has some in the neighbouring Eastern Townships concerned about the impact it will have on their own homes and safety.

Residents in Stanstead, which shares the border with Derby Line, Vt., held a protest against the project Sunday, bolstered by the support of some of their American neighbours.

One of the two farms planning to house a turbine hugs the Canadian border, and that’s just too close for comfort for many.

“Basically, it’s too close to our houses on the Canadian side,” Stanstead mayor Phillipe Dutil said.

“I mean the ice could fall off, hit somebody, go through somebody’s house. You know, the devaluation of the house, the health effects and everything.”

Dutil has threatened to shut water off to the near by American town of Beebe if the project is not stopped.

A spokesman for company handling the project says he's disappointed the mayor has resorted to threats.

The proposal is still waiting for a certificate of approval from the state of Vermont.

In the meantime, the company says it hopes to convince people across the border of its benefits.

Jean-Francois Nadeau likely won’t be one of those they’ll convert to a supporter. He bought land in the area to build his dream home. Now he could be living in the shadow of one of the turbines.

“There's many impacts on us — on the value of the property and our personal health, too,” he said. “There's a risk of throwing ice, wind turbulence, noise.”

Several dozen people gathered at the Stanstead city hall Sunday, armed with signs opposing the project and megaphones.

The local MP has also heard from residents and is passing around a petition opposing the project.

“Many of their homes will actually be closer to one of the proposed turbines than some of the American homes. They've been shut out of the process for this,” said Vicky Lewis, a Derby Line resident who attended the demonstration.

Not everyone is opposed to the project, however.

Bethany Creasser lives about a kilometre from where the other wind turbine would be on the American side.

“I actually support the wind project,” she said. “I have done all my research and I feel the anti-wind opponents are spreading a bunch of misinformation.”

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