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AMC will intervene in Wild Meadows wind project

ALEXANDRIA — The Appalachian Mountain Club publicly announced its opposition to the proposed Wild Meadows Wind Farm project planned for Danbury and Alexandria at a selectmen's meeting Tuesday night.

"We are completely opposed to Wild Meadows," said AMC Director of Research Kenneth Kimball. "There are some locations where wind farms should be, but this is not one of them."

The club, which owns a visitor facility at the base of Cardigan Mountain, announced it will intervene in opposition to the 75.9-megawatt, 23-turbine project proposed by Iberdrola Renewables and its local company, Atlantic Wind LLC.

The club's intervention will be part of the state Site Evaluation Committee's permitting process for the project, which began with the Iberdrola's application last month, state officials said.

The AMC frequently intervenes in wind power projects to assure public resources, such as mountains and lakes, are not adversely affected, said Kimball. It intervened in the SEC permitting process for the 99-megawatt, 33-turbine Granite Reliable Wind Farm that opened in 2011 in Millsfield and Dixville, attaining settlements from the company to account for some of the natural resources used near mountaintops and tree lines, he said.

The club did not intervene in nearby Groton Wind LLC's recent application process, which ended in approval for the company's 48-megawatt, 24-turbine wind farm in that town.

"The turbines in Groton are not visually dominant, as the Wild Meadows turbines would be," Kimball said. "All of the turbines in Wild Meadows are going to be visually dominant, without question."

The AMC is concerned about the visual effect on natural resources near and on Newfound Lake. Six or more of the Wild Meadows turbines will be along ridgelines less than five miles from the lake.But the club is more concerned with the effect on hikers enjoying the 5,655-acre Cardigan Mountain State Park and the mountain's 3,121-foot treeless granite summit.

"It's one of the most hiked mountains in the state, and every single one of those turbines is going to be visible from the summit," he said.

Among the AMC's objections is the visual impact of the lighted towers at night.

"The Cardigan Mountain area is a place where people can go to get away from man-made obstructions to the night sky, without any light pollution," Kimball said. "All of these towers with their red flashing lights are made to be dominant in the daytime and in the night sky."

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