I am proud to be a resident of the Town of Barre. For those who enjoy rural life, Barre is second to none.
Our town is considering the allowance of the construction of at least 33 industrial-size wind turbines at up to 680 feet each. Wanting to be an informed citizen, I have attended a number of meetings, both pro and con. I have come away with a strong opinion on the compatibility of such huge towers with our rural values.
I recently attended a Barre Town Board meeting, where I learned even more information from well informed citizens who have taken the time to research the issue in depth and shared it with all those in attendance.
I also listened to heated exchanges between some Town Board members and some residents in attendance, with accusations of board members lying to the public and underhanded practices. It was during those comments that I got the impression that the fire of intensity surrounding this issue was being fueled by some high-octane emotions.
After the meeting, I talked with several people who told me that this issue was pitting neighbors against neighbors, church members against church members and family members against family members. It has gotten to the point where people are uprooting and stealing each other’s lawn signs and dumping trash in place of the signs.
I know, firsthand, how destructive such divisive behavior can be. This isn’t the first time Barre has dealt with the issue of industrial turbines. A few years back, the town entertained a similar proposal.
Then, as with now, emotions ran so high that it damaged a number of relationships, including my own personal relationship with some of my friends and neighbors. This time around, I don’t want to see that happen to me or anyone else.
I can’t help but think that the political chasm that is dividing our nation today is contributing to an emotionally charged atmosphere of “us vs. them” divisiveness on the local front. So, to my fellow residents of Barre, we can’t let that happen here – not in our town.
Rev. Larry Eastlack