A Lowell couple has agreed to no longer publicly criticize Green Mountain Power's wind farm in the Northeast Kingdom as part of a settlement they reached this year with the utility over a property line dispute.
Retired farmers Don and Shirley Nelson actively opposed the utility's Lowell Mountain wind project. GMP sued the Nelsons for allowing protesters to use their property in an attempt to block construction of the 21-turbine project, which lies just up the hill from their 540-acre farm. The couple later countersued the utility over a disputed property line.
The landowners Monday released details of the settlement they reached with the company in April, in which they agree to no longer voice opposition the project. However, the settlement agreement allows the landowners to speak against other "wind power developments on Vermont ridgelines or elsewhere," the statement reads.
GMP purchased the Nelsons' farm for $1.3 million as part of the agreement. The agreement also allows the landowners to remain in their home for two years and retain a 35-acre property in Albany. The Nelsons are planning to move, the statement said.
"We are pleased to have settled all pending claims with the Nelsons. This wind project enjoys wide support in the community and we are glad we and the Nelsons can now move forward," Dorothy Schnure, a GMP spokesperson, said in an email Tuesday.
The Nelsons said in a statement that they hope their litigation with GMP will discourage developers from buying up ridgeline property and damaging mountaintops with wind turbines.
Scott McGee, an attorney representing the landowners, was not available for comment Tuesday.