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WRC has questions on wind project

BRATTLEBORO -- The Windham Regional Commission says it did not get enough information about a possible wind energy development at Glebe Mountain before it had to send recommendations to a state board.

In a report released Tuesday night, the commission stated a number of concerns about the information that was available to the public in advance of a hearing to approve the project.

"We note with some disappointment that the material received on Dec. 23, 2005, included far less information than was expected and than should have been provided," the report reads. "Its delivery almost literally on the eve of the holiday season made distribution and review of the material less effective and more difficult than might have otherwise been the case."

The proposal by Glebe Mountain Wind Energy, a partnership made up of Catamount Energy and Japan-based Marubeni Power International, envisions 19, 420-foot turbines generating 47.5 megawatts of electricity along the ridge between Londonderry and Windham.

The state Public Service Board will make a final decision about whether to approve the project, and the WRC's report is intended to advise the board about issues they should consider.

It was made after a 60-day public comment period, which ended early this month, but James Matteau, executive director of the commission, said Glebe Mountain Wind Energy did not give the public or the commission enough... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
In a report released Tuesday night, the commission stated a number of concerns about the information that was available to the public in advance of a hearing to approve the project.

"We note with some disappointment that the material received on Dec. 23, 2005, included far less information than was expected and than should have been provided," the report reads. "Its delivery almost literally on the eve of the holiday season made distribution and review of the material less effective and more difficult than might have otherwise been the case."

The proposal by Glebe Mountain Wind Energy, a partnership made up of Catamount Energy and Japan-based Marubeni Power International, envisions 19, 420-foot turbines generating 47.5 megawatts of electricity along the ridge between Londonderry and Windham.

The state Public Service Board will make a final decision about whether to approve the project, and the WRC's report is intended to advise the board about issues they should consider.

It was made after a 60-day public comment period, which ended early this month, but James Matteau, executive director of the commission, said Glebe Mountain Wind Energy did not give the public or the commission enough information.

The company did release a 12-page written report on the project and four pages of diagrams and pictures, but that did not sufficiently address several issues, Matteau said.

"What we're saying to the board is they've shown us less information that we would have liked," he said. "This lack of information is pretty severe, and it made the 21/2 months of review thoroughly unproductive."

The report identified 11 major issues that weren't fully explained, including impacts on Glebe Mountain's wildlife and watershed, the noise from turbines and the potential for erosion.

The commission hasn't taken a position for or against the project, Matteau said, and is not recommending that Glebe Mountain Wind Energy restart the approval process.

He said the commission has an opportunity to fully explain itself before the public service board, and noted that final applications tend to be more thorough than the preliminary information released for public comment.

"They have an opportunity to put an application on the table that addresses all shortcomings," Matteau said, "but they should expect that the towns and the regional commission are going to be very critical if the final proposal doesn't respond to our concerns."

In the report, the WRC also made a number of recommendations about the project. The developer should be required to demonstrate that they've held "sincere and effective negotiations with the host towns," it reads.

Many people from Windham and Londonderry have expressed serious concern about the effects of the project on their towns.

In addition, the report says Glebe Mountain Wind Energy should explore alternatives to building construction roads on the mountain, such as using helicopters.

It should also ensure that there will be measures in place to monitor wildlife impacts and protect the mountain's watershed, the report says.

Source: http://www.reformer.com/Sto...

FEB 22 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/1405-wrc-has-questions-on-wind-project
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