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Vermont lawmakers hear about solar power industry

The Vermont Statehouse debate over solar energy was devisive as lawmakers weigh further investment versus preservation of the state's natural beauty. Also up for debate was how the Public Service Board decides if a project is in the "public good." While some Vermonters hope for local control, others sounded off on keeping restrictions to more development at a minimum.

MONTPELIER, Vt. -The Vermont Statehouse debate over solar energy was devisive as lawmakers weigh further investment versus preservation of the state's natural beauty.

Also up for debate was how the Public Service Board decides if a project is in the "public good." While some Vermonters hope for local control, others sounded off on keeping restrictions to more development at a minimum.

Climate change is a moral issue to some, others deny its existence.

To deal with climate change, Vermont lawmakers have passed several laws to promote investment in solar energy. Tuesday, the joint Natural Resources and Energy Committee heard testimony from dozens of Vermonters about concerns that those new arrays may harm the landscape.

"This, in my opinion, puts one of Vermont's greatest resources-- it's natural beauty-- at risk," said John McGwire.

"What we have is an incredible assembly of healthy ecosystems," said Steve Wright of Craftsbury.

Others say the changing landscape is a consequence Vermont must accept.

"Personally, I think my project looks beautiful, juxtaposed against my historic barn, I think it's a beautiful project," said Jeff Forward.

"Climate change is real. It's a moral... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

MONTPELIER, Vt. - The Vermont Statehouse debate over solar energy was devisive as lawmakers weigh further investment versus preservation of the state's natural beauty.

Also up for debate was how the Public Service Board decides if a project is in the "public good." While some Vermonters hope for local control, others sounded off on keeping restrictions to more development at a minimum.

Climate change is a moral issue to some, others deny its existence.

To deal with climate change, Vermont lawmakers have passed several laws to promote investment in solar energy. Tuesday, the joint Natural Resources and Energy Committee heard testimony from dozens of Vermonters about concerns that those new arrays may harm the landscape.

"This, in my opinion, puts one of Vermont's greatest resources-- it's natural beauty-- at risk," said John McGwire.

"What we have is an incredible assembly of healthy ecosystems," said Steve Wright of Craftsbury.

Others say the changing landscape is a consequence Vermont must accept.

"Personally, I think my project looks beautiful, juxtaposed against my historic barn, I think it's a beautiful project," said Jeff Forward.

"Climate change is real. It's a moral issue, and it's the real public good," said Phil Pouch, who supports solar energy.

The joint legislative committee also asked for the Vermonters' thoughts on the Public Service Board's process of approval. Some advocated for local control opposing others asking to keep the process simple.

"There is no consideration given to individuals, municipalities or regions," said David Fucci of Vermonters for Responsible Solar.

"I think it's a mistake to put more restrictions on solar energy," said Pouch.

"The state should not take steps that would create additional barriers, that would slow down additional development," said Jenny Steven, a University of Vermont professor.

The state seeks a balance between preserving the earth and saving the state's natural beauty.

The joint Natural Resources and Energy Committee will now weigh the opinions it heard to decide if new legislation is needed to change the rate of development or deal with the Public Service Board's deciding on public good.


Source: http://www.wcax.com/story/2...

MAR 25 2015
https://www.windaction.org/posts/42418-vermont-lawmakers-hear-about-solar-power-industry
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