Article

NVDA Board Pulls Wind Energy From Draft Plan For Now

Committee To Research New Energy Plan

NEWPORT CITY VERMONT Northeast Kingdom planners on Thursday reacted to critics and put a draft energy plan endorsing wind power on hold until more research is done.

The Northeastern Vermont Development Association board, in its role as the NEK regional commission, did vote to approve the rest of the draft regional plan without debate.

NVDA President Mark Joyce of Guildhall acknowledged that the debate over the regional plan was all about wind energy. NEK residents at two hearings, in Lyndon and Newport City, were emotionally involved, mostly opposed to wind towers, Joyce said.

"We didn't have a hearing on the regional plan. We held a public hearing on wind towers," Joyce said.

The draft plan contained language endorsing wind energy in general, but leaving the decision to support or ban commercial wind towers up to each of the 55 towns in the NEK.

Also, Joyce noted that critics said information in the draft plan was out-of-date, and did not recognize the scope of the proposals emerging for wind projects in the region.

The problem, Joyce said, is the state law requires that NVDA have a new five-year plan on the books by the new year.

"How do we buy time to give this issue a fresh new look?" Joyce asked. "We have to do something that makes sense for the Northeast Kingdom as a whole genuinely."

He recommended that the board remove the entire energy section of the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The Northeastern Vermont Development Association board, in its role as the NEK regional commission, did vote to approve the rest of the draft regional plan without debate.

NVDA President Mark Joyce of Guildhall acknowledged that the debate over the regional plan was all about wind energy. NEK residents at two hearings, in Lyndon and Newport City, were emotionally involved, mostly opposed to wind towers, Joyce said.

"We didn't have a hearing on the regional plan. We held a public hearing on wind towers," Joyce said.

The draft plan contained language endorsing wind energy in general, but leaving the decision to support or ban commercial wind towers up to each of the 55 towns in the NEK.

Also, Joyce noted that critics said information in the draft plan was out-of-date, and did not recognize the scope of the proposals emerging for wind projects in the region.

The problem, Joyce said, is the state law requires that NVDA have a new five-year plan on the books by the new year.

"How do we buy time to give this issue a fresh new look?" Joyce asked. "We have to do something that makes sense for the Northeast Kingdom as a whole genuinely."

He recommended that the board remove the entire energy section of the draft plan for review while approving the rest, and then form a committee to research and rewrite the energy section.

Winston Dowland, a Holland selectman, made a motion to approve the plan as it is. Dowland, a state representative, said the wind argument has gone on long enough.

However, no one seconded his motion.

Bill Davies of Barton, seconded by Bob Starr of Troy, made the motion to remove the energy section and have a preliminary draft of that section ready for review in April.

The motion passed by voice vote without opposition from Dowland.

Residents want NVDA to accept big wind or reject it, not be neutral, said one board member.

Starr, a state senator, disagreed with that interpretation of Thursday's decision.

"By pulling that (section) from the regional plan, that makes a pretty blunt statement that there's not enough evidence to support it," Starr said.

Sen. Jane Kitchel, D-Caledonia, lamented the lack of state guidance on wind energy. "It's hard to do a regional plan when we don't have a state plan" for wind energy, she said.

Starr said he hopes the Legislature will have directed the state's consumer advocate, the Public Service Department, to do an in-depth study of big wind projects by the time the NVDA board considers a new draft of the energy section in June 2006.

Lyndon Administrative Assistant Art Sanborn warned that proponents and opponents of big wind projects want the regional commission to make what he called a "judicial" decision for or against wind power.

"I don't think that's a planning commission function," Sanborn said. NVDA should create a road map to help towns plan better, he said.

The NVDA board members supported Joyce's appointment of former Orleans-Essex Sen. James Greenwood as chairman of the energy committee. Greenwood had worked for the former Citizens energy company.


Source: http://www.caledonianrecord...

DEC 9 2005
https://www.windaction.org/posts/651-nvda-board-pulls-wind-energy-from-draft-plan-for-now
back to top