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Hoosac Wind still on hold

FLORIDA — An appeal being heard in Boston that has blocked construction of the proposed Hoosac Wind Project here was continued last week into the new year.

And while the project remains on hold, the Selectmen this week approved extending the building permit for the proposed project, and a Connecticut agency approved using the project to help meet that state's renewable energy target.

Hoosac Wind is a wind power development proposed by California-based company enXco. It would put eleven 340-foot-tall wind turbines on Bakke Mountain in Florida, and another nine on Crum Hill in neighboring Monroe.

The project is opposed by a group of Florida residents, with the help of environmental group Green Berkshires, who filed an appeal with the state Division of Administrative Law Appeals in Boston earlier this year.

The details pertains to the state Department of Environmental Protection's superseding order of conditions for wetlands issues at the project.

Eleanor Tillinghast of Green Berkshires said these issues are critical because the project involves building 4 1/2 miles of road and crossing several streams.

The hearings themselves have involved filling, as well as rebuttals, and testimony from experts on both sides.

"It is not something that would capture the interest or attention of most people, but it is a vital part of an environmental review," she said.

Administrative Magistrate Natalie Monroe, who is hearing the appeal, has not yet set a date for the next round of hearings.

Hoosac Wind Project Manager John... [truncated due to possible copyright]  
And while the project remains on hold, the Selectmen this week approved extending the building permit for the proposed project, and a Connecticut agency approved using the project to help meet that state's renewable energy target.

Hoosac Wind is a wind power development proposed by California-based company enXco. It would put eleven 340-foot-tall wind turbines on Bakke Mountain in Florida, and another nine on Crum Hill in neighboring Monroe.

The project is opposed by a group of Florida residents, with the help of environmental group Green Berkshires, who filed an appeal with the state Division of Administrative Law Appeals in Boston earlier this year.

The details pertains to the state Department of Environmental Protection's superseding order of conditions for wetlands issues at the project.

Eleanor Tillinghast of Green Berkshires said these issues are critical because the project involves building 4 1/2 miles of road and crossing several streams.

The hearings themselves have involved filling, as well as rebuttals, and testimony from experts on both sides.

"It is not something that would capture the interest or attention of most people, but it is a vital part of an environmental review," she said.

Administrative Magistrate Natalie Monroe, who is hearing the appeal, has not yet set a date for the next round of hearings.

Hoosac Wind Project Manager John Zimmerman said they hope for a decision soon, which would allow construction to begin next year.
"An awful lot depends on when the final decision is made," he said.

"The construction season here is weather-dependent, so we may be able to begin on some facets of construction very soon thereafter, and that's what we hope to do."

The first DALA appeal hearing was heard in August, and was continued to December.

The project was first permitted to go ahead by town officials in fall 2003. On Monday, the Florida Board of Selectmen extended Hoosac Wind's two-year special permit for the project another two years.

Last week, the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, which is administered by a ratepayer-supported, quasi-public agency, approved the Hoosac Wind project as one of three renewable energy projects that Connecticut utilities could purchase from to meet the state's renewable energy targets.

The energy fund collects proposals from developers, screens them, and forwards them to the two utilities — Connecticut Light and Power Company and United Illuminating Company — that will negotiate long-term power purchasing contracts from projects.

Hoosac Wind is just one of several proposed wind power projects working their way to fruition around the area. They include a proposed the seven-turbine Berkshire Wind project in Hancock, and an 11 turbine project at Brodie Mountain.

Most recently, in October, Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort announced it would construct a single 320-foot high wind turbine on its property. The power generated would be used on site for lighting, chair-lifts and snowmaking.

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DEC 24 2005
https://www.windaction.org/posts/817-hoosac-wind-still-on-hold
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