Articles from New Hampshire
When Jim Howell, a 25-year veteran of United States Postal Service, was appointed postmaster here in February, he did not expect to become a windmill to be tilted at. Not until residents of towns around Newfound Lake, where a proposed wind farm has stirred great controversy, noticed that the stamps on their mail were cancelled with an image of wind turbines.
The Forest Society has raised and spent millions buying land in hopes of killing the Northern Pass project, claiming transmission lines would damage New Hampshire’s landscape. ...Naturally, one would think the Forest Society would be equally opposed to 400-foot-tall, night-lit wind turbines, yet it played a significant role in paving the way for Groton Wind to be built. ...The Forest Society’s latest money-raising campaign is called “Trees Not Towers,” yet it clearly doesn’t apply to 400-foot wind towers. It is a stunning display of dishonesty and hypocrisy.
Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, said it is "absolutely essential" to have a study, particularly of projects like Northern Pass and the wind farms proposed around the Newfound Lake area. "This can't happen fast enough because we don't have good siting criteria," he said.
New Hampshire's forests, lakes and scenic landscapes are central to our state's identity. ...But recent land purchases by Northern Pass project developers suggest that a potential route for transmission towers and lines may attempt to cross land protected by the Connecticut Headwaters easement. That would unnecessarily jeopardize some our state's most treasured land.
After Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge David Garfunkel ruled that the town's original PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes, agreement with Antrim Wind Energy for a proposed wind farm is null and void on May 20, town officials met with members of Antrim Wind Monday night to discuss terms for a revised PILOT, which was drafted by the wind developer.
According to counsel for the SEC, Mike Iacapino, the committee made its decision based on the fact that the towns of New Ipswich and Temple have ordinances in place that deal with the pertinent issues, and the committee wasn't inclined to assert jurisdiction under those circumstances, among other considerations.
The Spain-based wind-power company that drew public outcry with its proposed wind farm project for the ridgelines near Newfound Lake and Mount Cardigan has not filed for permits for the project with the state.
In a bid to have its wind farm proposal reheard by the state, Antrim Wind Energy LLC is offering to eliminate one of 10 turbines proposed for the Tuttle Hill and Willard Mountain ridge lines. Richard Block was unimpressed ..."The town of Antrim is small. The valleys here are small. The hills are small and they were proposing to put the largest wind turbines in the state here in Antrim."
Plans for a wind farm in New Ipswich and Temple are likely to be scrapped after the Department of Environmental Protection's Site Evaluation Committee unanimously refused to take jurisdiction of the case during a public hearing Monday afternoon.
New Ipswich and Temple officials are encouraging the public to attend a Public Utilities Commission hearing in Concord Monday on Timbertop Wind Energy's request to have the state take jurisdiction over a proposed wind farm in the two towns.
If residents were so unhappy with the Select Board's handling of a peripheral $40,000 payment from the developer, how can they be confident their input on a multi-million dollar PILOT will be taken seriously? And how plausible is it that the public hearings would end with a PILOT that differs substantially from the one that was recently voided? The concern for us, and for many others, is that any hearing would be a mere formality.
The issue of whether the state or local boards will have jurisdiction over a proposed wind farm on Kidder Mountain is slated come to a head on Monday , when the state will hold a public hearing on the issue in Concord.
A Hillsborough County Superior Court judge David Garfunkel ruled Monday that town officials violated the state's Right-To-Know law by holding illegal non-public hearings with Antrim Wind Energy and its counsel to negotiate a payment in lieu of taxes, known as a PILOT agreement. As a result of the ruling, the terms of the deal between the town and Antrim Wind Energy has been voided.
In his ruling he wrote: "The court grants the petitioners' request to void the PILOT Agreement ... the Board conducted numerous noticed and unnoticed, non-public meetings while negotiating the PILOT Agreement. These meetings contravened the fundamental purpose of the Right-to-Know law's goal of transparent and open government."
Antrim Town Administrator Galen Stearns said that the wind developer's attorney drafted the motion for rehearing, and it was sent back and forth several times between Geiger and the town for modifications. ...He added that having Geiger draft the appeal was an attempt to speed up the process. Geiger drafted the PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement that was also signed by the town.
The appeal and request for a rehearing were crafted by Antrim Wind's attorneys Orr & Reno, according to Select Board Chairman Gordon Webber. Antrim Wind requested the town appeal the decision in support of the LLC's pending appeal, which has to be submitted by June 1, Webber said.
The Antrim Select Board voted to appeal the state ruling that denied a 10-turbine wind project after deciding to accept a $40,000 offer from Antrim Wind in a contentious meeting Monday that led to one resident being escorted out by police and several others walking away in frustration.
The SEC denied Antrim Wind Energy's application based on negative visual impacts the wind farm - proposed for the ridgeline of Tuttle Hill and Willard Mountain in Antrim - would have had on the town and its surrounding communities.
Savage said the recent purchases by Northern Pass are contiguous to the anticipated route the company is trying to build, but do not address its fundamental problems of crossing the Connecticut River along Route 3 at the Canadian border, or clearing a narrow passage through conservation land in Stewartstown near the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters.
One point of agreement during a daylong forum on wind energy in Concord last week is that nobody's really happy with the way New Hampshire has been deciding on these projects since Lempster Wind, between Keene and Claremont, was approved more than five years ago.