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The future of wind power in the state has become a key issue in the race for Lt. Governor. Incumbent Republican Phil Scott supports a two year moratorium on all major wind developments in order to study the environmental impact of these projects.
The town of Newark has amended its town plan to make clear that it does not support industrial wind development. During a special town meeting on Monday, voters approved an advisory resolution 169-to-59.
The vote was 169 to 59 in favor of the resolution, the town plan was amended to identify specific ridgelines, highlands, and bodies of water as having particular scenic, wildlife, and recreational value. The plan asserts that large-scale industrial and commercial development is inappropriate in the town. The plan states that no commercial or industrial development should take place at elevations greater than 1700 feet. The plan states that no commercial or industrial structures should exceed 125 feet in height.
A special vote Monday night in the town of Newark delivered an unambiguous message to developers: Commercial-scale wind projects are unwelcome on those Northeast Kingdom ridgelines.
Saphire said she believes that there is a high probability that Smith will win, given that Orleans County with its low population had several questionable ballots that could change the results in a one-vote race. "It stands to reason this is not the only error," she said.
The Clarendon Select Board has joined town planners in requesting the Rutland Regional Planning Commission executive board pass a resolution calling for a three-year moratorium on wind development projects in Rutland County.
Annette Smith represents several environmental issues facing the State of Vermont including the effort by many to stop wind power development from destroying the mountaintops in the State.
The new results showed she had 370 votes, while her opponent Martha Abbott, the Progressive Party chair, received 371 ballots cast. ...Smith, an environmentalist and anti-wind advocate, is pursuing the recount because she wants an opportunity to debate Gov. Peter Shumlin who has been a proponent of industrial wind power.
"It sucks," said Hall, who has lived here for 30 years after moving away from Connecticut to escape "the hustle and bustle." He fought the project unsuccessfully for four years before the PSB and believes the developers are building the wind farm "for a few dollars in their own pocket."
Planning commissioners in each community were prompted to review their town plans in response to overwhelming concerns by residents and officials regarding the proposed Reunion Power wind project in the four towns.
The Vermont Public Service Board told GMP that its noise compensation plan was too restrictive -- forcing neighbors to go so far as to show they could get state permits for development of their land. That was too much for the board.
Seneca's plans have ignited fierce opposition among residents of Newark, where more than half of registered voters have signed a petition against the project. Gervais-Lamoureux said people in Brighton are "riled up" on both sides of the issue.
The letter comes as Windham officials prepare to fight Iberdrola Renewables' application to build two meteorological towers in the town and another in Grafton. The towers, depending on the data they produce, could be a precursor to Windham County's first commercial wind-power development.
Staskus said GMCW's main concern was safety. She regrets the company had to file suit and said GMCW never intended to sue for damages, even though the suit sought unspecified "compensatory damages." Asked if the TRO and lawsuit were just scare tactics, Staskus paused and then said, "It was to get them out of the safety zone. That was the purpose."
Englander and Scott Darling, the district wildlife biologist for ANR, both noted during the heated public hearing on Monday night that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service already had issued a migratory bird permit to First Wind; the permit being sought for the bat takings is now in draft stage and Secretary Deb Markowitz ultimately will decide the matter.
Noting that many in the crowd could tell "horror" stories about their experiences with permitting processes involving issues ranging from cellular towers to wind farms to smart meters, she said the success of the protest Saturday would be measured by the solutions participants came up with, not the problems.
In an order released late Friday afternoon, the Public Service Board says it has serious concerns about the blasting activity on the wind project site. The board noted that a state inspection this week found that the developer apparently did not control fly rock -- debris ejected during the explosions -- during its blasting operations.
Some neighboring landowners appealed, saying Seneca failed to notify them about the plans as required by law. A Public Service Board hearing officer has sided with the neighbors.
"We thought for sure we were on the Nelson's land. We had a string measure the distance. We had talked to a surveyor who's going to testify," Ryan Gillard said. Gillard says he's unsure how the state can try them for trespass when the civil court has not settled a lawsuit about who the land in question belongs to.
And protester Robert Holland said he thought the state was wrong to bring charges to begin with. ...He's referring to pending civil litigation between the property owners which has yet to decide where the boundary line lies between the land GMP leased, and the Nelson farm where protesters claim they were arrested.