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Construction on the Kingdom Community Wind Project is temporarily on hold after the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources issued a stop-work order. Green Mountain Power, the utility that is building the project, violated part of its Clean Water Act permit when it failed to comply with part of its sediment control plan.
On the other side of that tape there is no quarter for Mother Nature. She's in the way, and so being reformed to suit the needs of the trucks that will climb the mountain with the bits of the machines that will be put together to, in their turn, put together the 21 turbines.
In the letter to GMP, the Nelsons politely advised that "our guests will be camping, recreating and hunting in that area for the foreseeable future. We trust you will be respectful of their presence and particularly their safety."
Some opponents of a wind power project planned for the ridge line of northern Vermont's Lowell Mountain began camping out on nearby property Wednesday, hoping their presence will halt blasting for the project.
If the criteria were objective or the environmental protection standards were consistent, then either the towers would have to go or the cross could clearly stay ...Instead Vermont has created a regulatory climate in which the aesthetic impact of a project is decided by political favor.
As road permits are gathered and court fights continue over construction of the BRSA's $7.7 million wind turbine, parts of the wind turbine are arriving in Newark.
The activists travelled by bus to Montpelier from towns in close proximity to the ridgeline in the Northeast Kingdom and then they continued their rally at a second location - the electric utility's headquarters in Colchester. At each stop they expressed their outrage that the state had granted Green Mountain Power all of the permits it needs to fast-track construction on Lowell this fall.
Dr. Ron Holland of Irasburg called the wind project "a total corporate scam" that will benefit foreign corporations that put up the money for it. "We pay higher rates and they destroy our mountains," he said. "There is no benefit for Vermont."
GMP has operated for months on the hope of putting shovels in the ground on Aug. 1 to begin construction of its proposed 21-turbine wind project worth $150 million. That's because GMP wants to have those turbines spinning in time to qualify for federal production tax credits worth millions but which expire at the end of 2012.
Green Mountain Power will not get the environmental permits it needs to start work August 1st on its Lowell Mountain wind project. That's the word from state officials. They say their permit review cannot be rushed by G-M-P's construction deadline.
Renewable energy sources in Vermont are too expensive compared to others that are available, he said during an informational meeting about the mail-in vote on the proposed upgrade of a VEC power line from Lowell to Jay. He said the utilities shouldn't just follow such policies, that there is no real penalty if they can't meet the goals set by the Legislature.
The company will be allowed to start construction next month on Lowell without first having conservation easements in place to protect wildlife habitat. The Public Service Board originally said the conservation easements had to be secured prior to August 1st.
The PSB's ruling considered the value of nearby properties in the context of overall economic benefit to the state. In this case, the board reasoned that even if all properties within three miles of the project lost 10 percent of their value, taxes and other payments from Green Mountain Power to local communities would still provide millions of dollars of net economic benefit.
Shumlin's stock response to concerns about ridgeline wind development is that people in his area have sacrificed for years because of Vermont Yankee and now it is time for others to sacrifice. ...Vermonters deserve better than pronouncements at press conferences about pushing the sacrifice around. We need planning and a thoughtful discussion of solutions.
The controversy continues over wind turbines in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. Tuesday dozens of people turned out in Irasburg to speak out against a series of towers slated for Lowell that will be visible in nearby communities.
Wind energy continues to divide Northeast Kingdom residents. While Brouha has told First Wind he may go to court to protect his peace and property values, others continue to applaud the development, which has provided at least 60 temporary jobs in the area.
Last month, Green Mountain Power won approval to construct 21 turbines along the Lowell Mountain ridgeline. But the Public Service Board said the utility had to obtain conservation easements for wildlife corridors before construction begins.
"They expected to be able to build the whole thing and not until they were ready to throw the switch" would the company resolve the wildlife issues, Smith said. "You can't put back the hydrology of a mountain," she added.
GMP's legal brief noted that the Vermont Supreme Court has advised that the Public Service Board's power to modify its judgments "should be used with great caution," but they argue that they could not have anticipated that the board would have required them to meet these conditions before construction begins.
The sights and sounds of construction fill the air at the site of the new Sheffield wind development and homeowner Paul Brouha is not happy. "It's going to look like the War of the Worlds," he told Channel 3. Sixteen wind turbines will start going up at the site in three weeks.