Swanton Wind faces further allegations

St. Albans Messenger, March 22, 2017
By TOM BENTON

Messenger Staff Writer

SWANTON — A Swanton sugaring business is suing Swanton Wind, alleging trespassing and illegal road construction as well as a host of complaints related to the project itself, despite the fact the project is still undergoing a Public Service Board review.

Mark and Marianne Dubie own M& M VT Maple, LLC, the company suing Swanton Wind, LLC and its manager, Travis Belisle. The Dubies’ attorney, Hans Huessy, filed the lawsuit with the Franklin County Superior Court, Civil Division, on March 3.

M& M owns land adjacent to Swanton Wind’s proposed construction site. According to the complaint, one of the project’s proposed turbines will stand within 50 feet of M& M’s property. Continue reading

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PSB delays permit process, again

St. Albans Messenger, March 11, 2017

SWANTON WIND
By TOM BENTON
Messenger Staff Writer

SWANTON — A Public Service Board decision has forced Swanton Wind to redesign its potential power purchase agreements — but that doesn’t mean the project is going anywhere.

That decision is Public Service Board (PSB) Rule 4.100, which orders that power purchase agreements (PPAs) encompass seven-year periods. Prior to Rule 4.100, PPAs were 30-year contracts. Rule 4.100 contained several other significant amendments to the power-purchase process, significant enough to rewrite the structure of the system, and to force a number of pending energy projects to reconsider their PPAs — including Swanton Wind.

Northwest Regional Planning Commission (NRPC) attorney David Rugh said at a Feb. 22 meeting of the commission’s project review committee the changes were so significant they could force Swanton Wind’s developers “back to the drawing board” to determine if the project was even viable anymore. Continue reading

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Swanton Wind questions National Guard motives

St. Albans Messenger, March 2, 2017
Vermont Guard mischaracterizes FAA findings

By TOM BENTON
Messenger Staff Writer

SWANTON — The Vermont National Guard has defended its opposition to Swanton Wind despite the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s determination that the project would not be hazardous to air traffic and a similar conclusion by the New York and Vermont Air National Guards.

The Vermont National Guard is not the same as the Air National Guard, which has a separate administration.

The Vermont National Guard (VTNG) filed a motion to intervene in the Public Service Board (PSB)’s regulatory process concerning Swanton Wind on Feb. 23. Its motion listed three reasons for intervention, and opposition, including that “the FAA has released its aeronautical study and concluded that the structure as described exceeds obstruction standards and/or would have an adverse physical or electromagnetic interference effect upon navigable airspace or air navigation facilities.” Continue reading

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National Guard wants to intervene

Saint Albans Messenger; February 28, 2017

SWANTON WIND
Filing contradicts FAA findings

By TOM BENTON Messenger Staff Writer

SWANTON — The Vermont Army National Guard has filed to intervene before the Public Service Board in opposition of Swanton Wind.

The Vermont National Guard (VTNG)’s state judge advocate, Gonzalo Pinacho, filed the motion to intervene Feb. 23.

In the Public Service Board (PSB)’s regulatory process, formal participants beyond the petitioner — in this case, Swanton Wind, LLC — are known as “intervenors.” If a party’s motion to intervene is approved, that party may formally participate in the PSB process.

The VTNG’s motion outlines three core concerns motivating its opposition to Swanton Wind — basically, that the project “will significantly and negatively impact the operations of [the VTNG] rotary wing flights in the Northern Champlain Valley.” Continue reading

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Opposition mounts, can PSB really ignore it?

St. Albans Messenger Editorial, Feb. 24, 2017

The Northwest Regional Planning Commission this week said it would oppose the proposed Swanton Wind project, made up of seven 499-foot wind turbines, to be located on Rocky Ridge.

The NRPC was tasked the responsibility of figuring out how and where renewable energy projects could be suitability sited in Franklin County. It was a process that, as a consequence, included judgment as to whether the controversial Swanton Wind project would fit the group’s criterion.

It did not.

According to the regional planning group, it failed to meet the regional plan’s standards for its impact on natural resources, aesthetics and “orderly development of the region.” Continue reading

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NRPC to oppose Swanton Wind

St. Albans Messenger, Feb. 23, 2017.

Motion cites natural resource, aesthetic concerns

By TOM BENTON
Messenger Staff Writer

ST. ALBANS — The Northwest Regional Planning Commission (NRPC) board of commissioners unanimously approved a motion Wednesday night to oppose Swanton Wind during the Public Service Board’s regulatory process.

The motion ratified a recommendation from the NRPC Policy and Project Review Committee submitted yesterday. The recommendation said the committee “found that the project does not conform with a number of the provisions in the regional plan at minimum with respect to impacts to natural resources, aesthetics and

 

Bakersfield resident Bill Irwin, left, chairs the NRPC Policy/Project Review Committee, which decided last night to oppose Swanton Wind. Above, Swanton Wind representatives present project studies during project representatives’ last appearance before the committee, in Oct. 2016.

TOM BENTON, St. Albans Messenger


orderly development of the region.” Continue reading

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As hearing on Swanton Wind showed, it’s no laughing matter

St. Albans Messenger, Feb. 20 2017

Letter to the Editor

On Thursday, Feb. 9th I went to the Swanton Municipal Building for the Swanton Wind Workshop. I sat for 4 hours listening to the public ask questions about their proposed industrial wind project and what I witnessed was very disturbing and frustrating.

The workshop (in my opinion) was an unprepared workshop with many avoided and unanswered questions. Throughout the evening we heard several times from the Swanton Wind lawyer and specialists that ‘we can’t answer that question because we don’t have the specifics yet’, referred the public to go online to their website and/or application to get their questions answered.

They had nothing set in stone of which turbine sizes would be installed or how many MW it would be producing for the residents having to live near the turbines. Swanton Wind knew well in advance that a workshop was going to be held for the public so why weren’t the specialists there including those for the bird habitat, economic and historical sites. The town selectboard chair asked several questions about the project, the people, the town benefits and if Vermont will get the power, and his questions were also unanswered. They evaded all the details and kept everyone guessing throughout the evening by barely answering any questions to the full truths that evening. Continue reading

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