St. Albans Town joins wind project opposition

Saint Albans Messenger; November 28, 2016

Selectboard allocates $10K to fight turbines

By ELAINE EZERINS
Messenger Staff Writer

ST. ALBANS — The town selectboard voted to join Swanton and Fairfield in opposing the Swanton Wind project at the Public Service Board hearing during their meeting last Monday night, allocating up to $10,000 to oppose the project. The motion passed 3:2.

Selectboard members also discussed the town’s purchasing policy and Green Mountain Power’s (GMP) solar panels on Dunsmore Road.

Al Voegele, the interim town manager, said he received a request from Swanton asking the selectboard to reconsider getting involved with the Public Service Board’s legal process and join them in opposing Swanton Wind.

Voegele said the town of Swanton planned to financially contribute $10,000 and Fairfield was considering contributing anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000. Continue reading

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What a good neighbor would do that Blittersdorf didn’t

Saint Albans Messenger; November 26, 2016

This last Halloween David Blittersdorf provided Georgia Mountain neighbors with several weeks’ worth of eerie screaming. The screaming has been attributed to a damaged blade on one of his turbines by various noise experts who have listened to audio recordings of the noise.

We remind David Blittersdorf of a statement that he made in a story in Vermont Digger regarding the recent icing violations incurred by his project: “Looking forward, GMCW will participate with the other parties in the next phase of the PSB proceeding, and as always will look for ways that the Project can continue to be a good neighbor and to provide important benefits to Vermont,” Blittersdorf said in a statement.”

We stood outside on a dark cold night and took audio recordings of the screaming turbine to submit with a complaint on October 9, 2016, to the Department of Public Service. We described the noise as a high pitched “whistling” as the blade turns. One of our boys has since more aptly described the noise as a “woman screaming on the mountain”, so we now almost affectionately, (rolling our eyes) call it the “screaming turbine”.

We waited patiently for the response. Continue reading

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Swanton Wind permit to take nine months

Saint Albans Messenger; November 19, 2016

Process to get underway in January

By TOM BENTON
Messenger Staff Writer

MONTPELIER — The Public Service Board (PSB) has scheduled its regulatory process regarding Swanton Wind.

The process will begin the first week of January and carry on through September, leaving the fate of the divisive project uncertain for nearly another year.

Swanton Wind’s developers, Travis and Ashley Belisle, of Swanton, hope the PSB process will produce a Certificate of Public Good for the project, the final regulatory step before the project can begin construction. Opponents, including attorneys representing the towns of Swanton and Fairfield, hope the process will thwart the project for good. Continue reading

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Why won’t Swanton Wind listen to Swanton’s voters?

Saint Albans Messenger; November 17, 2016

Iberdrola listened to Vermont towns, why won’t Swanton Wind?

On November 8TH the towns of Windham and Grafton not only voted for president and governor, but they voted to reject a proposal to build the largest wind turbine project in Vermont within their borders (24 industrial wind turbines).The developer, Iberdrola Renewables, is a Spanish company that has received 2.2 BILLION DOLLARS in U. S. government subsidies for the renewable energy projects they have built across America (and I’m told to “Buy American”) and they said they would honor the results of the vote. The voting results were: Windham: 181-101 to oppose and Grafton: 235158 to oppose the wind power project.

A year ago [today] November 17th, the town and village of Swanton voted 731-160 to oppose Swanton Wind’s proposed seven industrial wind turbines on Rocky Ridge. The developers of Swanton Wind, the Belisle family, have ignored the community’s dissatisfaction with their project and continue to pursue a certificate of public good. If only Swanton Wind would listen to their community like Iberdrola listened to Windham and Grafton. Continue reading

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Fairfield joins Swanton to oppose wind project

Saint Albans Messenger; November 16, 2016

Hearings to be held on town energy plan

By TOM BENTON
Messenger Staff Writer

SWANTON — The Town Selectboard set two public hearings to discuss the adoption of new energy-related language for the municipal plan and prepared for the next step in its effort to oppose Swanton Wind at Tuesday night’s selectboard meeting.

Additionally, Fairfield Town Clerk Amanda Forbes attended the meeting to notify the board that Fairfield’s selectboard voted to apply for party status in the Public Service Board (PSB)’s regulatory process regarding Swanton Wind, strengthening local resistance to the project.

That opposition will be strengthened even more if the Northwest Regional Planning Commission (NRPC), which already plans to file for party status, decides to oppose the project. Swanton Wind’s core opponents, in attendance at last night’s Town Selectboard meeting, told the board — without citing sources — that the NRPC plans to do just that because the project does not fit with the NRPC’s new regional energy plan. The NRPC has not officially stated its position on the project, but Harold Garrett, chair of the NRPC’s finance committee, was quick to inform Swanton’s selectboard that he had approved $10,000 toward the NRPC’s efforts regarding the project. Continue reading

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In Vermont, wind energy takes 3 hits in 1 week

Saint Albans Messenger; November 14, 2016

By DAVE GRAM,

Associated Press

MONTPELIER (AP) — The governor-elect is firmly opposed to new mountaintop turbines. Two towns have voted against a big wind project. A landowner is in the regulatory crosshairs for putting up a wind speed testing tower without the required permit In Vermont, an ill wind blows for a once promising source of renewable energy.

Republican Gov.-elect Phil Scott was clear during the campaign: He wants to halt further development of wind turbine towers on Vermont’s widely beloved mountain ridges.

“I think my No. 1 concern is that it’s dividing Vermont. I’m looking for opportunities for us to come together, rather than dividing us any further,” Scott told The Associated Press in an interview last month. Continue reading

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NRPC ponders wind position

Saint Albans Messenger; November 10, 2016

Commission receives additional info about project

By TOM BENTON

Messenger Staff Writer

SWANTON — Though the Northwestern Regional Planning Commission (NRPC) has not yet decided whether it will oppose or support Swanton Wind, the NRPC has issued a memo to the project’s developers expressing initial concerns with the project. The NRPC Steering Committee reviewed the project’s response to those concerns at a policy and project review meeting in the Swanton Municipal Complex Wednesday evening.

The NRPC’s take on the project is relevant for two reasons. First, the NRPC decided in October to file for party status in the Public Service Board (PSB)’s review process concerning the project. Second, the PSB must consider the project’s compliance with the NRPC Energy Plan — although the plan’s draft status leaves uncertain whether the PSB is required to consider the project’s compliance at this time. NRPC Regional Planner Taylor Newton called that uncertainty “an interesting legal question” at a recent presentation of the plan, indicating that the decision ultimately lay beyond the NRPC’s control. Continue reading

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