By TOM BENTON
Messenger Staff Writer
SWANTON — A “workshop” allowing the public to ask questions of Swanton Wind’s developers has been rescheduled. The workshop will be Thursday, Feb. 9, at the Swanton Village Municipal Complex, beginning at 5 p.m.
The workshop had previously been set for Jan. 3 atMissisquoiValleyUnion Middle and High School. The Public Service Board, which is conducting the workshop, rescheduled the event due to inclement weather. The board’s new scheduling order noted that “the possibility of another weather-related cancellation remains.”
While the board promised in its scheduling order to make “every effort” to reschedule the conference again should there be another weather-related cancellation, the board also stated that the overall process for the board’s review of Swanton Wind will not be further delayed.
The Public Service Board has the final say in approving — or denying — Swanton Wind’s construction. This workshop effectively begins its review process by allowing members of the public who may be interested in participating the chance to gain information before deciding to do so. Swanton Wind’s developers, Travis and Ashley Belisle, and their representatives will be on the hot seat, facing questions from the audience and members of the Public Service Board.
Those who decide to participate in the board’s review must apply for “intervenorship,” formal recognition of party status before the board. The deadline to do so is now Feb. 16. Once the list of formal participants in the board’s process is complete, the Public Service Board will begin its regulatory process, which is required of all energy projects under Title 30, Section 248 of the Vermont Statutes.
That process will begin with rounds of discovery in March, similar to courtroom discovery. Participants will have a chance to question each other’s witnesses and develop evidence to present before the board.
The board’s review process is expected to run into the fall.