House rejects wind project moratorium plan

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(Host) The House has rejected a plan to impose a moratorium on commercial wind projects throughout the state.

Representatives voted by a 2-1 margin against the 18-month stay on wind project construction.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) The moratorium was sponsored by several lawmakers who represent districts where commercial wind projects have been proposed. The plan would have blocked construction of these projects until the end of 2007 and it also called on the Public Service Board to develop specific criteria to review all future wind power proposals.

Glover Representative John Rodgers is one of the sponsors of the moratorium:

(Rodgers) “I find it very odd that we’re not going to site any industrial wind farms on state land. The state has decided that that’s not a good fit with state land. So why then is it ok to come up to the Northeast Kingdom and put them on our ridgelines? We’re down here representing our people, doing what they’re asking, and that is to slow this process down and get more answers.”

(Kinzel) House Natural Resources Chairman Robert Dostis opposed the moratorium. He says the state needs to consider all of its energy options because Vermont’s two major sources of electricity, the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power plant and Hydro Quebec, are set to expire in the next six to ten years.

(Dostis) “Pick any solution that we have to help Vermont address our energy future and there are people who have compelling reasons to oppose it. If we remove any one of our options it means that we are forcing ourselves to inevitably rely more heavily and disproportionately on other options. This is not fair and it is not the Vermont way.”

(Kinzel) East Montpelier Representative Tony Klein said many of the questions being raised about wind power will be addressed when the Public Service Board conducts their comprehensive review of individual projects:

(Klein) “And all the questions that I have heard raised on the floor – and I mean all – will be answered by the Public Service Board process. And with what we are facing in the future for power in this state, let the process go forward.”

(Kinzel) The PSB has just completed a review of a wind project in East Haven that initially will contain four wind turbines. The board’s ruling on the proposal is expected sometime this spring.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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