PSB rejects East Mountain wind proposal

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(Host) The Vermont Public Service Board has rejected a proposal to build a wind farm atop East Mountain in the remote Northeast Kingdom, saying it needed more information on the project.

Developers want to construct four, 329-foot-tall wind turbines on the site of a former military radar base in East Haven.

The board says developers haven’t provided enough information to determine if the project would hurt bats and migratory birds.

However, the board also rejected claims by opponents of the project that the turbines threatened the environment of the surrounding area.

The Conservation Law Foundation is a supporter of the East Haven wind proposal.

CLF attorney Sandy Levine says that she’s disappointed that the Board rejected the plan, but she also feels the ruling gives the project an opportunity to obtain a permit if it conducts studies on migrating birds.

Levine says the most important part of the
PSB decision is the rejection of a previous ruling by the Board’s hearing officer that this wind project would be harmful to thousands of acres of protected land that surround the project.

(Levine) “I think it’s a good ruling for the future of wind in Vermont in terms of the aesthetic impact. The Board recognized the many benefits of wind power in Vermont as being a clean energy source and providing economic benefits for the state, and that those benefits far outweigh the limited impact on scenery that the hearing officer had been concerned about.”

(Host) Opponents of the proposed wind project also applauded the ruling. Brian Kelly is with the Kingdom Commons citizens group, which argued against the project before the Public Service Board.

(Kelly) “It’s a victory for the future of the former Champion Lands and for the conservation and public access easements that guarantee the public’s use of those lands. It is also, I believe, a sign that the Public Service Board is exercising due diligence as it weighs the benefits and burdens of big wind on the crests of the great northern forest.”

(Host) Kelly says he believes the East Haven wind farm project is dead and he doesn’t expect developers to continue to seek permission to build it.

A representative of the wind farm developers declined comment until he’s had a chance to go over the Public Service Board decision.

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