The Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF) recently released for public comment its Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) for the proposed Deerfield Wind Project in the Towns of Searsburg and Readsboro.
The Forest has been evaluating several alternatives in detail, including the original proposal for a 17 turbine project. Two other action alternatives are also being considered. They include development of a 7 turbine project on the ridge east of Route 8, and development of a 15 turbine project that matches the Public Service Board approved configuration. The Forest Service can also take “no action” should it decide not to approve the project. The Forest Service must now conclude its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review and decide whether or not to allow the project to be built on the Green Mountain National Forest.
GMNF officials released the SDEIS and began taking “formal” public comment on Monday, December 27, 2010. The NEPA process requires that the Forest Service allow the public at least 45 days to review and comment on the proposed alternatives. Initially the Forest Service had intended to close the public comment period after 54 days on Friday, February 18, 2011, allowing extra time for the holidays. Due to limited functionality of the Forest Service’s web site, Colleen Madrid, Forest Supervisor for the GMNF decided to extend the public comment period for two additional weeks which would have ended today, Friday, March 4, 2011. “In the past week the Forest Service has received several calls and e-mails from additional people seeking to comment on the proposed project. In an effort to meet the needs of those that still wish to review and comment on the project, the Forest Service will again extend the public comment period for another two weeks, now ending on Friday, March 18, 2011,” said Ethan Ready, Public Affairs Officer for the Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests.
For more information and to download the SDEIS:
[Note: This is the first wind project proposed on National Forest land. The decision here will set a nationwide precedent.]