Environmentalists intend challenging in the Vermont Supreme Court recent approval for a large out-state wind-power company to build turbines atop a popular mountain ridge.
Local conservation group Ridge Protectors opposes plans by Newton, Mass.-based UPC Wind to erect 16 wind turbines 425 feet high in the Hardscrabble Mountains near the town of Sheffield. It claims UPC Wind plans four more similar plants in the wider region, known as the Northeast Kingdom.
UPC Wind announced early August that the Sheffield wind-power project had gotten the nod from industry regulator the Vermont Public Service Board (VPSB). The release said UPC Wind had worked for the previous 18 months to meet a range of environmental concerns about the project but will monitor the political climate.
“[C]larifying state legislation regarding the tax rate on renewable energy projects remains a key component to this project,” UPC Wind Project Manager Matt Kearns stated. “Passage of legislation supporting wind farm development will put Vermont on track as a leader in renewable energy.”
But AP reported last week that Ridge Protectors would appeal VPSB’s approval of the Sheffield wind farm to the Vermont Supreme Court. The group claims the VPSB misapplied Vermont law and drew conclusions not in keeping with facts in the hearing record.
Ridge Protectors claims it opposes construction of the towers over fears they will prove unsightly in a popular tourist destination and harm birds and other wild life. UPC Wind states it consulted the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources to minimize these problems.
By Rob Luke
5 November 2007
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