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BNE Energy seeks to bar Colebrook property owners from participating as parties to local wind farm applications  

Credit:  FairWindCT, fairwindct.com 7 January 2011 ~~

COLEBROOK, CT – Jan. 7, 2011 – West Hartford-based BNE Energy has filed petitions with the Connecticut Siting Council (www.ct.gov/csc) to block Colebrook residents with property abutting or near two local sites for six proposed commercial wind turbines (up to 492 feet tall to the tip of the blades) from serving as Parties to the applications.

Party status would enable the Colebrook residents to pre-file testimony and questions, to present witnesses, and to cross-examine other hearing participants. This action comes on the heels of efforts by BNE to gain approval to place the 40-story-tall turbines in residential areas, as close as 800 feet from homes, with little public knowledge.

Residents first learned of the application for the Rock Hall site in November, 2010. In its petition to exclude Stella and Michael Somers, owners of Rock Hall, a local bed and breakfast inn, from participating as Parties to the application, BNE also discounted Rock Hall’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places in June 2010. BNE indicated that, “the issue of whether the proposed project will have an adverse effect on the Somer’s property is irrelevant to the (Siting) Council’s decision-making criteria.” Concerned Colebrook, Winchester, and Norfolk citizens have formed an advocacy group called FairWindCT, Inc., (www.fairwindct.com) and are also applying for Party status to both Colebrook applications. According to Colebrook resident Joyce Hemingson, President of FairWindCT, the State of Connecticut “has the unique opportunity to learn from wind farms in other states and do its best to ensure the health and safety of its citizens by establishing regulations for wind farms in residential areas before allowing them to be built.”

Local Group Calls for Moratorium Until Regulations are Established “The State of Connecticut and many of its towns, including Colebrook, do not have regulations for wind farms in residential areas,” Hemingson says. “The State and towns need time to plan for this substantial change in our mix of energy resources,” Hemingson says. “We ask that the Connecticut Siting Council (CSC) call for a moratorium on commercial wind energy applications and initiate regulation-making proceedings on the subject.” Hemingson adds that “essential questions need answers – what are the appropriate setbacks from homes, occupied buildings, property lines, wetlands, and local and state roads? Noise, shadow flicker, ice throws, mechanical failure, fire safety, environmental effects, decommissioning, bonding, tax assessments, and the size and weight of trucks and cranes used to install and repair huge turbines are just some of the other issues that every wind farm and every town will need to address and live with for many years.”

“The public and its elected representatives deserve to be heard on the issues, before acres of forestland are cleared, gravel roads built, and wetlands destroyed to accommodate wind farms in residential areas,” Hemingson says. “In addition to a moratorium and the initiation of regulation-making proceedings, we urge the Connecticut Siting Council to hold public hearings locally on all applications.”

For further information, contact info@fairwindct.com or visit the FairWindCT, Inc. web site, www.fairwindct.com.

Source:  FairWindCT, fairwindct.com 7 January 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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