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Mistrial sought on wind turbine plans in region  

Credit:  By MAX WITTSTEIN, Litchfield County Times, www.countytimes.com 30 March 2011 ~~

COLEBROOK—The latest chapter in the saga of wind power in Connecticut involves a motion to declare a mistrial on the hearings for all three petitions to install wind towers in the state.

BNE Energy Proposals

The West Hartford-based startup company BNE Energy has caused a stir since purchasing property in Colebrook and the New Haven county town of Prospect last year, where it hopes to install commercial 400-foot wind turbines. Citizens groups have sprung up in both towns—FairWindCT in Colebrook and Save Prospect in Prospect—in opposition to the projects, based on noise, sight and environmental concerns.

Hartford attorney Nicholas Harding, who represents FairWindCT, which opposes the Colebrook site, filed a 16-page motion Tuesday with the Connecticut Siting Council— the regulatory body for wind turbines and telecommunications equipment in the state—asking for a mistrial in the hearings, based on the resignation last week of council chairman Daniel F. Caruso.

Mr. Caruso, a probate judge in Fairfield, recused himself from the discussions and then resigned March 24, after a letter by attorney Jeffrey Tinley, who represents Save Prospect, said that Mr. Caruso had discussed the matter with him in private in early March. [See the story on Page Seven.]

Mr. Caruso had come under criticism in the past for his conduct at Siting Council hearing last summer in Cornwall, where some members of the public perceived him as “rude and intimidating.”

Mr. Harding’s motion asks that if a mistrial not be granted, then an extension be granted to reexamine Mr. Caruso’s rulings. If the motion for a mistrial is denied, the council “must allow reconsideration of each ruling made by the Council during the time that Chairman Caruso oversaw these petitions,” the motion reads.

“A mistrial is the only proper remedy to follow the recusal by the chairman,” concluded Mr. Harding.

Source:  By MAX WITTSTEIN, Litchfield County Times, www.countytimes.com 30 March 2011

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