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Legislative push continues for moratorium on wind turbines  

Credit:  By JASON SIEDZIK, Litchfield County Times, www.countytimes.com 19 April 2011 ~~

HARTFORD – Movement continues on the legislative front regarding wind turbines.

Robin Stein, acting chairman of the Connecticut Siting Council, has had his nomination for council chairman moved before the full State Senate. Mr. Stein, the longtime Land Use Bureau chief in Stamford, was appointed to the council March 24 after Daniel Caruso resigned. Although Mr. Stein’s appointment to the council was confirmed, seating him as the council chairman will require legislative approval.

Meanwhile, state representative Vickie Nardello has filed an amendment to HB 6249, which will establish an immediate moratorium on wind turbines until the Connecticut Siting Council can draft regulations specific to turbines. The amendment clarifies some of the regulations which are required, as well as compelling the council to consider noise levels in addition to existing factors.

As it stands, the bill calls for regulations on “setbacks, including considerations of tower height and distance from neighboring properties, (B) flicker, (C) a requirement for the developer to decommission the facility at the end of its useful life, (D) different requirements for projects of different sizes, (E) ice throw, (F) blade shear, and (G) impact on natural resources.” Several of these limitations oncern potential neighbors to turbines, such as those in FairwindCT.

Composed of Colebrook residents who live near the proposed sites on Flagg Hill Road and Rock Hall Road, FairwindCT, as well as other individual residents, raised opposition to the lack of specific regulations on turbines, as well as their proximity to their homes. BNE Energy, the West Hartford-based startup that has applied to build the turbines, has asserted that the turbines will have appropriate setbacks.

The immediate aspect of the proposed moratorium could derail the plans, though. State statutes provide a deadline for the application process, and the Colebrook turbines must be decided before June 4. Although public hearings have concluded in Colebrook, evidentiary hearings resume in the Connecticut Siting Council’s New Britain headquarters today at 11 a.m. The final set of hearings are scheduled for April 26.

BNE Energy’s proposed turbines in Colebrook and Prospect – a smaller-scale project with just two turbines to Colebrook’s six – would be the first residential wind power projects in Connecticut. The proceedings, though, have been contentious, with local opposition groups voicing their opinions. However, as the turbines are relatively new to Connecticut Siting Council proceedings, so are the groups.

Source:  By JASON SIEDZIK, Litchfield County Times, www.countytimes.com 19 April 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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