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Lawsuits challenge approval for Colebrook wind turbines

COLEBROOK—The long-running controversy about whether wind turbines should be allowed in this tiny town is still going strong.

The Connecticut Siting Council, which has final jurisdiction over the placement of cellular towers and some energy infrastructure in the state , last June approved two applications from the West Hartford-based startup company BNE Energy to erect 400-foot-tall wind turbines—two sets of three, for six total

The approvals were granted despite some local opposition.

A similar project by BNE in the New Haven County town of Prospect was denied by the douncil the same week, which cited that project’s visual impact as being too great.

Now, two lawsuits filed by attorney Nicholas Harding challenge the Siting Council’s authority to render a decision at all.

One suit is from FairWindCT and the other was filed by Stella and Michael Somers, the owners of Rock Hall Luxe Lodging, a bed- and-breakfast near one turbine site. They claim the turbines’ impact will hurt their business.

Additionally, the litigation claims that that the project is incompatible with Connecticut’s noise statutes, and, because of that, should have gone before town’s land-use authorities—the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Inland Wetlands Commission.

Also, the siting council is being faulted for not waiting until bird and bat migratory data was completed.

Meanwhile, the Connecticut General Assembly has passed a House Bill 6249, which establishes a moratorium on further wind turbines in the state, and calls for regulations to be established for future installations of wind turbines.

It was signed into law by Gov. Dannel Malloy in June.

The Connecticut Siting Council is planning to begin drafting such regulations in the fall.