May 23, 2012

Holland Select Board opposes Derby Wind project

By Laura Carpenter | The Newport Daily Express | 22 May 2012

HOLLAND – All three members of the Holland Select Board are opposed to the proposed Derby Wind project and will hold a vote of the board on Monday, June 4, during the select board’s regular meeting. The meeting will take place at the Holland Elementary School to accommodate a potentially large turnout.

The board originally planned to vote Monday evening, May 21, but did not following the advice of attorney Richard Saudek, who said that the town should wait to vote, according to select board chair Brett Farrow. The town hired Saudak when it decided to seek intervenor status on the proposed wind turbine project.

The turbine project is proposed for Derby Line, but near the Holland town line.

Holland resident Mitch Wonson disagreed with the attorney’s advice to wait to vote and said the town should take a position. The schedule for the project has been pushed back, but the process continues to move forward, Wonson noted.

“It’s better to take a stance,” said resident Brian Bidwell.

The risks and benefits of voting or remaining neutral were discussed. Also discussed was whether or not to hold a town-wide vote.

During discussions, Town Moderator Ernie Emmerson questioned whether the select board members have fully read and understand all the pros and cons to the project, and said if not, then they are not in a position to make an informed decision.

Bidwell said if a town-wide vote was held, voters might be basing their decision on emotional reasons rather that fully understanding the facts.

Some stated their dismay with the developer, Encore Redevelopment, because they have not received answers to questions they have had on the project.

Resident John Wagner mentioned a resident who lives near the Sheffield Wind project, Steve Therrien, whom Wagner said is now speaking out to let people know what it is like for him and his family to live near the Sheffield Wind Farm. At times it sounds like jets overhead, Therrien has reportedly said.

The Holland Select Board has discussed the wind project at almost every one of their meetings over the last several months.

Monday evening they also adopted a new energy policy on commercial energy generation facilities. A committee was formed to draft the policy. The committee consisted of members who have opinions on both sides of the issue, creating balance, Emmerson stated.

The policy will be used to “formulate town positions on specific, powered, commercial energy generation facilities for the purpose of communicating the town’s position to appropriate regulatory governmental agencies charged with review and approval, and by applications to address issues critical to the town.”

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