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Neighbors fight back against restraining order and suit, file motion to dismiss  

Credit:  August 23, 2012, Energize Vermont ~~

MILTON, VT – New details were revealed today in the legal dispute between Georgia Mountain Community Wind LLC. (GMCW) and neighbors of the project that show GMCW violated its Certificate of Public Good (CPG). In a motion filed in Vermont Superior Court neighbors of the project detailed CPG requirements for GMCW to halt construction and blasting on state and federal holidays. GMCW’s own legal filings related to their nuisance suit against neighbors admit that both work and blasting occurred on August 16th, the state recognized Bennington Battle Day holiday.

The latest filing is in response to earlier legal actions taken by GMCW, the 10MW, four-turbine project whose majority owner is wind developer David Blittersdorf. The earlier filings alleged that the neighbors were a nuisance for being on their own property, but within the project’s claimed 1,000-foot blast safety zone.

After highlighting the state holiday requirement in the CPG, the neighbors’ motion says, “Georgia Wind’s activities were, therefore, done in direct violation of the Certificate of Public Good, and any blasting, with which Defendants are alleged to have interfered, was impermissible and illegal.”

Jane FitzGerald, 83, a neighbor of the project and a defendant in the original restraining order and suit filed by GMCW said, “Not only is GMCW and Blittersdorf unjustly trying to keep us off our own land, we now know they were operating illegally. We can’t believe this incredible and blatant show of arrogance.”

The neighbors hope the court will immediately vacate the temporary restraining order and the suit against them, based on this information. Their filing also asks the court to award attorney fees from the wind developer due to their need to engage an attorney to defend themselves and the required “significant expense.”

“I am astonished by the audacity of GMCW and David Blittersdorf,” said Energize Vermont Executive Director Lukas Snelling. “First, instead of working with the project’s neighbors he sues them. Then his own high-priced lawyers can’t even read the CPG that they claim gives them the legal right to take this land? Unbelievable.”

Snelling continued, “These actions make it painfully clear that we need someone to police these runaway developers. They are now committing illegal actions and abusing their neighbors all in the pursuit of massive tax subsidies. Whose job is it to step in and stop this abuse?”
This latest legal turn of events comes as the Public Service Board is set to receive filings from GMCW and the Department of Public Service in response to earlier complaints that the project has thrown numerous, large pieces of flyrock onto neighboring property. GMCW is expected to deny the presence of the flyrock as they have in the past, however DPS has visited the site and may come to another conclusion.

The neighbors’ concerns go beyond blasting as well – border trees have been cut, at least one sediment basin to control runoff has been constructed on neighboring property, and early morning construction has occurred before permitted work hours.

Heidi FitzGerald, Jane’s daughter said, “We feel like no one is watching these guys. They have all the money and power, and seem to be getting away with anything. Who is looking out for us?”

A copy of the motion is available at:
http://energizevermont.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/20120823134045884.pdf

A copy of recent comments filed by DPS in response to flyrock:
http://energizevermont.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/7508-2012.08.23-PSD-Investigation-Req-re-Holiday-Blasting-Fly-Rock.pdf

Contact: Lukas B. Snelling
(802) 778-0660
Email: luke/energizevermont.org

Energize Vermont was created to educate and advocate for establishing renewable energy solutions that are in harmony with the irreplaceable character of Vermont, and that contribute to the well-being of all her people. This mission is achieved by researching, collecting, and analyzing information from all sources; and disseminating it to the public, community leaders, legislators, media, and regulators for the purpose of ensuring informed decisions for long term stewardship of our communities.

Source:  August 23, 2012, Energize Vermont

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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