September 24, 2013

Newark select board officially joins MET tower appeal

Amy Ash Nixon | Caledonian Record | September 24, 2013 |

NEWARK – The town’s select board has officially joined an appeal of the Vermont Public Service Board’s recent approval for a Certificate of Public Good to allow four meteorological towers to be raised in Newark, Brighton and Ferdinand.

The official appeal agreement was signed by the board after a vote last week.

At the meeting, selectman Mark Ellingwood had copies of the appeal agreement from Barre attorney L. Brooke Dingledine’s office, which, the minutes of the meeting note, lay “out the parameters for the work to be done and the cost sharing.”

Although Newark’s citizens overwhelmingly supported unspecified legal costs to fight any efforts by a wind project, the appeal will cost a total of $15,000, according to Dingledine, and Brighton and Newark have each committed as towns to $5,000 of that cost. The remaining $5,000 will be covered by Newark Neighbors United, who plans to try to raise funds toward its share.

Brighton Ridge Protectors, the citizen-led group in Brighton that formed to fight the wind project, plans to fundraise to help with the appeal’s costs, confirmed Pam Arborio, president of the group, on Monday. A new group, Save Our Senecas, has formed in the fight against a wind project here, too, and is about to send out a mailing to all property owners in the UTGs, Arborio said on Monday.

Both Newark and Brighton have new town plans in place that object to industrial wind being sited on the ridgelines in either community.

In a letter sent to Newark’s and Brighton’s select boards, Dingledine explained how the appeal costs would be billed. “I will charge on an hourly basis in the amount of $200 per hour for all time spent on your behalves including office conferences, telephone conferences, drafting documents, negotiating with opposing counsel, court appearances, travel time and the like,” she noted.

“Deborah Bucknam, Esq., counsel for NNU, will also be working on the appeal on behalf of her client … It is contemplated that she will contribute approximately one third of the work for the appeal on behalf of NNU and I will be shouldering approximately two thirds of the work for the appeal on behalf of Newark and Brighton.”

As such, Dingledine said, “NNU is paying its attorney directly and while we will work, collaboratively together on the appeal, there will be no financial exchange or contribution as between the attorney for NNU and this firm.”

Newark selectman John Lewandowski, at Wednesday’s meeting, raised an issue from a letter he had received from a resident of Greensboro, which included an argument about why the PSB ruling could be challenged.

Lewandowski asked to have the letter looked at by Dingledine, and the board agreed to that request, the minutes reflect.

The meteorological tower in the town of Ferdinand, part of the Unified Towns and Gores (UTG), has been erected in the meantime; that community has not appealed the CPG being issued, and is awaiting a proposal, possibly forthcoming from the developer, Seneca Mountain Wind (SMW) LLC, this fall, which will be shared with property owners before any official stand on a would-be wind project is taken, the Board of Governors of the UTGs have said publicly.

SMW is a project being co-developed by Eolian Renewable Energy, LLC of Portsmouth, N.H. and turbine manufacturer Nordex USA, an international company with its US headquarters based in Chicago.

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