Renewable energy developer David Blittersdorf has been served with his second round of discovery questions from the parties involved in the Public Service Board’s (PSB) investigation into his unpermitted meteorological evaluation tower (MET).
The PSB opened the investigation after receiving letters, one from the town of Irasburg, indicating that Blittersdorf had erected a MET tower on his Kidder Hill property in 2010 without first obtaining a CPG.
Blittersdorf plans to build two industrial wind towers on his land, but has not yet filed an application for a certificate of public good from the PSB.
In the second round of questioning from parties – the Department of Public Service (DPS), the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR), and the town of Irasburg – Blittersdorf has far less work to do than in the first round, where he was faced with multiple pages of questions related to his beliefs about renewable energy policy, his land in Morgan where he’s proposed a solar installation, and about whether or not he did know – or should have known – that he needed a permit to erect the MET tower.
His responses are due March 25.
Irasburg, which is represented pro se by town moderator Dr. Ron Holland, posed just one question in this round, which is accompanied by a photograph of Blittersdorf’s cabin in Morgan.
“Does this picture represent a dwelling that you own in Morgan, Vermont….? If yes, what is the function of the tower located on top of the roofline?”
Blittersdorf objected to questions regarding his property in Morgan during the first round of interrogatories, saying that the questions were “overly vague” as he holds interests in more than one piece of property in Morgan.
He did not answer Holland’s questions related to what Holland believes to be a MET tower on Blittersdorf’s cabin roof.
Blittersdorf objected to many of Holland’s questions the first time around, saying they were outside the scope of the PSB’s investigation and did not seem to be aimed at gathering facts to assist the PSB in its determinations.
“Instead, they seem targeted to amass information to help you and the Vermont Ridgeline Alliance, or other anti-wind activists, in a separate effort to influence Vermont’s renewable energy policy and to preclude more wind projects in Vermont,” wrote Leslie Cadwell, one of Blittersdorf’s attorneys.
Several of the objectionable questions related to Blittersdorf’s role in the Georgia Mountain Community Wind project.
Aaron Kisicki, special counsel for the DPS, also posed only one question, related to whether or not Blittersdorf served on the Renewable Energy Vermont board of directors.
The ANR, represented by Leslie Welts, asked questions pertaining to wetlands near the location of the MET tower and about Blittersdorf’s efforts to mitigate environmental impacts.
The ANR also asked Blittersdorf to identify each CPG he received for the MET towers he said he’s been building for 30 years.
In past responses, Blittersdorf wrote that he had little experience with the PSB process, since the majority of his work was in designing and creating renewable energy system components for projects where the developer was responsible for obtaining permits.
When Blittersdorf sought to obtain a CPG for a MET tower transferred from Endless Energy Corp. to his companies – NRG and Earth Turbines – in 2008, his petition was dismissed.
In that case, the PSB said it lacked jurisdiction unless Blittersdorf could show that the tower was directly related to a grid-connected wind energy project.
Blittersdorf has also indicated that he’s aware of at least 10 other MET towers that lack CPGs, dating back to 2007.
Blittersdorf provided documentation that he was led to believe, through a program funded by the DPS, that only local permits were needed for MET towers that were not going gathering data for wind towers for commercial purposes and would not be grid-connected.
The agency asked him to provide each and every basis for that belief.
In past responses, Blittersdorf wrote that he got that information through the paperwork given to participants in the Vermont Technical College Anemometer Program, which said only local zoning permits were needed.
Irasburg does not have zoning, but a planning commission was formed to come up with a town plan and zoning bylaws.
If Blittersdorf is found to be in violation of the law, the PSB will move on to a penalty process.
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