If Dr. Ron Holland thought he’d get an answer as to the purpose of the “tower” atop David Blittersdorf’s cabin in Morgan, he was mistaken.
In Blittersdorf’s second round of answers to questions related to a Public Service Board (PSB) investigation into his unpermitted meteorological evaluation tower (MET) on Kidder Hill in Irasburg, the renewable energy developer declined to answer Holland’s question.
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 certificate of public good (CPG).
Blittersdorf plans to build two industrial wind towers on his land, but has not yet filed an application for a CPG from the PSB.
Irasburg, which is represented pro se by town moderator Holland, posed just one question in the second round of questioning through written testimony, 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.
This time he acknowledged that the photo appears to be of one of multiple properties he owns in Morgan. “It also appears to have been taken by drone, without my permission,” Blittersdorf responded.
But he objected to the question on multiple grounds. “This investigation concerns whether the Respondent was required to obtain a certificate of public good for a meteorological mast he installed on his property in Irasburg, Vermont,” Blittersdorf’s attorneys wrote. “Whether Mr. Blittersdorf owns a particular dwelling in Morgan and the function of equipment on the roof of any such property have no bearing on the issues to be decided by the Public Service Board in this proceeding.”
Holland, speaking to the Irasburg select board when the investigation first began, said part of the town’s strategy would be to prove that Blittersdorf has a history of noncompliance with PSB rules and orders in the penalty stage, assuming he is found to have violated the law.
Blittersdorf, in answers to other questions, wrote that he has never obtained a CPG for wind testing towers. Holland would like to know if the tower in Morgan is another unpermitted MET.
Blittersdorf objected to the question in that it contains a “false premise” by referring to the structure as a “tower.” He further objects because he will be unable to authenticate a photograph that he did not take and of which he does not know the origin.
He declined to say the purpose of the structure.
In response to a question from the Department of Public Service, Blittersdorf wrote that since trade organization Renewable Energy Vermont was formed, at the encouragement of Scudder Parker and with the support of the Department of Public Service under the Howard Dean administration, he has served as either a board member, treasurer or president.
Parker is a former state senator who worked as director of the Energy Efficiency Division at the PSB.
In response to questions posed by the Agency of Natural Resources, Blittersdorf said maps make it appear that his MET is within 150 feet of Class II wetlands. “I am not aware of any rule or regulation that prohibits the placement of a MET mast within 150 feet of a Class II wetland,” he added.
Another question had to do with Blittersdorf’s belief, based on grant documents related to test towers in which the Department of Public Service was a party, that he did not need to obtain a CPG for a MET.
Blittersdorf quoted the document in question: “The towers are only temporarily structures, so the permits are typically not difficult to obtain and are handled through the local government such as the town zoning coordinator.”
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