IRASBURG – Wind developer David Blittersdorf believed he only needed local permits to put up a meteorological tower on his Kidder Hill property because it was part of a special state program.
The MET tower was built under the Vermont Anemometer Program and the state knew about it, according to documents Blittersdorf’s attorney has filed with utility regulators on the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB).
The board is investigating whether Blittersdorf violated state regulation by not getting a state certificate of public good for the tower, which was erected before he decided to seek to put up two industrial-size wind turbines on this part of the Lowell Mountain range.
The town and state have argued that the developer used information from the MET tower to not only put up two small wind mills but to also justify the future value of two industrial wind turbines he wants to erect. Blittersdorf has yet to file an application for a certificate of public good for the large turbines.
The town of Irasburg select board and the state electricity consumer advocates at the Department of Public Service want the PSB to find Blittersdorf in violation of state regulations and have filed a motion for summary judgment.
In response, Blittersdorf’s attorney Leslie Cadwell sent out letters to depose town and state officials, seeking a wide range of documents about the MET tower, town taxes he paid on it, and how long the state knew about the tower.
The selectmen and the department filed a motion to quash the depositions, calling the quest for information harassment, unduly burdensome and potentially irrelevant if the PSB rules that Blittersdorf is in violation.
PSB hearing officer George Young indicated in an order Monday that he would rule quickly on the summary judgment motion and efforts to postpone the depositions until that is decided. He asked for reactions to those motions by Thursday.
The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources had signed on to the motion to quash, but has since withdrawn and agreed to provide information.
Cadwell, in a letter to the PSB last week, said the motion to quash the depositions by Irasburg and the department was not done in good faith. That’s because the department’s and select board’s attorneys had begun discussions about scheduling depositions and then pulled the plug without warning, she said.
Blittersdorf, she said, has a right to seek information about the motion to quash and the complaint about a violation.
In the quest for voluminous documents, Blittersdorf wants to see all communications between any member of the select board and any member of the Irasburg Ridgeline Alliance, a group established to fight the construction of the nearly 500-foot-tall wind towers on Kidder Hill.
Blittersdorf seeks all minutes and “content” of meetings over four and a half years between the selectmen and the alliance and select board meetings in which the MET tower or the potential violation were discussed.
He also wants to know more about the scope of authority granted to Irasburg resident and alliance member Ron Holland to represent the select board in the violation case before the PSB and all the communications involving him.
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