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Select board approves amended Antrim Wind agreement

Antrim select board members voted to adopt changes to amendments made to the 2012 Town Agreement with Antrim Wind Energy during a public hearing on Monday night.

The board and residents pored over the amended line-by-line during a public hearing on Nov. 20. During that hearing, four concerns surfaced about the document.

Among them included a clarification about response time to complaints lodged against the energy company during construction, operation, and decommissioning of the nine-turbine wind project slated to be constructed along Tuttle Hill and Willard Mountain.

A section of the agreement pertaining to concerns states that Antrim Wind “shall make reasonable efforts to respond to and address the public’s inquiries and complaints.”

But residents argued the word reasonable could be interpreted differently from person to person.

“If I call at 2 a.m. in the morning, is someone going to pick up?” Barbara Berwick asked during the Nov. 20 meeting.

In a letter to the town, Jack Kenworthy, head of development at Walden Green Energy, responded to concern over response times. He said neither the agreement or a certificate from the state’s Site Evaluation Committee specifies a time for complaint response. Kenworthy said no single response time would be appropriate for all varieties of potential complaints.

“If a complaint is related to an actual violation, which is not always the case, then in addition to any response to the complaint, AWE is required by regulation to correct the violation,” Kenworthy said in the letter.

Justin Richardson, an attorney who represents Antrim, agreed that it’s not possible for the energy company to predict the response time in all cases.

“A noise complaint could require extensive monitoring depending on the meteorological conditions,” Richardson said in a letter.

Richardson did say in a typical circumstance Antrim Wind will be available during normal business hours. He said under typical circumstances an acknowledgment of a response to a complaint should occur within the next business day.

Residents brought up a similar concern in the agreement about the term “occupied building” during the Nov. 20 hearing, a word some said was ambiguous. Kenworthy responded in a letter that the term is “unambiguous” and that there is no conflict with the state’s Site Evaluation Committee certificate.

Residents at the Nov. 20 meeting asked for clarification about who was responsible for paying for the training of specialized equipment if it’s needed. Kenworthy said the company doesn’t anticipate needing to acquire specialized equipment for emergency response that would require training of local emergency response personnel. He said that the company is committed to provide any training that would be required in the future if special equipment becomes necessary.

Residents also asked the board to cross out any language in the agreement that expresses town approval of the project. Select board members said it’s no secret that they do approve the project.

“The SEC has approved it, subject to the Supreme Court decision but we tried to tighten this the best we can and I think we did a good job at it,” select board member Bob Edwards said.

The board, which consisted of Edwards and John Robertson, signed the document. Chair Mike Genest wasn’t present at Monday’s meeting.