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International Water Company criticized over Dairy Air Wind

HOLLAND – The hearing officer in the Dairy Air Wind Project petition scolded the International Water Company serving Derby Line and the town of Stanstead, Quebec, for not following protocols and ordered officials to cooperate.

The water company is led by Stanstead town officials and governed by an international board of directors with representatives from both border communities.

The water company questioned whether the installation of a proposed 499-foot-tall wind turbine on Dairy Air Farm would affect its nearby water line that links a backup reservoir to the water company system.

The Dairy Air Wind developer filed a motion to compel the water company to provide information and answer questions, asking the hearing officer to level sanctions against International Water Company for lack of cooperation.

It’s not the first time that Quebec municipalities and other groups have participated in Vermont oversight procedures involving projects that might have international implications.

Quebec environmental and government groups have been involved in the oversight of the state’s largest landfill based in Coventry, in the watershed of international Lake Memphremagog.

The failure to notify Quebec property owners caused delays in one early wind project in the Derby area, delays and costs that led the developers to drop the Derby Line Wind Project plan for two turbines on two border farms.

But Quebec municipalities and other groups sometimes have trouble following the rules of the regulatory system governing wind projects.

In the Dairy Air Wind Project case, hearing officer Thomas Knauer in January had directed the water company to file its documents with all the parties in the proper fashion. Dairy Air Wind officials attempted to discuss the lack of response with water company officials.

As of April 18, the water company and its principal representative, Stanstead Mayor Phillippe Dutil, had not responded.

Knauer ordered the water company to respond or explain if responses have already been provided and how.

He said he would take under advisement the developer’s request for an award of reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs associated with this situation, to see what kind of response International Water Company will make if any.

This wind project case before the Public Utilities Commission is moving forward quickly, with a second site visit scheduled for Monday at 11 a.m. on School Road in Holland at Dairy Air Farm in advance of upcoming technical hearings.