LOWELL – Two conservation groups want an independent inspector to oversee stormwater discharge controls for the Lowell Wind Project.
The 21 Kingdom Community Wind turbines went up in late 2012, to become the second large-wind project in Vermont. The 16 turbines in Sheffield were the first.
The turbines are owned and operated by Green Mountain Power and partners, including Vermont Electric Cooperative. Stormwater controls are in place along the crane access road built to reach the ridgeline pads where the turbines are now located.
GMP is seeking to renew the stormwater permits. The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation has issued draft permits.
Vermonters for a Clean Environment (VCE) and Lake Champlain International want a hearing on the draft permits for the project.
VCE wants more changes to the original permit to reduce what they say is the degradation of the mountain’s water quality.
VCE Executive Director Annette Smith says the original permit should be upgraded to reflect 10 years of operation on Lowell Mountain.
“Except for changes to four level spreaders, Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources proposes to bless the original permit and its conditions,” Smith wrote to ANR.
“Any reasonable person would expect that this new type of high elevation industrial development in Vermont would result in new issues that will be identified and addressed over time. Failing to admit there have been some problems calls the permit, the consultants who evaluate the site and prepare the permit applications, and the permitting process by the state regulatory agency, into question.”
Smith calls for corrections to what she called flaws in the original permit.
VCE wants GMP to pay for but not hire an independent inspector to report on all stormwater controls.
VCE questions how the sediment removed from the stormwater ponds and systems is handled, wants more monitoring on stream headwaters and asks the agency to make sure herbicides are not used to control invasive species.
The Vermont Chapter of the Native Fish Coalition is seeking upgrades to the stormwater permits as well.
The coalition wants more sampling of aquatic wildlife on the mountain and agrees with VCE that an independent inspector is needed.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding