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North Country News
Fri March 15, 2013
Energy Bill Draws Critics
Legislation that began as a proposed three-year moratorium on wind development in Vermont is drawing the ire of environmental and renewable energy advocates.
Vermont Senate Bill 30 (S.30) has been revised to include restrictions on energy generation from solar, biomass, methane and other sources. It proposes moving siting jurisdiction of all in-state electric generation plants, except for net-metering systems, from the Public Service Board to district environmental commissions and local land use authorities. The bill is generating fierce opposition from renewable energy advocates, including the Executive Director of Renewable Energy Vermont. Gabrielle Stebbins calls the proposal unbalanced and likely to upend decades of well-planned permitting.
Vermont Public Interest Research Group Executive Director Paul Burns believes, if passed, the legislation would prevent a number of clean energy projects from being proposed and built.
Vermonters for a Clean Environment Executive Director Annette Smith supports a moratorium on wind development. She says legislators are trying to improve the existing process and nay-sayers are exaggerating the bill’s impact on renewable development.
The bill’s lead sponsor, State Senator Joe Benning, was at the statehouse and unavailable in time for this broadcast.