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Vt. renewable energy fight delayed in Senate - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. renewable energy fight delayed in Senate

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -

The Vermont Senate has put off until Thursday a controversial vote on tightening the review process for ridge-top wind power projects.

Senate Bill 30 began as a moratorium, but has been transformed during the session in an effort to appease opponents. The current version calls in the short term to have the Public Service Board give more weight to environmental criteria and local considerations. It also calls for a legislative committee to take into account recommendations from the governor's siting commission.

Sen. Bob Hartwell, the bill's co-sponsor, says despite the changes, he is strongly behind the measure.

"I think there are votes to pass this bill as a very legitimate planning bill that really helps to address some serious issues that people have raised in areas where there are serious impacts. I'm disappointed that certain environmental organizations that hold themselves out as environmental organizations have claimed that this is an anti-environment, anti-renewable bill, which is clearly virtually the opposite," said Hartwell, D-Bennington.

If it gets through the Senate this week it still has an uphill battle in the House, where opponents have said that any new permitting hurdles would essentially bring renewable energy development to a halt.

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