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