Vt. Senate passes scaled-down wind bill - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. Senate passes scaled-down wind bill

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Wind turbine construction and operation on the Lowell Mountains has led to debate, protest, and arrests. From the Senate floor Tuesday, Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia County, says he stands by comments referring to the development as the rape of Vermont's natural landscape.

"I don't know any word in the English language that better describes what I see there," Benning said.

Legislators are divided on the matter largely along urban-rural lines. The original plan would give local communities more control over wind development.

Despite tough rhetoric though, senators reached a broad compromise by making big changes to the bill. By a large margin they scrapped a three-year moratorium on wind development and requested continued study of the issue with a report to follow. Some lawmakers say there's been enough study already.

"No one wants to see scars cross our landscape, and yet we see them all the time," said Sen. Ginny Lyons, D-Chittenden County.

Lyons says development is never pretty, but Vermonters allow it for the greater good. She says Vermont's clean energy planning needs to include more than just siting projects.

"This isn't the way to do it Mr. President. Unfortunately, it's just not the way to get there," Lyons said.

Wednesday, legislators could re-introduce the original language, but will face a steep, uphill battle.

The bill covers more than just wind. It encompasses green efforts like biomass and methane, as well as new plans for traditional power generating facilities.

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