April 3, 2006

The developer squirms

The chairman of the three-member Public Service Board of Vermont, who will consider the recommendation of hearing officer Kurt Janson to deny permission to Mathew Rubin and Dave Rapaport to erect four industrial wind turbines on East Mountain in East Haven, has recused himself, presumably because in his earlier position with the Department of Public Service he had promoted the project. That leaves two members to decide, and if only one of them accepts the recommendation the project is dead. Janson's recommendation, as quoted from his introduction in a story by Carla Occaso in today's Barre-Montpelier Times-Argus, is
"that the Public Service Board deny a Certificate of Public Good for the proposed project," mainly, he writes, because it would be located in the "heart of tens of thousands of undeveloped, conserved lands."
The story continues with the developer's flustered response:
David Rapaport, vice president for East Haven Windfarm, said he hopes to convince the board to reject Janson's findings because they are "in error in certain key respects," primarily because it "does not properly balance the benefits of the project against those impacts," according to comments submitted by East Haven Windfarm officials on March 27. Contrary to Janson's findings, Rapaport said, the wind farm would not unduly interfere with the experience of users of land surrounding the site and, because it would have minimal impact, "the project will not unreasonably or unnecessarily endanger public investment."
Did you follow that? "Janson did not fully consider the benefits, and anyway the impacts can be disregarded." The thing is, Janson very clearly stated that the benefits are important. If he improperly weighed them, it was in that assumption that they are at all significant. In the matter of negative impacts, Janson also clearly stated that the developers have demonstrated an arrogant disinterest in the environmental concerns, something Rapaport doesn't seem to be making any effort to remedy.

One more hearing is scheduled for April 11.

wind power, wind energy, Vermont, environment, environmentalism