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Vt. Supreme Court upholds Lowell wind permits

(AP) The Vermont Supreme Court on Friday, Oct. 19 rejected a series of appeals filed by opponents of a wind-power project under construction on Lowell Mountain.

In its decision, the court rejected a series of claims by the towns of Albany and Craftsbury and a citizens group called the Lowell Mountain Group that the utility-regulating Vermont Public Service Board ignored evidence that the 21-turbine project would generate noise levels that could be harmful to neighbors and that it would despoil what was once a pristine area.

"Generally speaking, the board found that the project, consistent with the expressed intent of the Legislature, would help meet the region's need for renewable energy, provide an economic benefit to the state in the form of jobs and tax revenues, and provide (Green Mountain Power) and (the Vermont Electric Cooperative) with a long-term source of stably priced power," said the decision, written by Chief Justice Paul Reiber.

"The board explained that it had approved the project based on these economic benefits and because the addition of a renewable source of power in the region was consistent with the state's legislated policy goals," the decision said.

Construction on the project began a year after the board issued the final permit for the project, which is owned by Vermont's largest and dominant electric utility Green Mountain Power. The project is expected to be generating electricity soon.

Opponents argued the project despoils a natural area and creates human health risks.

But the Supreme Court rejected those claims. The decision said conditions imposed by the board are adequate to protect the public.

Tagged: VT Supreme Court, Lowell Mountain, wind power