BREAKING NEWS: No votes taken on wind farm permit
Deliberations suspended, new deadline set for May 29
March 04, 2009
CONCORD — After recessing deliberations for over an hour on Wednesday afternoon to consult in executive session with its own counsel, Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) chairman Tom Getz suspended all deliberations on whether or not to issue a Certificate of Site and Facility to Granite Reliable Power (GRP), the company that seeks to build 33 wind towers in Millsfield and Dixville, both Unincorporated Places in Coös County.
The seven-member SEC voted unanimously to support the chairman's recommendation that he issue a procedural order to deal with issues raised by Lisa Linowes of Lyman of the Industrial Wind Action Group.
Ms. Linowes had asked in her April 27 letter that deliberations be suspended and that the record be reopened, since the SEC had asked during its April 20 deliberations for data responses without giving other parties an equal opportunity to either ask questions or to respond.
The SEC also voted unanimously to extend its period of deliberations until May 29, giving it another 30 days from that day (April 29) in which to issue its final order.
The expedited permitting process for renewable projects only allows nine months in which the SEC is to do its work. An earlier 30-day extension had already been granted, pushing the deadline until May 6. The new date pushes the deadline forward by 23 days — a total of 53 days.
Chairman Getz said he expects to issue the procedural order within the next few days.
He also said that members of the SEC believe that the Fish and Game Department's answer to one of the three data requests was "insufficiently responsive."
SEC member Dr. Don Kent of the state's Natural Heritage Bureau had asked on April 20 whether the habitat parcels that are part of the mitigation package hammered out by GRP, Fish and Game, and the Appalachian Mountain Club are, in fact, comparable to the habitat that would be lost if the turbines on Dixville Peak and Mt. Kelsey were developed as proposed.
Chairman Getz ruled, however, that Ms. Linowes contention that there had been "ex parte" communications that are not allowed by law between the Fish and Game Department and SEC member Glenn Normandeau, the Department's executive director, was unfounded and based on a "fundamental misunderstanding" based on combining of legal provisions.