Burlington Free Press: Energy bill leaves Senate without another fight

Mar 29, 2013 No Comments by

Reposted from the Burlington Free Press.

MONTPELIER — The Senate voted Thursday to send the pared-down energy bill to the House without any of the fight that had surrounded the issue two days earlier.

The bill, which started out as a moratorium on wind, has become largely a study of the effects and effectiveness of wind energy. Whether that bill will ever pass the House remains unclear.

Those who wanted to give communities more say on wind and other energy projects opted Thursday against trying to restore measures that would do that in the bill, despite coming close with a 16-14 vote Tuesday.

Sen. Robert Hartwell, D-Bennington, chairman of the Senate Natural Resources & Energy Committee and a supporter of the original moratorium, said any notion of a moratorium is dead for the year. He said efforts to require that Act 250 land-use criteria be used in siting energy projects, as he sought to do with the bill Tuesday, are also likely off the table this year.

Hartwell said some lawmakers might still try to require developers to give towns at least six months’ notice of a project by attaching that measure to other legislation this year.

A state siting commission is due to come out with recommendations for changes the state might consider to locating energy projects in response to complaints that neighbors do not have enough say.

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