Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Vermont Environmental News, February 15, 2011

VPR News | Administration Wants To Identify Areas Off Limits To Wind Energy
The Shumlin administration hopes to ease some of the controversy over wind energy by identifying what areas should be off limits to energy developers.

As VPR's John Dillon reports, the administration's plan is not the comprehensive siting process that some environmentalists had called for.
Hydro plan for falls in Middlebury eyed again | Addison County Independent
Communication is again flowing between town officials and a local family that is seeking to rekindle a small-scale hydroelectric operation at the Otter Creek Falls in downtown Middlebury.

The Holm family has been seeking to install a water turbine that would harness electricity from the creek as it flows through a flume under a building (owned by the Holms) that borders the south side of the Otter Creek Falls. The Holms’ original proposal would have produced around 1 megawatt of electricity per year for sale to area homes, businesses and the town of Middlebury.

But the Holms scuttled their project in 2009, citing a prolonged permitting process, mounting project costs, and a dispute with the town over water rights as among the reasons for withdrawing their application. Anders Holm announced early last year that the family was considering bringing in a silent partner to take another stab at the project.
NY, VT, Conn. suing NRC over nuclear waste storage | The Burlington Free Press
Three northeastern states are suing federal regulators for allowing the storage of radioactive waste for up to 60 years at the nation's nuclear power plants.

New York's attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, says the decision violates requirements for a review of health, safety and environmental hazards.

Connecticut and Vermont are also plaintiffs in the lawsuit

The NRC decided in December to extend from 30 years to 60 the amount of time that nuclear waste could be stored at the nation's 100-plus reactor sites. Spokesman Neil Sheehan said Tuesday that the commission's studies found such storage to be safe.
Magic Hat digester turns brewery waste into energy | The Burlington Free Press
The anaerobic methane digester, installed last year at Magic Hat Brewing Co. in Vermont, extracts energy from the spent hops, barley and yeast left over from the brewing process — and it processes the plant’s wastewater. That saves the brewer on waste disposal and natural gas purchasing.

The 42-foot tall structure, which cost about $4 million to build, sits in the back parking lot of Magic Hat’s brewery, where it came online last summer.