Monday, September 19, 2011

Vermont Environmental Law, September 19, 2011

Photo by Muffet on Flickr
Agency of Natural Resources Hurricane Irene Flood Response Information

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) has compiled an excellent list of resources for information on Hurricane Irene flood response issues. The website covers clean up related issues, links to information about FEMA disaster assistance, resources on grants and other funding sources for individuals impacted by the flood, and information on numerous environmental issues, including health and safety issues and permitting issues related to rebuilding after the disaster.

Vt regulators reject challenges to wind project, WCAX

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Vermont utility regulators are rejecting new challenges from two towns and a citizens group who wanted construction stopped on a controversial wind project in the Northeast Kingdom.

The state Public Service Board this week denied motions by Albany, Craftsbury and the Lowell Mountain Group to halt work pending appeals of their previous orders.

Contractors working for Green Mountain Power Corp. on the $150 million project in Lowell have begun clearing fields off Route 100 and are working on a staging area for construction trailers.

In an order Tuesday, the Board also reiterated its initial finding that the Kingdom Community Wind project is for the public good.

Montpelier district heat bids arrive, Times Argus (subscription required)

[T]he Planning and Community Development department received seven bids for the contract to complete the final design for the district energy project voters approved in a June vote. That’s a lot of bids, which is a good thing.

The district energy project includes replacing the existing state-owned boilers with new biomass wood chip boilers, and running pipes through downtown Montpelier to deliver thermal energy. The bids received on Friday are from firms to create the final design for those underground pipes — basically, where they will go.

The pipes have to get from the state-owned power plant located behind the Department of Motor Vehicle building on State Street to City Hall, the police and fire stations, as well as the elementary school and high school to deliver heat and hot water.

Which path the pipes take is still up for discussion. Besides heating the municipal buildings, the city would like to sell thermal energy to private downtown property owners, so the path of the pipes matters. A review committee has been formed to go over the bids received on Friday and will make a recommendation to the City Council.

Entergy nuke plant trial in Vermont wraps up,

BRATTLEBORO, Vt.—An Entergy Corp. lawyer argued Wednesday in the court battle over Vermont's refusal to extend the life of a nuclear power plant that state lawmakers wrongly considered safety in blocking an extension.

Kathleen Sullivan, an attorney for the New Orleans-based company, played dozens of audio clips in federal court from legislative committee discussions and floor debates to support Entergy's argument that Vermont legislators stymied the extension for Vermont Yankee in Vernon for the wrong reason.

Lawyers for both sides agree that federal law makes nuclear safety the sole province of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. But the state argues that lawmakers used other reasons, including plant reliability and creating a better market for renewable energy, in voting down a bill that would have allowed state regulators authority to grant an extension.

U.S. District Judge J. Garvan Murtha heard the case without a jury. Wednesday was the third and final day. His ruling could [c]ome this fall.