Vermont Supreme Court permits wind power project despite local objections

[JURIST] The Vermont Supreme Court [official website] on Friday dismissed [opinion, text] a challenge to a proposed energy project to construct wind turbines in the Lowell Mountain Range. The challenge was filed by the Lowell Mountain Group [Lowell Mountains News backgrounder] and the towns of Albany and Craftsbury, and claims that the project would negatively affect the region's environment. The court held [AP report] that the wind project's positive effects, such as providing electricity and economic growth to the Lowell Mountain region, outweighed the potential environmental concerns. The court also declared [Burlington Free Press report] that the state's Public Service Board [official website] correctly found that the wind project will not cause any significant environmental harm. The Public Service Board gave final approval to the wind project [order, PDF] in April of 2009. The project is expected to begin generating electricity soon.

The environmental impact of energy generation has been a hotly contested legal issue recently. In September the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] dismissed nuisance claims [JURIST report] by an Alaska village against energy companies for emitting greenhouse gases. In August a judge in Brazil suspended construction [JURIST report] of a dam in the Amazon rainforest until local indigenous groups had an opportunity to voice their concerns to the project. Earlier in August a judge in Brazil ordered Chevron to stop drilling for oil [JURIST report] in light of several recent oil spills. In June Mexico's president signed a sweeping climate change bill into law [JURIST report].

 

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