Lawmakers Defer Decision On New Sound Standards For Wind Energy

Jun 22, 2017

A legislative panel has deferred action on a proposal that could have significant impacts on the future of ridgeline wind energy in Vermont.

The Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (LCAR) has been considering new sound standards and setback requirements for wind turbines, and was due to issue a decision by June 30.

Orange County Sen. Mark MacDonald, the chairman of the committee, says it’s now possible that the issue of setbacks will be scrubbed from the rule altogether.

“That’s a change in the rule and required more time to try to resolve that,” MacDonald said after the committee adjourned a meeting Thursday.

The committee now won’t issue a decision until its next meeting in October, at the earliest.

The Public Service Board was asked to establish sound standards for wind turbines, and surprised people on both sides of the debate by proposing what would be the lowest sound standards in the country.

Supporters of commercial wind say the new rules would effectively stop any future development, because they say it would be almost impossible to build new wind towers that don't exceed the new rules.

But opponents want LCAR to approve the lower sound standards, saying they’ll provide quality of life protections for neighbors of large wind energy projects.