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Citizens’ group forms in Barre to oppose wind turbine project

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 April 2018 at 12:06 pm

BARRE – A citizens’ group has formed to oppose to the proposed Heritage Wind project in Barre. Clear Skies Above Barre, Inc. will be meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Hoag Library in Albion.

“We are just trying to get all of the information out to the public and make sure the community is well informed,” said Kerri Richardson.

She is a member of the board of directors for the new group, which has been recognized by the state. Richardson said Clear Skies Above Barre will soon be picking officers for the group.

Clear Skies was able to extend the comment period until May 4 for the preliminary scoping statement with the state Department of Public Service.

Heritage Wind (Apex Clean Energy) has proposed building a 200-megawatt project in Barre.

The company will compile and respond to the PSS comments, “and will make any necessary adjustments to the studies it proposes in connection with the project,” Project Development Manager Ben Yazman said in letter March 12 to the Hon. Kathleen H. Burgess, Secretary of the Public Service Commission.

Apex has been working in Barre for about two years. It has held several public meetings and has secured leases for 30 of the turbine sites. The company continues to discuss leases with landowners. Apex wants to have 47 sites under contract, Yazman told Orleans Hub last month.

The project would generate about $1.5 million in annual tax revenue for the town, county, school district and other public services, in addition to about $1 million annually to the landowners, Yazman said.

Richardson, 28, said the revenue-sharing deals for landowners and municipalities vary with the projects. She worries Barre may not get the promised revenue, especially because some of the deals she has seen show the county and school district getting more of the revenue than the host town.

“I don’t think this is as lucrative as it’s being made out to be,” she said.

Clear Skies will likely seek some of the intervenor funds that Apex will have to provide to the town and other recognized parties so they can hire experts or legal counsel to review the application.

Richardson urges residents to be involved in scrutinizing the project.

“My concern is for our community and what’s in the best interest for Barre,” she said.

She welcomed community members to attend Wednesday’s meeting at the library.

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