Wind Project Sparks Stormwater Management Debate

On Dec. 5, the Vermont Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding Green Mountain Power’s 21-turbine Kingdom Community Wind project along the Lowell Mountain Range. The project, which went on-line last November, uses level spreaders for stormwater management. Green Mountain Power claims the level spreaders disturb less land than traditional retention ponds and have been used in similar permits. However, opponents of the stormwater system, which include Energize Vermont, say that the level spreaders tend to fail at high elevation on steep slopes, and they are not a standard stormwater treatment practice in the Vermont Stormwater Management Manual.

At the heart of the argument is whether the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) has the authority to decide if untested equipment can be used in Vermont development. ANR permitted the level spreaders as part of the Lowell Mountain project. Opponents say ANR did not follow its own regulations in granting the permit because it went beyond the stormwater manual and prescribed unproven methods. Further, opponents say Green Mountain Power’s use of the level spreaders does not meet ANR criteria for an experimental stormwater treatment practice. Read more.

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