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3/5/11 How close is too close? Gophers join Badgers in push for setbacks from property lines instead of homes AND Ontario courts play 'hot potato' with wind issue AND Wind Developers to Rural Town: Um, 'bribe' is kind of an ugly word, isn't it? Let's call it " a contribution"

From Minnesota

BILLS INTRODUCED TO TOUGHEN WIND FARM REQUIREMENTS

The first proposal would prohibit wind turbines from being built within a half mile of a homeowner’s property line in a township where there are at least 3 1/2 homes per square mile.

SOURCE The Post-Bulletin, www.postbulletin.com 

March4,  2011 By

Heather J. Carlson,

ST. PAUL — Two lawmakers introduced a pair of bills yesterday that would place new restrictions on wind farm developments.

Reps. Tim Kelly, R-Red Wing, and Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, are backing the bills. The first proposal would prohibit wind turbines from being built within a half mile of a homeowner’s property line in a township where there are at least 3 1/2 homes per square mile. The second bill would no longer allow larger wind farms to qualify for Community-Based Energy Development (C-BED) status. That status allows wind companies to charge utilities premium rates for the energy they produce.

Kelly said he supports alternative energy, including wind, but there need to be more protections in place for landowners and utility ratepayers. In particular, he said he is concerned about large wind companies with limited ties to Minnesota getting the C-BED status, which allows them to build in areas that may not otherwise make economic sense.

“I really have a problem with the way that (C-BED status) has been hijacked. It’s been manipulated,” Kelly said.

´╗┐From Ontario

ANTI-TURBINE ACTIVIST STANDS FIRM

“It seems that both bodies are trying to pass the buck. Meanwhile, there’s no justice for the people who are suffering physically from the presence of the turbines. There’s no justice.”

SOURCE: Better Farming, www.betterfarming.com

March 4, 2011

By Pat Currie,

An appeal of a Chatham-Kent wind power development continues despite this week’s defeat of efforts elsewhere in Ontario to overturn a provincial law governing distances between wind turbines and dwellings

Don’t count it as a legal watershed for battles over other wind farm proposals.

That’s a Chatham-Kent anti-turbine activist’s perspective of the Ontario Divisional Court’s decision this week to quash a challenge to provincial law that sets minimum distances between power-generating wind turbines and human habitations.

“All I see is one court passing the buck to another,” said Monica Elmes, speaking for the Chatham-Kent Wind Action Group. The group is appealing approval of Suncor Energy’s proposed Kent Breeze wind farm project near Thamesville, about 20 kilometres northeast of Chatham, on the grounds it is a health hazard.

Suncor is proposing to place eight turbines on farmland to generate 20 megawatts of power.

The Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) is hearing the appeal. It has been shifting proceedings back and forth between Chatham and Toronto since early February.

In the Ontario Divisional Court’s decision, issued Thursday, three judges wrote that they did not consider it the proper jurisdiction to rule on the constitutionality or wisdom of the province in setting the 55-metre setback.

“I find it kinda funny – the MOE (Ministry of the Environment) lawyers at first said that Ontario Divisional Court was where the challenge should be heard and now the court is saying it should be heard by the ERT,” said Elmes.

“It seems that both bodies are trying to pass the buck. Meanwhile, there’s no justice for the people who are suffering physically from the presence of the turbines. There’s no justice.” BF

From Maine:

WIND FARM DEVELOPER OFFERS $120,000 TO SAVE TEACHING JOBS

“One of the PTA members looked at him — and this was in the middle of the budget stress they were having — and said, ‘Do you have $120,000?’” he said.

“Tom wasn’t able to say yes or no at that point, but we thought about it and we’d be happy to help out, basically, if we can go forward with our wind project for Woodstock this spring,”

Sun Journal, www.sunjournal.com

March 5, 2011

By Terry Karkos, Staff Writer,

WOODSTOCK — A Massachusetts-based wind developer announced early Friday evening that it has offered to donate $120,000 to SAD 44 to save three teaching jobs at Woodstock Elementary School.

Todd Presson, chief operations officer of Patriot Renewables LLC in Quincy, confirmed the gift but was unsure of the process that either the school district or town must go through to use the money as intended.

“We had been looking for ways for a while now at becoming part of the community of Woodstock, where we’ve been for a couple of years developing (a wind farm),” Presson said.

On Oct. 5, 2010, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection approved a land-use permit for Patriot Renewables to build 10 wind turbines and the necessary power lines and access roads along the ridgeline of Spruce Mountain.

Presson said the project coordinator, Tom Carroll, attended a few meetings of the school’s Parents-Teachers Association, and asked if there was anything the company could do to work with the community.

“One of the PTA members looked at him — and this was in the middle of the budget stress they were having — and said, ‘Do you have $120,000?’” he said.

“Tom wasn’t able to say yes or no at that point, but we thought about it and we’d be happy to help out, basically, if we can go forward with our wind project for Woodstock this spring,” Presson said.

He said the company has money budgeted and allocated for legal challenges.

“As long as we don’t have any further legal challenges, we can use that money to help the school out, but it sounds like something we should be behind and we’d like to be behind,” Presson said.

He said that on Feb. 4, the Maine Board of Environmental Protection denied an appeal by Friends of Spruce Mountain against approval of Patriot’s estimated $37 million Spruce Mountain Project.

By the end of next week, a 30-day period to appeal that decision to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court expires, Presson said.

David Murphy, SAD 44 superintendent, declined comment Friday evening on the donation, saying he hadn’t been aware of it.

But Linda Walbridge, director of the Western Maine Economic Development Council in Paris, said the money would save three teaching jobs cut earlier this year.

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