Williamstown board seeks biomass input


WILLIAMSTOWN -- The Selectmen are a step closer to becoming an intervenor in Beaver Wood Energy LLC's proposal to build a biomass power plant and wood-pellet manufacturing facility in Pownal, Vt.

Attorney Gerald R. Tarrant of Montpellier, Vt., has filed a notice of appearance on behalf of the Selectmen with the Vermont Public Service Board.

Susan Hudson, Public Service Board clerk, said Thursday that by filing the notice, the Selectmen are formally letting the Public Service Board know it plans to participate in the proceedings at this point.

"It lets us know they plan on appearing in the case, filing comment, or filing to be an intervenor," she said.

The Selectmen will also be added onto the Public Service Board's list to make sure they get all documents, notices and e-mails pertaining to the board's review of the project, she said.

On Monday, the Selectmen unanimously approved having Tarrant represent the town in filing its opposition to Beaver Wood's preliminary approval motion, and to file its motion to intervene.

Beaver Wood's is requesting the Public Service Board grant it preliminary approval to begin limited construction activities at the former Green Mountain Race Track on Route 7 before Dec. 31.

Ronald Turbin, chairman of the Selectmen, said Thursday with the notice of appearance filed, the town is planning to file its opposition to Beaver Wood's preliminary approval request on Friday.

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The board has until Dec. 22 to file its motion to intervene, he said.

The notice of appearance, which is dated Nov. 29, is accompanied by two letters stating the Selectmen's objection to the project until further study is done on the impact it could have on the area.

One of the letters, which is addressed to Hudson and signed by Tarrant, states the town objects to Beaver Wood's 45-day advance notice stating its intention to file for certificate of public good for the project with the Public Service Board.

"The proposed site in Pownal is approximately one mile from downtown Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Whatever occurs in Pownal will be felt in Williamstown, Mass., and vice versa. The Beaver Wood Energy application for a Section 248 approval is substantially incomplete, failed to provide reasonable plans to affected municipalities -- and in the case of transmissions and air quality -- failed to provide any meaningful information or plants," the Nov. 30 letter states.

The letter states that with Beaver Wood's filing being incomplete and not meeting the standards of Section 248, the town hasn't been allowed "to respond with necessary public meetings, answer question by concerned residents or participate in a meaningful manner in protecting its residents' and municipal interests."

The second letter, dated Nov. 19, is identical to the Selectmen's October letter to the Pownal Selectmen in which the board asked the project not be approved until five concerns were thoroughly addressed.

Published Dec. 3, 2010


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