Moratorium: Backers see silver lining
""We are encouraged by the tremendous progress we have made during this past year. Today's vote reflects new found awareness and support," said New Hampshire Wind Watch in a statement.
"We still think the idea of a temporary moratorium has merit," said Jack Savage of the Society to Protect New Hampshire Forests. "But it's fair to say that the vote came as no surprise."
Last March, the state Senate refused to back a one-year moratorium pushed by opponents of the Northern Pass transmission project and numerous wind farm projects. Instead the Senate voted 23-1 to establish two study committees to review the state Site Evaluation Committee's ability and capacity to do its job, under SB 99, and to look at the state's criteria for siting wind farms, new electric generation and transmission facilities.
"We'll keep working toward helping the state establish comprehensive siting guidelines for wind projects and other important changes through the SB 99 process," Savage said.
Wind Watch, a watchdog group with more than 2,000 members opposed to new wind power projects near Newfound Lake, said Wednesday's vote was an improvement from last year's.
"The time will no doubt arrive soon when the state will respect and fully recognize the rights of towns and communities in New Hampshire to democratically self-determine," the group said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Spanish wind farm company Iberdrola Renewables, which was given 10 days to provide more information about its proposed Wild Meadows wind power project to the state's Site Evaluation Committee, has notified the state that it needs more time.
On Jan. 13, the SEC deemed the application for the 23-turbine wind farm in Alexandria and Danbury incomplete. The company will resubmit the application. Iberdrola's Paul Copleman said he had "no estimate" on when that would be.