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Complaints withdrawn on Livermore Falls settlement

Union Leader Correspondent

August 26. 2014 7:21PM

HOLDERNESS — A group that had protested a $160,000 negotiated settlement between the state and Groton Wind LLC, benefitting the Livermore Falls improvement project has withdrawn its complaints against the plan.

James M. Buttolph, Cheryl L. Lewis, Carl S. Spring, the Buttolph/Lewis/Spring intervenor group on the settlement hearings between the state’s Site Evaluation Committee and the owners of the Groton wind facility, have notified the SEC that they no longer wish to pursue their complaints.

“We have reached a settlement with the parties, that’s all I can say about it,” Lewis said Tuesday.

But Lisa Linowes, who had represented the group at the hearings, said that, in her opinion, the SEC could still increase the amount given to the Livermore Falls project, as the former complainants had asked.“Their settlement does not mean the SEC has completed its work on the enforcement case,” Linowes said.

“The SEC still needs to consider and decide if the settlement reached between the Attorney General’s office and Groton Wind is acceptable. It must also determine what to do with the fact that the project, as built, does not comply with (the wind facility’s operating) certificate issued in May 2011,” Linowes said.

“In order to maintain the public’s confidence in the process, it is important that the SEC go on the record expressing its disapproval of the actions by Groton Wind. So far, the SEC has taken no such action,” she said.

As part of a negotiated settlement with the SEC over a dispute about Groton Wind’s re-siting of its operations and maintenance building during the plant’s construction in 2011, Groton Wind had agreed to give a “friends” committee trying to improve Livermore Falls $160,000.

The SEC and Groton Wind have been working together to remedy complaints from state officials, including the state Fire Marshal and the Attorney General, about the plant’s construction permits, which were not filed with the proper state agencies, according to several state agencies.

The Livermore Falls area is a set of waterfalls, cliffs and beaches along the river below the old bridge in the towns of Campton, Plymouth and Holderness.

The Friends of the Pemi: Livermore Falls Chapter has been working since 2013 to come up with plans to protect the falls area and make it safer and more pleasurable to use.

The area, owned by the state, is framed by the historic Pumpkin Seed Bridge, which was erected in 1886 and closed in 1959. The bridge is now too dangerous to cross.

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