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New energy siting rules tough on small towns

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copyright the Chronicle December 7, 2016

by Elizabeth Trail

IRASBURG — When the state Legislature passed a new energy siting bill last May, it was supposedly intended to give towns more voice in siting big energy projects.

But members of the Irasburg Planning Commission were disappointed when they read the standards that the town plan they’re working on will have to meet under the new law, now known as Act 174 and dubbed the Energy Development Improvement Act.

The bill had promised towns “substantial deference” before the Public Service Board (PSB) in energy siting proceedings, as long as their written town plans meet state guidelines.

Exactly what the new guidelines would be was left to the Department of Public Service (DPS) to work out over the summer.

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