Push for Renewable Energy Sparks Concern

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MONTPELIEROver 100 people attended a Vermont Statehouse hearing Tuesday to voice concerns about about problems resulting in the state's push to build renewable energy.

The AP reported that the crowed had divided into two sides; one pushing for renewable development, such as wind turbines and solar panels, and the other arguing that the state's siting process shuts out residents.

A local Montpelier business installed an array of solar panels and John McGuire told the AP that the Public Service board gave "a rubber stamp approval with incredibly little oversight."

Phil Pouech, a Huneburg Select Board member who works in the renewable energy industry, believes "the public good of the state outweighs local concerns."

"Clean renewable energy is cost affective," said Pouech, "it has very little environmental impact and it keeps economic activities within our communities."

Several bills have been filed pertaining to the state's energy siting process, but passage is doubtful with only six weeks left of the 2015 legislative session.

Annette Smith, founder of Vermonters for a Clean Environment group showed her support for Vermont's Act 250, which she believes is more "welcoming to citizen involvement."

Act 250 allows private citizens to have a say in development projects, Smith told the AP, "energy projects are regulated separately."