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Vermont Supreme Court permits wind power project despite local objections

The Vermont Supreme Court [official website] on Friday dismissed [opinion, text] a challenge to a proposed energy project to construct wind turbines in the Lowell Mountain Range. The challenge was filed by the Lowell Mountain Group [Lowell Mountains News backgrounder] and the towns of Albany and Craftsbury, and claims that the project would negatively affect the region's environment. The court held [AP report] that the wind project's positive effects, such as providing electricity and economic growth to the Lowell Mountain region, outweighed the potential environmental concerns. The court also declared [Burlington Free Press report] that the state's Public Service Board [official website] correctly found that the wind project will not cause any significant environmental harm. The Public Service Board gave final approval to the wind project [order, PDF] in April of 2009. The project is expected to begin generating electricity soon.

The environmental impact of energy generation has been a hotly contested legal issue recently. In September the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] dismissed nuisance claims [JURIST report] by an Alaska village against energy companies for emitting greenhouse gases. In August a judge in Brazil suspended construction [JURIST report] of a dam in the Amazon rainforest until local indigenous groups had an opportunity to voice their concerns to the project. Earlier in August a judge in Brazil ordered Chevron to stop drilling for oil [JURIST report] in light of several recent oil spills. In June Mexico's president signed a sweeping climate change bill into law [JURIST report].

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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