SPRINGFIELD, Vermont — A hearing officer for Vermont's utility regulating Public Service Board has recommended that a state certificate of public good not be granted to a proposed biomass energy plant in North Springfield because the project would create too much truck traffic.
In a document filed Friday, board hearing officer John Cotter said that truck traffic to and from the plant would have an undue impact on the community and its narrow streets.
"I am cognizant of the fact that the project would provide measurable benefits to the surrounding community and the state as a whole if it were constructed and operated," Cotter wrote. "I cannot conclude that there are reasonable conditions that could be imposed to alleviate the undue impacts of the significant increase in truck traffic on two local streets leading to the entrance of the North Springfield Industrial Park."
The North Springfield Sustainable Energy Project hopes to build a 37-megawatt wood-fired power plant in the North Springfield Industrial Park. Wood chips would be trucked to the project and earlier this year, the town of Springfield entered into an agreement with the developers for the construction of a new access road to the plant.
The project would also produce low-cost steam heat for the businesses in the industrial park, as well as a thermal loop for residences in an area of North Springfield.
Nearby residents claim the project would be a blight on the landscape and pump tons of toxic pollutants and particulate into the atmosphere.
Interested parties have until the end of November to comment before the board makes a final decision.