White House Picks Searsburg Wind Facility As PriorityStaff Reports
02:24PM / Tuesday, October 11, 2011
STAMFORD, Vt. — The wind turbine expansion on Searsburg Mountain has been selected by the Obama administration as one of 14 infrastructure projects across the country for expeditious permitting.
According to a press release from the White House, President Obama has "directed agencies to expedite environmental reviews and permit decisions for a selection of high priority infrastructure projects that will create a significant number of jobs, have already identified necessary funding, and where the significant steps remaining before construction are within the control and jurisdiction of the federal government and can be completed within 18 months."
The Deerfield Wind/Searsburg Expansion Project in the Green Mountain National Forest would add 15 two-megawatt turbines to the 6 MW facility. The expansion is estimated to generate enough power for up to 14,000 homes.
Deerfield Wind LLC has applied for a special use permit to use public lands under the management of the Forest Service. The issuance of the permit is a federal action that requires review under National Environmental Policy Act. USDA Forest Service is working to expedite a Final Environmental Impact Statement before December 2011.
The announcement comes as a result of the Presidential Memorandum issued in late August at the recommendation of his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
The federal reviews will not supersede local or state permitting, however, the council has stated that improving the efficiency and effectiveness of federal permit decisions and environmental reviews is a critical step to accelerate job creation.