SWANTON — Swanton Wind’s developers are getting a partial refund of their $100,000 regulatory application fee, and they won’t have to pay other parties’ attorney fees should they decide to renew the project.
That’s according to a Vermont Supreme Court ruling issued Dec. 21.
Attorneys Leslie A. Cadwell and Alison Milbury Stone filed an appeal to the Supreme Court after the project’s developers, Swanton residents Travis and Ashley Belisle, withdrew the project’s regulatory application in Nov. 2017.
At the same time, Cadwell asked the Public Utility Commission (PUC), which regulates Vermont energy projects, to order the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) to refund the Belisles’ $100,000 application fee. Upon filing a project application with the PUC, applicants pay that fee not to the PUC, but to the ANR.
The fee’s stated purpose, per Vermont statute Title 30, Section 248b, is to support the ANR in reviewing applications. The money goes directly to the Natural Resources Management Fund.
In response to Cadwell’s request, the PUC stated it did not have statutory authority to order the ANR to refund the Belisles’ application fee.
The PUC also responded to motions filed by the multiple parties in opposition to the project, asking to be reimbursed for their legal fees.
“We will consider such requests in the future if Swanton Wind decides to file a new or amended petition for this project or a similar project in the same general location,” the PUC stated.
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