- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The Vermont Public Service Board on Tuesday rejected an application to build a 37-megawatt wood-fired power plant in the town of Springfield.

In its final order issued Tuesday, the board ruled the proposal by the North Springfield Sustainable Energy Project would unduly interfere with the orderly development of the region and the power benefits of the plant could be provided in a more cost-effective manner through energy conservation programs and energy-efficiency.

The project would have used wood chips trucked to the site and produced low-cost steam heat for the businesses in the industrial park and some neighbors.

Supporters said the project would have served as an economic stimulator for the greater Springfield area, bringing an estimated 160 jobs to the region and hundreds of millions of dollars of investment. But opponents said the project would have created traffic problems and increased local pollution.

Project partner Chan Morgan told the Claremont Eagle Times that the board’s decision was disappointing.

“I grew up in the area and this is a terrific project and it’s upsetting, overall. It would have brought a lot of great opportunities to the area - revitalizing the business park and the rest, so we’re hopeful it can revive,” Morgan said.

Robert Kischko of the North Springfield Action Group, which opposed the proposal, said members of the group are thrilled.

“They still have an opportunity to appeal, but (the PSB) is not granting them the certificate of public good based upon greenhouse gas emissions and the inefficiency of the plant,” said Kischko.

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