As the nation as a whole and individual states take aggressive steps to promote cleaner energy sources, the vigorous public policy debate appears to be spilling into courtrooms. In recent years, in Connecticut alone, wind power, solar energy and natural gas initiatives have all resulted in major lawsuits. “This is a time of big movement in the history of energy and environmental law and policy,” said Joseph MacDougald, a law professor and executive director of the University of Connecticut Law School’s Center for Energy and Environmental Law. “Environmental law has seen a few times of giant change, the early 1900s, the 1970s and thanks to renewable energy, right now.”

Wind power took center stage in 2010, when a proposal to bring Connecticut’s first wind farm to the Northwest Corner drew staunch opposition from landowners in the Litchfield County town of Colebrook. The Connecticut Supreme Court recently sided with BNE Energy, which wants to build the wind farm, and the Connecticut Siting Counsel, which granted its approval.

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