www.windaction.orgfacts, analysis, exposure of wind energy's real impactsWindactionhttp://www.windaction.org/articles/c38+106?theme=atomXarayar2006-06-12T02:16:27ZRoanoke County bird-watchers worry about windmills' wake.331712011-09-29T02:33:21Z2011-09-29T02:33:21ZSo far this year, they have recorded more than 2,800 raptors above Poor Mountain, which is along the migratory path that can take the birds all the way to South America.
Raptors are threatened by turbines because they fly at such high elevations and tend to follow ridgelines when they migrate.
Wind, wilderness chief forest plan concerns.326872011-08-07T01:02:33Z2011-08-07T01:02:33ZDuring question-and-answer and breakout sessions, citizens asked U.S. Forest Service staff to remove any proposed areas for wind energy development from the plan. Currently, the draft would allow applications for wind projects to be submitted on about one-half of the forest.
Judge reverses Interior's decision to delist flying squirrel .315492011-03-29T17:38:28Z2011-03-29T17:38:28ZSullivan found the agency failed to follow its own recovery plan and based its removal of the squirrel from the list on other criteria. The law requires such decisions to be based on recovery plans, which cannot be revised without public input.
A final attempt at resolution: Highland New Wind Development confronts the Endangered Species Act.307182011-01-11T04:58:18Z2011-01-11T04:58:18ZHNWD was put on notice in May of 2010 that citizens intend to bring suit in federal court to seek compliance with the ESA if HNWD chooses to go forward without an ITP in the face of clear risk to endangered Indiana and Virginia big-eared bats.
Construction was briefly initiated at the project site in late 2009.
Bird naturalists, environmentalists fear windmills endanger migrating birds .305982011-01-01T15:12:44Z2011-01-01T15:12:44ZAdding wind turbines to the obstacle course migratory birds face already creates one more challenge they do not need, naturalists with the American Bird Conservatory stated recently. ..."Most of those ridges in the east are used by migratory birds," said Mike Parr, a spokesman for the conservancy. "There are two main areas. One is used by raptors, hawks and related birds that migrate during the daytime."
New legal battle looms for Highland New Wind.277282010-06-09T12:52:32Z2010-06-09T12:52:32ZMGC attorney William S. Eubanks notified HNWD by letter that the company's wind energy project will "almost certainly result in unauthorized takes of Indiana bats and Virginia big-eared bats," in violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The letter demands that HNWD obtain an incidental take permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) or face either a USFWS enforcement action or a citizen suit by the above-named groups. Wind project remains at standstill; Citizens continue push for endangered species permit.264302010-03-25T18:24:09Z2010-03-25T18:24:09ZConstruction on the 38-megawatt wind utility planned for Allegheny Mountain has not resumed yet, according to Highland building official Jim Whitelaw.
Whitelaw visited the project site this week for an inspection, and said no work is under way and the developer has not applied for its building permits.
Highland New Wind Development LLC told county supervisors in January it intends to apply for a federal Incidental Take Permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which
requires creating a Habitat Conservation Plan to protect endangered species.
According to Kim Smith, a USFWS biologist, the company should get such a permit. âIn fact, in all of our letters (to HNWD) we have always said they should get one. Weâve
been telling them to do this all along,â she said.
A group of Highland citizens agrees. They have notified county supervisors three times that they intend to file legal action in federal court unless HNWD gets an ITP, and would
hold the county board responsible if one is not obtained.Hearing Scheduled on Highland New Wind Compliance with SCC Order.229822009-09-04T22:20:40Z2009-09-04T22:20:40ZHighland New Wind Development (HNWD), the self-touted "Greenest Wind Farm in the World," has initiated clearing, road work, and excavation for its 19-turbine project in the remote Allegheny Mountain, Laurel Fork area along the Highland County-Pocahontas County, Virginia-West Virginia border. ...The SCC has scheduled a hearing to be convened on September 23, 2009 to receive evidence and testimony from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR) and HNWD concerning the wind energy developer's compliance with the SCC's December 2007 order Highland New Wind's loss of green credentials.220962009-07-13T01:06:15Z2009-07-13T01:06:15ZA month ago HNWD development made national news when its public relations firm announced that Virginia's first utility scale wind project was ready to start construction. As indicated here, that was a blatant misrepresentation. HNWD does not have a building permit, does not have an Erosion and Sediment Control permit, does not have approval from the FAA, has not satisfied the permit conditions imposed by the State Corporation Commission (SCC), and has not obtained an Endangered Species Act permit. Avian center official: Windmills could impact migration.201072009-02-20T05:09:09Z2009-02-20T05:09:09ZWendy Perrone, executive director of the Three Rivers Avian Center in Brooks, W.Va., said Friday that she had not seen all the details about the project, but there are some concerns.
"The mountain range is a migration route used for many decades and centuries....from butterflies to bats up to and including eagles," she said.
Windmill projects have a potential for killing bats. Why this happens is not yet clear, Perrone said.
Wind utility permit conditions still a concern.197212009-01-29T12:56:05Z2009-01-29T12:56:05ZDespite Highland New Wind Development's request for streamlined treatment from state agencies, the Department of Historic Resources has determined the company must still submit a detailed site plan and visual impact study, particularly because its proposed 39-megawatt wind energy utility would be near a protected Civil War battlefield.
Energy answer blowing in the wind?.160502008-05-27T04:58:41Z2008-05-27T04:58:41ZThe Albemarle County Planning Commission has thrown out the idea of allowing commercial wind turbines in the county-but it's mulling the idea of smaller wind turbines for individual homeowners. ...the devices are behemoths that are up to 550' tall, dwarfing everything around them.
"As I understand it, where they might be adequate, there would be unacceptable environmental consequences to the surrounding area," says Commissioner Jon Cannon. Fellow Commissioner Marcia Joseph echoed Cannon's feelings on commercial wind turbine creation.
"My main concern is lining the ridgeline with commercial-sized wind turbines," says UVA Environmental Sciences Professor Rick Webb. "I'm concerned about industrial scale development intruding on what remains of wilderness areas we have left."
Blowing in the wind: Alternative energy may be on horizon for Shenandoah Valley.151522008-04-09T20:07:00Z2008-04-09T20:07:00ZFreedom Works is planning the project to span the ridge line running along the border between Va. and West Va. The line runs from approximately five miles north of Woodstock to about five miles South of Mount Jackson, along the Western horizon. This would cover eighteen miles of ridgeline, in two states (Virginia and West Virginia), and three counties (Hardy in West Virginia, and Shenandoah and Rockingham in
The timeline for the project runs from as short as a two-year, permit-gathering phase (followed by one to two years of construction) to a completion date as far off as the year 2040. When asked about a reported 2010 completion date for the project, Jim Smalls, district ranger for the Lee Ranger District within which the project is being planned, simply said, "I find that optimistic."
Wind project moving ahead; permit concerns still an issue.150702008-04-03T23:52:59Z2008-04-03T23:52:59ZThe Highland New Wind Development wind utility project is moving ahead, H.T. 'Mac' McBride told supervisors Tuesday. "We have approval (from VDOT) for both entrances (state line and cattle crossing on Laurel Fork). The power purchase agreement is being worked on by our people in Minnesota." ...Highland resident Rick Webb told the board, "It has been suggested on multiple occasions that it would be in the county's best interest to require that HNWD develop a habitat conservation plan and obtain an incidental take permit in compliance with the federal Endangered Species Act. The conditional use permit issued by the previous board of supervisors stipulated that HNWD would be required to obtain all required state and federal approvals before the project is allowed to go forward. Both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries have recommended that HNWD obtain an incidental take permit in order to avoid penalties and possible project shut down. The State Corporation Commission acknowledged that HNWD was assuming a business risk by not obtaining an ITP.Feelings mixed over proposed wind farms.148412008-03-26T13:27:43Z2008-03-26T13:27:43ZProposals for wind farms in the Valley are whipping up opposing viewpoints about the structures' effects on wildlife, local vistas and energy production.
Opponents say the turbines, each hundreds of feet tall, would mar the local landscape and endanger bats and birds, some of which are federally protected.
But proponents say the farms can be built with minimum impact on the environment to offer clean, alternative energy and a break from the nation's dependency on foreign oil. ...After studying maps and coordinates provided by the Federal Aviation Administration, consultant D. Daniel Boone, a conservation biologist and policy analyst, said the FreedomWorks' project could negatively affect untouched areas of the George Washington National Forest.
"Other than a power line and one small road which crosses between Hardy and Shenandoah counties, the project area is completely undisturbed forest with no sign of logging roads or clear-cuts," Boone stated.
Citizens still might sue county.145342008-03-06T23:07:10Z2008-03-06T23:07:10ZHighland citizens have once again reminded county supervisors of their intent to sue the board if proper conditions are not met by Highland New Wind Development LLC.
In a Feb. 27 letter addressed to the board, county attorney Melissa Dowd, county administrator Roberta Lambert, and zoning administrator Jim Whitelaw, the law firm of Woods Rogers outlined the citizens' expectations based on the conditional use permit granted to the developer July 14, 2005.
Attorney James Jennings, writing on behalf of his clients, first contacted the county in July 2005 informing officials that if they granted a building permit to HNWD they could be violating the Endangered Species Act.
Turbines fan controversy; Proposed wind farm site is home to endangered wildlife.144402008-03-02T13:51:47Z2008-03-02T13:51:47ZIn addition to killing birds, wind turbines at other sites have been found to kill bats, said Rick Lambert, a member of the Virginia Highlands Grotto of the National Speleological Society and local bat enthusiast.
At the Mountaineer Wind Energy Center in West Virginia, 47.5 bats were killed per turbine annually, he said.
In addition to common bats, there are 41 Indiana Bat caves within 50 miles and 23 Virginia Big-eared Bat caves within 30 miles of the proposed wind farm, Lambert said. Both species of bats are endangered and the turbines will be well within their migratory distance, he said.
Turbines Must Deal With The Birds And The Bats.137802008-01-25T14:33:42Z2008-01-25T14:33:42ZThe environmental impact of Virginia's first wind farm in Highland County could shed light on how successful such farms will be in the Valley, state officials say.
State agencies, led by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, will monitor the Highland New Wind Development LLC's 20 wind turbines to see how federally protected bats and birds are affected.
Biologists are concerned that inland wind farms on the East Coast could kill large numbers of common bats, and possibly affect the federally protected Indiana bat and Virginia big-eared bat, according to the State Corporation Commission.
The commission approved the Highland County project this week but required the developers to study its impact on the animals.
"We still have no experience in Virginia," said Ken Schrad, an SCC spokesman. "The Highland project, with its monitoring and mitigation program, will provide that experience for future projects." State approves wind plant permit; Residents, supervisors consider next moves.134232008-01-03T23:43:53Z2008-01-03T23:43:53ZHNWD attorneys Brian Brake and John Flora declined to make any comment on the SCC's decision or answer questions about how the company will proceed from here.
At this point, Bailey said he doubted the SCC would reconsider its permit order. "Legal arguments at the SCC are always edgy, and here, it's so clear how seriously they have taken the environment. The chances (of an appeal) prevailing are remote ... This has set a wonderful precedent for Virginia, and I can't see wind turbines exploding in this state now."
And, before construction can begin, HNWD is required to submit a final site plan. The company cannot do anything, including storing equipment on site, until that site plan is approved. Before HNWD can get a county building permit, it must also file a performance bond. For the first partial year and five subsequent years, that bond must be for $2,500 per turbine tower; for the remaining years, the amount is $6,000 each.
Power In The Breeze; McBride Seeks Funding For Wind Energy Project.133412007-12-27T14:10:09Z2007-12-27T14:10:09ZLast week, the State Corporation Commission granted conditional approval for the company to build up to 20 turbines, each about 400 feet tall, on Red Oak Knob and Tamarack Ridge near the West Virginia border. ...McBride's project faced considerable opposition from environmentalists.
It was widespread among residents who see Highland County as a pristine rural area and "a sort of last frontier," Sullenberger said.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries summarized the opposition in a September 2006 letter to the SCC.
"We support the use of alternative energy sources, including wind energy" the DGIF said. "However, we feel this project presents an unacceptable risk to wildlife."