As Virginia wrangles over the visual impact of 400-foot towers on nearby historic properties, a similar situation in West Virginia resulted in a $10,000 grant offer from a wind energy company building 23 wind turbines overlooking some 18 historic places in Mineral County.
Not everyone agrees it's an appropriate solution, but Pinnacle Wind Force LLC offered to make that amount available for historic preservation efforts after the West Virginia Division of Culture and History (the State Historic Preservation Office) found its wind project would have an adverse impact on historic resources nearby.
"A wind farm is an industrial installation of vast proportions," noted civic activist Dave Buhrman this week, "and, if erected on the loftiest ridges, its industrial flavor becomes the new focal point for all view-sheds within a 15-mile radius."
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A citizens group has asked the state Public Service Commission to bar the developers of a wind farm in Grant County from doing any construction until the agency determines that its pre-construction requirements have been met
Late last week, eleven citizens groups filed a Sixty Day Notice of Intent to Sue NedPower Mt. Storm and its corporate owners Dominion Resources, and Shell Wind Energy for violations of the Endangered Species Act involving the "takes" of the West Virginia northern flying squirrel, the Indiana bat, and the Virginia big-eared bat.
The letter, sent to the Fish and Wildlife Service, NedPower and the West Virginia Public Service Commission, also raises concerns about impacts to bald and golden eagles and migrating birds protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Acts.
The groups are demanding that the industrial wind corporation apply for an incidental take permit and modify or stop construction of this project before irreparable harm is done to West Virginia's natural heritage.
Opposition and proponents to the US Wind Force Pinnacle Project both admitted during a community meeting that they may never see eye to eye.
"I don't think you all understand when someone is opposed to this," Mike Wilson, Keyser area resident, said. "We are selling our mountains, we are selling our souls. Are they worth it? You're not going to change their minds by having them talk to this person or that person. ... It's within our culture in West Virginia. These are our heritage."
The debate over proposed windmills being placed in Randolph and Barbour counties came to the Elkins City Council meeting Thursday night. Although a proposed ordinance to express council's opposition to the AES' Laurel Mountain windmill farm project was on the agenda, council took no action.
The resolution was not prepared for council to take a vote and a debate started within the crowd following a informational presentation by West Virginia Green Energy Alliance representative Joel Martin.
"There has been a fairly focused campaign to distribute information that is not accurate," Martin said. "The project will not lead to a disaster on the mountains." ...Beckwith also asked Martin what affects the windmills would have on the ecology and environment.
"I cannot guarantee that there will be no destruction," Martin responded.
Industrial-scale wind farms have altered the rural landscape in places where the natural environment and quiet living are high priorities. Some local residents and conservationists say wind turbines are an assault on both.
Raney spoke highly of U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., for being a strong voice for coal, although he disagrees with Rockefeller's stand on so-called cap-and-trade legislation.
"We don't need cap and trade," Raney said. "It will raise your power bills. Power companies will charge you all more money."
Wind farming or strip mining? Which energy extraction method should be used on Coal River Mountain?
Residents of Clear Fork, Marsh Fork and other Raleigh County areas, with the support of environmental and community organizations such as Coal River Mountain Watch, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Appalachian Voices and the Sierra Club, asked the Raleigh County Commission Tuesday to support a proposed wind farm, which they say offers more long-term economic, social and environmental benefits to the county.
The Mineral County Commission moved Tuesday to go on record in support of the proposed Pinnacle Wind Farm.
The support, however, is not unanimous.
After going into executive session to discuss "legal matters," which they later said related to the proposed contract in which WindForce will agree to commit itself to a "floor" for tax revenue to be generated by the project, two of the commissioners said they felt it was time for the county to commit to a position.
The Allegany County Board of Commissioners on Thursday granted the president of US Wind Force a meeting to discuss why a proposed bill to regulate the wind industry is a bad idea.
Tom Matthews appealed during the public comment period of Thursday’s weekly meeting that amendments to the zoning code — drafted to protect the county and its residents — are too restrictive.
Saying the Mineral County Commissioners "need more facts" in regard to the ongoing controversy over wind farms, Pamela Dodds and Judy O'Hara of the Allegheny Front Alliance spoke to the officials at length Tuesday in an attempt to debunk several claims being made by proponents of wind energy.
"I believe you need some more facts in order to better understand the claims that are being made," Dodds said. "U.S. Wind Force has made sweeping claims that are inaccurate and misleading."
Raleigh County commissioners interrupted their regular meeting Tuesday to host a public information hearing regarding a proposed Pluto wind farm. ...Although a property in Pluto owned by Earl Long has been identified as one possible spot for a wind farm known as Angel Winds, Jobs Project Director Eric Mathis was quick to point out the project was not currently "moving forward."
The Mineral County Commissioners are hoping to have some questions answered this evening, as they meet with representatives of U.S. Wind Force.
The meeting with Wind Force, the company proposing to construct the Pinnacle Wind Farm on Green Mountain above Keyser, was the topic of discussion at the commission's June 9 meeting, when Commission President Wayne Spiggle said he wanted to meet with the group but was not interested in a "sales pitch."
An unnamed company has started the application process to build 131 of the massive wind turbines in the national forest in Rockingham County and along the border between Virginia's Shenandoah County and Hardy County in West Virginia.
"We're in the pre-application stage" with the company proposing to build the turbines, Chris Rose, a spokesman for the George Washington & Jefferson National Forests, said Monday. Rose declined to name the company, citing its early application status, which allows the federal agency to keep the name confidential.
WASHINGTON - An unusual coalition of conservationists and coal advocates told Congress on Tuesday that before the nation continues its rapid expansion of wind power, an assessment is needed of how many bats and birds are maimed and killed by wind turbines' blades.
That study should be followed up with regulations to protect those species, witnesses told a House Natural Resources subcommittee.
A U.S. congressman has added his voice to those who seek to protect Camp Allegheny, the Civil War battlefield now considered endangered by the industrial wind energy utility under construction nearby.
Congressman Nick J. Rahall II (D-3rd District) of Beckley represents 17 counties in West Virginia, including Pocahontas County, where the battleground lies.
Charles Parnell, vice president of public affairs for Edison Mission Energy, said the goal of the community meetings is to keep people informed and that due to the bad weather last week, only 25 to 30 people attended.