Those headed to West Virginia’s capital city this week for hearings on the Liberty Gap wind utility proposal came home early.
The state’s Public Service Commission was set to begin evidentiary hearings Tuesday morning on Liberty Gap LLC’s request for a permit to build a 50-megawatt wind energy facility on Jack Mountain in Pendleton County.
But at the last minute, the company realized it had not published public notices about the hearings as required by the PSC.
When it realized the error, Liberty Gap asked the PSC to postpone the hearings 30 days, and move the statutory deadline for the PSC’s final decision back 30 days as well.
The PSC denied that motion, and cancelled the evidentiary portion of the hearings, though it did receive limited public comment on the project Tuesday, and agreed to hear argument from all parties involved about how to proceed.
Sullivan 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.
While it takes most lawyers over seven years of hard work before being admitted to the West Virginia State Bar, don't tell that to real estate appraiser Jeffrey Eisenbeiss. While arguing against the proposed Greenbrier County windfarm in front of the state Supreme Court of Appeals on Monday, one justice mistook him for the real thing.
Eisenbeiss and his wife Alicia filed as "intervenors" in 2005 with the Public Service Commission when Beech Ridge Energy announced plans to build their part of a $300 million electric-producing windfarm near their home in Renick. Some of the proposed 400-foot tall turbines fall within one mile of their front porch. The Eisenbiess' decided to file "pro se" - without the aid of a lawyer - despite having no legal background.
"It's been a combined effort for the two of us," Jeffrey told The Register-Herald after his experience of being in front of the highest court in the state. "We have filed at least a half dozen legal documents."
Justices of the state Supreme Court of Appeals gasped and groaned when Public Service Commission attorney John Auville told them the commission and its employees are learning about wind turbines as they go along.
His comment, in oral argument Jan. 9, alarmed the Justices because the commission conditionally has approved construction of 124 turbines, each 400 feet tall, in Greenbrier County.
Auville sensed that he had embarrassed his client.
In a stunning reversal of fortune for anti-windfarm advocates, the state Supreme Court of Appeals on Wednesday unanimously agreed to hear two cases claiming the West Virginia Public Service Commission erred last fall in their decision to give the green light for building 124 electric-producing wind turbines in northern Greenbrier County.
The decisions by Chief Justice Robin Davis, and Justices Larry V. Starcher, Elliott E. "Spike" Maynard, Joseph P. Albright, and Brent D. Benjamin were released late Wednesday by court information services director Jennifer Bundy.
Mountain Communities For Responsible Energy (MCRE), along with Jeffrey and Alicia Eisenbeiss, filed the petitions asking the high court to hear why they disagree with the PSC ruling. The Eisenbeiss' filed "pro se" - without the aid of a lawyer.