Highlanders For Responsible Development (HRD) has donated $1,000 to support a West Virginia University research effort to better determine the status and behaviour of golden eagles in the central Appalachians, including Highland County and the surrounding area. A major concern for HRD and the WVU research group is the potential for golden eagle mortality and population impacts associated with construction of utility-scale wind turbines on mountain ridges in the region.
Sadly, once the layers of "woulds, coulds and shoulds" were peeled back, I found industrial wind failed to keep its environmental promises. Save the canned boilerplate responses to criticisms, the wind industry offered nothing conclusive to demonstrate it would significantly reduce emissions or close fossil fueled
plants. There is no conclusive evidence that one coal plant has been closed as a direct result of the installation of tens of thousands of wind turbines. Not one! I've asked advocates to name one facility. Answer . zippo!
All of these factors were addressed in the original Wind Energy Ordinance approved by the Northampton Planning Commission; however, the Board of Supervisors removed the Overlay District and changed other noise and flicker parameters before approving the final ordinance.
Say what you will about the evil fiends who run power companies, they are not stupid people. So it boggles the mind that a corporation as ostensibly rapacious as Dominion would pass up the opportunity to reap the obvious riches from doing as environmentalists wish. Could there be more to the issue than they are letting on?
There could. Let's start with some basic facts.
Leaving aside the questionable economics, inefficiency and massive tax subsidies required to induce investment in wind turbines, there are several other concrete -- and local -- reasons why the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors should vote against an ordinance allowing and encouraging industrial-scale wind turbines.
It's too soon to tell how this project might evolve, but there's no doubt Pendleton is no longer as vulnerable to the corporate push on wind power as it used to be. An informed citizenry makes all the difference.
There's not a full-time farmer in these mountains who wouldn't understand and sympathize with the Cow Knob families' desire to hang on to their land. ...But as much as we get their motives, we also know they're setting themselves up for a costly, protracted battle.
The prospect of windmills standing 440 feet above Poor Mountain, visible from distant mountain outlooks and the Roanoke Valley below, should make one thing clear to advocates and foes alike: A wind farm would have a big impact.
Virginians know that "Virginia is for Lovers." We also know the adage that love is blind. Such blindness is exemplified by Gov. Bob McDonnell's and Sen. Frank Wagner's love affair with renewable energy.
A euphemism for "permit by executive edict," it allows for favored projects to escape troublesome due-process reviews by the Department of Environmental Quality and local citizens. "Friends-of-Bob" trumps local constituents' concerns and environmental impacts.
Joe Coburn, president of the Mercer County Commission, said the board has not had any real discussions about whether or not to create a ridgeline ordinance for Mercer County. Coburn added he wasn't aware of any entity interested in building a wind turbine farm in Mercer County. ...Why repeat the same mistake made by Tazewell County.
The board probably thought this story was finished when they passed the so-called ridgeline protection ordinance on a 3-2 vote last February. But Dominion Resources is still in town, and they say they are committed to developing the newly dubbed Bluestone River Wind Farm. They are classifying it as a long-term project without an actual construction timeline.
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has proposed regulations for a Permit by Rule for so-called "small wind energy projects." The proposed regulations fall well short of satisfying the DEQ's legislative mandate to "include conditions and standards necessary to protect the commonwealth's natural resources."
This is to dispute recent propagandized information provided to area citizens from a green money-motivated industry posing as a green energy hero. A Chicago-based corporation, Invenergy, proposes to lay claim to our area mountain winds, beginning with 18 industrial-sized wind turbines on Roanoke County's Poor Mountain.
The bulk of the Cool Cities Coalition talking points are based on "coal mining: bad; wind turbines: good." This rhetorical trick is the fallacy of false choice, as in "it's better to drink bleach than gasoline," while neglecting alternatives, such as drinking water, whisky or nothing at all.
The coalition can't prove "wind turbines: good."
It would behoove us as citizens to do as much research as possible to understand the full ramifications of the impact before these [wind farm] are installed. Once they go in, they are here to stay. A once thriving community will be dismantled -- forever.
Maybe, just maybe, after all this time, Highland supervisors are getting the message. ...That is: Citizens opposed to Highland New Wind Development's wind power facility
are not against the idea of generating electricity with renewable, "green" energy. They're opposed to the location of the 400-foot towers this company chose in our county, and the lack of adequate planning in this case to avoid negative environmental impacts.
Industrial wind plants are the fastest growing form of alternative energy.
They make electricity without producing greenhouse gases, but how truly green they are depends on where they are located.
Some turbines out west routinely kill thousands of birds, and rare sagebrush grouse stand to lose their most important habitat to concrete grids of turbine pads.
Along eastern mountain ridges beneath migratory flyways, more bats and songbirds are killed by turbines than anywhere else in the world.
On Jan. 27, county staff gave the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors a draft of a new zoning ordinance, which, if approved, would give a special use permit to two wind companies. The companies, Solaya Inc. out of Massachusetts and Dominion Utility out of Richmond, want to put large wind turbines on a private mountaintop near Criders. There are a number of problems with wind farms.
We're open to Chicago-based Invenergy's latest proposal to come into the Roanoke Valley with a plan to put 15 windmills on top of Poor Mountain.
Yes, along a ridgeline in prominent view as traffic along Interstate 81 comes and goes through the Roanoke Valley. ...That doesn't mean we're ready to endorse Invenergy's project, though.