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Wind farm project draws criticism in Storey County

A planned windmill project would hurt the local economy and has no place in the county, Storey County officials said Tuesday. The 69 windmills proposed by Reno-based Great Basin Wind for mountains north of Carson City and west of Virginia City would affect tourism in the historic mining district and cause other problems, county commissioners and staff said.

VIRGINIA CITY - A planned windmill project would hurt the local economy and has no place in the county, Storey County officials said Tuesday.

The 69 windmills proposed by Reno-based Great Basin Wind for mountains north of Carson City and west of Virginia City would affect tourism in the historic mining district and cause other problems, county commissioners and staff said.

The county asked the public for comments about the project that could have windmills more that 300 feet tall.

Great Basin Wind started an application process for its New Comstock Wind Energy Project in December with the Bureau of Land Management. It could take two years to complete the process because of the studies involved.

The business will go to Carson City, Storey and Washoe counties in February and March to ask for approval from the local governments' planning departments. The project is expected to generate 192 megawatts of energy for thousands of homes.

But county officials including Planning Director Dean Haymore said the sight of windmills would hurt many places in Storey County.

"We're not against the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

VIRGINIA CITY - A planned windmill project would hurt the local economy and has no place in the county, Storey County officials said Tuesday.

The 69 windmills proposed by Reno-based Great Basin Wind for mountains north of Carson City and west of Virginia City would affect tourism in the historic mining district and cause other problems, county commissioners and staff said.

The county asked the public for comments about the project that could have windmills more that 300 feet tall.

Great Basin Wind started an application process for its New Comstock Wind Energy Project in December with the Bureau of Land Management. It could take two years to complete the process because of the studies involved.

The business will go to Carson City, Storey and Washoe counties in February and March to ask for approval from the local governments' planning departments. The project is expected to generate 192 megawatts of energy for thousands of homes.

But county officials including Planning Director Dean Haymore said the sight of windmills would hurt many places in Storey County.

"We're not against the windmills or alternative energy," he said. "We're just worried this isn't the place."

Haymore and county staff collected a list of concerns about the project including its sight, noise, safety, economic impact, harm to animals and other possible problems.

Commissioner Greg Hess said that even if the windmills were out of sight, they could take over the habitat of animals including wild horses.

"You take that away from them, they have nowhere else to go," he said.
A few residents spoke, including Candance Silveria of Virginia City through a letter to the commission.

"The ‘historical attraction' of our area goes beyond the buildings, it is the entire visual experience that creates the atmosphere and ambiance so important to our livelihood," she wrote.

But Rich Hamilton, president of Great Basin Wind, said in an interview that no one should judge the $200 million to $400 million project until they have all the facts that will come out through studies for the BLM application.

Most concerns about the project are "overblown," he said. Residents will have to accept the sight of the windmills as their part in leading a new wave of energy production, but that is a small price for the benefits of an environmentally friendly project.

"We don't have Lewis and Clark anymore," he said. "There are no longer resources over the next hill." 


Source: http://www.nevadaappeal.com...

JAN 21 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/18696-wind-farm-project-draws-criticism-in-storey-county
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