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Tyrone approves Ice Mountain wind project

Windmills are one step closer to a reality for Ice Mountain as Gamesa USA ponies up an extra quarter of a million dollars for Tyrone Borough. Borough Council voted 5 to 2 to sign on with wind developer Gamesa USA for what will be a 30-year lease of parts of its 3,800-acre watershed in Snyder Township.

TYRONE - Windmills are one step closer to a reality for Ice Mountain as Gamesa USA ponies up an extra quarter of a million dollars for Tyrone Borough.

Borough Council voted 5 to 2 to sign on with wind developer Gamesa USA for what will be a 30-year lease of parts of its 3,800-acre watershed in Snyder Township. Only Mayor Jim Kilmartin and Councilman Steve Hanzir voted against the deal that will bring $3 million to $5 million in new revenue for the borough.

In addition, Gamesa is giving the borough $250,000 for a yet-to-be-determined community wide project - $125,000 upon signing and another $125,000 when wind farm operations start - as part of a "community improvement agreement."

The council will decide on the project.

In January, a vote ended in a tie. Councilman Bill Latchford won't vote on the issue because of workplace ties to Gamesa. Councilman Mark Kosoglow switched his vote Monday to support the project, and Councilwoman Pat Stoner, who missed the previous vote because of health issues, followed through on her promise to support it.

"I don't think there are any other viable options out there, and I'm not going to let the borough waste the opportunity to get $5 million," Kosoglow... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

TYRONE - Windmills are one step closer to a reality for Ice Mountain as Gamesa USA ponies up an extra quarter of a million dollars for Tyrone Borough.

Borough Council voted 5 to 2 to sign on with wind developer Gamesa USA for what will be a 30-year lease of parts of its 3,800-acre watershed in Snyder Township. Only Mayor Jim Kilmartin and Councilman Steve Hanzir voted against the deal that will bring $3 million to $5 million in new revenue for the borough.

In addition, Gamesa is giving the borough $250,000 for a yet-to-be-determined community wide project - $125,000 upon signing and another $125,000 when wind farm operations start - as part of a "community improvement agreement."

The council will decide on the project.

In January, a vote ended in a tie. Councilman Bill Latchford won't vote on the issue because of workplace ties to Gamesa. Councilman Mark Kosoglow switched his vote Monday to support the project, and Councilwoman Pat Stoner, who missed the previous vote because of health issues, followed through on her promise to support it.

"I don't think there are any other viable options out there, and I'm not going to let the borough waste the opportunity to get $5 million," Kosoglow said, adding that he was convinced by the extensive watershed report last fall that developing a wind farm there carried scant risk to the water system.

Kosoglow said he wanted to get the best deal from Gamesa and voted for the project because he believes the borough wouldn't receive any more than what is now on the table.

Solicitor Larry Clapper said the agreement is conditional on some wording issues that will be ironed out in the coming days. He said the borough's water authority, which technically leases the watershed from the borough, will also need to give its blessing.

Josh Framel, project manager for Gamesa's Sandy Ridge Wind Farm, said he was pleased with the vote and said the next step would be completion of local, state and federal development permits, including a waiver from Snyder Township for parts of its wind farm ordinance.

Because the proposed windmill sites, which include 10 to 15 on borough property, are part of a designated important bird area, township supervisors must grant the wind farm a waiver from the provisions in its 2008 ordinance.

Opponents of the wind farm, who gathered about 1,400 signatures against the project, said they weren't surprised.

"I'm disappointed more than anything," wind farm opponent Bob Roseberry said.

Councilman Steve Hanzir disagreed, pointing out the report, undertaken by State College-based Casselberry Associates and paid for by Gamesa, noted questions remained about the depth of bedrock on the mountain and its impact on aquifers.

Stoner, who is recuperating from heart surgery, voted at Monday's meeting by conference call. She delivered on her promise to support the project after a majority of Tyrone voters approved of it during an informal poll in the spring 2008 primary election.


Source: http://www.altoonamirror.co...

MAR 10 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/19408-tyrone-approves-ice-mountain-wind-project
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