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SCC gives go-ahead to Highland County wind farm foes

State regulators will consider the impact that a planned Highland County wind farm will have on a nearby Civil War battlefield, despite objections from the project's developer. A State Corporation Commission hearing examiner ruled Wednesday that a state agency could present evidence of the visual impacts the 400-foot-tall towers would have on Camp Allegheny, a historic battlefield just across the state line in West Virginia. A hearing has been set for Oct. 13.

The ruling lets an agency present evidence of effects the farm could have on a historic site.

RICHMOND -- State regulators will consider the impact that a planned Highland County wind farm will have on a nearby Civil War battlefield, despite objections from the project's developer.

A State Corporation Commission hearing examiner ruled Wednesday that a state agency could present evidence of the visual impacts the 400-foot-tall towers would have on Camp Allegheny, a historic battlefield just across the state line in West Virginia. A hearing has been set for Oct. 13.

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources filed a complaint with the SCC last month arguing that the wind farm "will likely have a negative impact on the pristine historic setting of Camp Allegheny." The battlefield is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The agency claimed that the project's developer, Highland New Wind Development, has not taken steps to minimize impacts on the battlefield and has violated terms of a 2007 SCC order approving the project. That order requires developers to work with the agency to assess the project's effect on nearby historic sites.

"They simply haven't done this work yet," said Senior Assistant... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The ruling lets an agency present evidence of effects the farm could have on a historic site.

RICHMOND -- State regulators will consider the impact that a planned Highland County wind farm will have on a nearby Civil War battlefield, despite objections from the project's developer.

A State Corporation Commission hearing examiner ruled Wednesday that a state agency could present evidence of the visual impacts the 400-foot-tall towers would have on Camp Allegheny, a historic battlefield just across the state line in West Virginia. A hearing has been set for Oct. 13.

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources filed a complaint with the SCC last month arguing that the wind farm "will likely have a negative impact on the pristine historic setting of Camp Allegheny." The battlefield is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The agency claimed that the project's developer, Highland New Wind Development, has not taken steps to minimize impacts on the battlefield and has violated terms of a 2007 SCC order approving the project. That order requires developers to work with the agency to assess the project's effect on nearby historic sites.

"They simply haven't done this work yet," said Senior Assistant Attorney General Steven Owens.

An attorney for the project's developer said issues of visual impacts already have been settled by the Highland County Board of Supervisors, which approved a conditional use permit for the project. The SCC's approval did not impose any additional requirements for a viewshed analysis, said John Flora, an attorney for Highland New Wind.

"That's a local responsibility," Flora said Wednesday during a hearing on the issue in Richmond. Flora had filed a motion asking the SCC to exclude evidence and testimony about viewshed issues when a hearing is held on the Department of Historic Resources complaint.

But SCC hearing examiner Alexander Skirpan said he would allow those issues to be covered in the Oct. 13 hearing.

The dispute between the developer and the state is just the latest battle in Highland New Wind's efforts to build the wind energy project on a ridge top in Highland County. The developers also face opponents who insist the project's 19 steel turbines would mar the county's natural beauty and damage wildlife.


Source: http://www.roanoke.com/news...

SEP 24 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/22333-scc-gives-go-ahead-to-highland-county-wind-farm-foes
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