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Wind farm developers address state's concerns

The SCC had scheduled the hearing on a complaint from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, which had accused Highland New Wind Development of failing to consult with it on how the wind farm will affect the nearby Camp Allegheny battlefield. But on Friday, Highland New Wind provided two preliminary studies to the Department of Historic Resources, according to a motion filed with the SCC late in the day.

The site in Highland County where the turbines would sit overlooks a Civil War battlefield.

The developers of a wind farm in Highland County have taken preliminary steps to assess the project's impact on a Civil War battlefield, a state agency said Friday.

As a result, a hearing before the State Corporation Commission that had been set for Tuesday was postponed until Nov. 10.

The SCC had scheduled the hearing on a complaint from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, which had accused Highland New Wind Development of failing to consult with it on how the wind farm will affect the nearby Camp Allegheny battlefield.

But on Friday, Highland New Wind provided two preliminary studies to the Department of Historic Resources, according to a motion filed with the SCC late in the day.

The two reports "should serve as the beginning of a constructive consultation" that had previously been lacking between the developers and the agency, an attorney for the Department of Historic Resources wrote in a motion to continue the hearing.

"Since constructive consultation is what DHR sought when it filed the complaint, it does not seem appropriate to proceed with a hearing," Assistant Attorney General Steve Owens... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The site in Highland County where the turbines would sit overlooks a Civil War battlefield.

The developers of a wind farm in Highland County have taken preliminary steps to assess the project's impact on a Civil War battlefield, a state agency said Friday.

As a result, a hearing before the State Corporation Commission that had been set for Tuesday was postponed until Nov. 10.

The SCC had scheduled the hearing on a complaint from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, which had accused Highland New Wind Development of failing to consult with it on how the wind farm will affect the nearby Camp Allegheny battlefield.

But on Friday, Highland New Wind provided two preliminary studies to the Department of Historic Resources, according to a motion filed with the SCC late in the day.

The two reports "should serve as the beginning of a constructive consultation" that had previously been lacking between the developers and the agency, an attorney for the Department of Historic Resources wrote in a motion to continue the hearing.

"Since constructive consultation is what DHR sought when it filed the complaint, it does not seem appropriate to proceed with a hearing," Assistant Attorney General Steve Owens wrote.

Camp Allegheny is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the battlefield has become the latest issue in a long-running battle between the wind farm developers and residents who say the turbines will spoil the natural beauty of Highland County.

Although site preparation began in August, construction of the 400-foot-tall towers is not expected to start until next year.

John Flora, an attorney for Highland New Wind, said one of the reports submitted to the Department of Historic Resources addressed a key area of contention: the view of the towers from the battlefield, just across the West Virginia line.

Flora said there are a few points on the battlefield where the towers will be visible, but that the viewshed impact is in line with what Highland County envisioned when it granted a conditional-use permit for the project.

"That's a possibility." Flora said when asked if additional talks between Highland New Wind and DHR could eliminate the need for a hearing before the SCC.

Although DHR has said the project would likely have a negative impact on the battlefield, the basis of its complaint to the SCC dealt with the developer's previous failure to consult with the agency about its concerns.

The 19 turbines, which the developers say will produce enough electricity to power about 12,000 homes, would be part of the first commercial wind farm in Virginia.


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

OCT 10 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/22580-wind-farm-developers-address-state-s-concerns
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