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Lewes group questions University of Delaware wind turbine; Project built without environmental studies, permits

The public was effectively shut out of the process. While the university hosted several public meetings where they explained the proposal and answered questions, there was never an open and independent regulatory review or hearing where the public could ask questions, raise concerns or protest the plan.

Delaware's first wind turbine, built at the University of Delaware's campus in Lewes, didn't require a wetlands permit, a subaqueous lands permit or even a Coastal Zone Status Review.

No studies that looked at bats, birds or other wildlife in the vicinity -- data that could later be used to determine the impact on wildlife from the rotor sweep zone, noise or habitat fragmentation -- were required.

"Everything was done to facilitate the University of Delaware getting that up as quickly as possible without public hearing," said Gerald A. Lechliter, a retired U.S. Army colonel who lives near the new turbine.

Lechliter is one of several dozen area residents who questioned whether state environmental officials were so intent on seeing a green, wind energy alternative up and running that they didn't require the university to go through the same permit and review procedures that would have been required for a conventional power-generating facility, Lechliter said.

Some fear the precedent could... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Delaware's first wind turbine, built at the University of Delaware's campus in Lewes, didn't require a wetlands permit, a subaqueous lands permit or even a Coastal Zone Status Review.

No studies that looked at bats, birds or other wildlife in the vicinity -- data that could later be used to determine the impact on wildlife from the rotor sweep zone, noise or habitat fragmentation -- were required.

"Everything was done to facilitate the University of Delaware getting that up as quickly as possible without public hearing," said Gerald A. Lechliter, a retired U.S. Army colonel who lives near the new turbine.

Lechliter is one of several dozen area residents who questioned whether state environmental officials were so intent on seeing a green, wind energy alternative up and running that they didn't require the university to go through the same permit and review procedures that would have been required for a conventional power-generating facility, Lechliter said.

Some fear the precedent could clear the way for the university to launch a turbine testing center in the area without public or regulator reviews.

The state also allowed construction of the turbine on state-owned land -- a move that has prompted a strong objection from the state's Open Space Council.

Lechliter said the public was effectively shut out of the process. He said that while the university hosted several public meetings where they explained the proposal and answered questions, there was never an open and independent regulatory review or hearing where the public could ask questions, raise concerns or protest the plan.
"Having an informational meeting is just not the same," Lechliter said.

Visible for miles

The turbine is 256 feet tall and can be seen from as far away as Slaughter Beach and across Delaware Bay in New Jersey. The commercial-grade turbine produces 2 megawatts of electricity -- enough at peak capacity to provide all the power at the university's Lewes campus with some left over to sell to Lewes.

Lechliter is a member of Citizens Advocating a Livable Lewes, which contends that the turbine could negatively impact human health and reduce property values.


Source: http://www.delawareonline.c...

APR 27 2011
http://www.windaction.org/posts/30734-lewes-group-questions-university-of-delaware-wind-turbine-project-built-without-environmental-studies-permits
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