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PSC crackdown - Lesson for antagonists

.....the PSC decision sends a clear message: Builders of controversial projects should be reasonable toward all concerned parties, instead of turning hostile to those who question. West Virginia’s majestic crests may belong to the landowners, but they’re also the spiritual property of all residents. Polite cooperation is needed in deciding the fate of those beloved summits.

LAST week, the state Public Service Commission dismissed a wind farm developer’s application to erect 50 huge turbines on Jack Mountain in Pendleton County. The reason? Because Liberty Gap Wind Force refused to let a hydrologist hired by local windmill opponents onto its property.

Because of the company’s hostility, the PSC rejected Liberty Gap’s plan to build 400-foot rotors along a six-mile ridge. Permit hearings scheduled for August on the $100 million project have been canceled.

The hydrologist hired by opponents had planned to study environmental effects of the giant turbines and of digging 40-foot holes to stabilize their bases on the mountaintops. Those effects included the possibility of water running down steep slopes into residential communities or draining into nearby limestone caves.

Liberty Gap officials were stunned by the PSC decision. Perhaps the action by the regulatory agency isn’t final, but will be reconsidered if the firm adopts a more cooperative attitude.

Wind farms increasingly are a subject of conflict in West Virginia. Many environmentalists, bitterly opposed to mountaintop removal coal mining, endorse windmills as a nature-friendly way to obtain electricity. Some... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

LAST week, the state Public Service Commission dismissed a wind farm developer’s application to erect 50 huge turbines on Jack Mountain in Pendleton County. The reason? Because Liberty Gap Wind Force refused to let a hydrologist hired by local windmill opponents onto its property.

Because of the company’s hostility, the PSC rejected Liberty Gap’s plan to build 400-foot rotors along a six-mile ridge. Permit hearings scheduled for August on the $100 million project have been canceled.

The hydrologist hired by opponents had planned to study environmental effects of the giant turbines and of digging 40-foot holes to stabilize their bases on the mountaintops. Those effects included the possibility of water running down steep slopes into residential communities or draining into nearby limestone caves.

Liberty Gap officials were stunned by the PSC decision. Perhaps the action by the regulatory agency isn’t final, but will be reconsidered if the firm adopts a more cooperative attitude.

Wind farms increasingly are a subject of conflict in West Virginia. Many environmentalists, bitterly opposed to mountaintop removal coal mining, endorse windmills as a nature-friendly way to obtain electricity. Some labor groups, such as the Affiliated Construction Trades Foundation, also back wind farms because of temporary construction jobs they create. But other nature-lovers tilt at windmills because the tall whirlers are unsightly and kill birds.

Aside from this dispute, the PSC decision sends a clear message: Builders of controversial projects should be reasonable toward all concerned parties, instead of turning hostile to those who question. West Virginia’s majestic crests may belong to the landowners, but they’re also the spiritual property of all residents. Polite cooperation is needed in deciding the fate of those beloved summits.


Source: http://sundaygazettemail.co...

AUG 1 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/3735-psc-crackdown-lesson-for-antagonists
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