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Clean, renewable energy is possible with trade-off

THE Sierra Club supports renewable energy nationally, and in West Virginia. Recently, the West Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club recommended that the application of Beech Ridge Energy LLC for a Certificate of Site Approval from the West Virginia Public Service Commission be approved and that the following conditions be included in the commission’s order granting the certificate for the company’s Greenbrier County wind farm:

THE Sierra Club supports renewable energy nationally, and in West Virginia. Recently, the West Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club recommended that the application of Beech Ridge Energy LLC for a Certificate of Site Approval from the West Virginia Public Service Commission be approved and that the following conditions be included in the commission’s order granting the certificate for the company’s Greenbrier County wind farm:

1. Beech Ridge must conduct pre-construction surveys for threatened and endangered species, using protocols approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

2. If listed species are found, construction in such habitat must be prohibited. In addition, a Habitat Conservation Plan must be approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service before construction begins.

3. Post-construction surveys for bird and bat impacts must be conducted for three years, as recommended by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

4. If post-construction surveys identify adverse impacts, wind farm operations must be curtailed during periods of peak activity (bird migrations, bat maternity seasons, etc.).

5. Limits to land surface disturbance should be established to minimize visual and... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

THE Sierra Club supports renewable energy nationally, and in West Virginia. Recently, the West Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club recommended that the application of Beech Ridge Energy LLC for a Certificate of Site Approval from the West Virginia Public Service Commission be approved and that the following conditions be included in the commission’s order granting the certificate for the company’s Greenbrier County wind farm:

1. Beech Ridge must conduct pre-construction surveys for threatened and endangered species, using protocols approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

2. If listed species are found, construction in such habitat must be prohibited. In addition, a Habitat Conservation Plan must be approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service before construction begins.

3. Post-construction surveys for bird and bat impacts must be conducted for three years, as recommended by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

4. If post-construction surveys identify adverse impacts, wind farm operations must be curtailed during periods of peak activity (bird migrations, bat maternity seasons, etc.).

5. Limits to land surface disturbance should be established to minimize visual and habitat impacts.

6. Posting of a bond sufficient to enforce the above conditions should be required.

7. Posting of an additional bond sufficient to cover expenses of land reclamation if and when the facility ceases operation.

Wind energy has substantially fewer environmental impacts than fossil fuel or nuclear energy, and has the potential to provide a significant proportion of America’s electricity needs at competitive prices. Compared to coal-fired power plants, wind creates no air pollution, does not contribute to global warming, produces no acid mine drainage, does not require mountaintop removal mining, and is substantially less noisy than either coal-fired power plants or coal surface mining practices.

We recognize that all energy sources have some environmental impacts, and that the impacts to viewsheds are perceived negatively by some. However, the Sierra Club believes that this is a reasonable trade-off for clean renewable energy-generating facilities that are appropriately sited.

We also recognize that past wind farms have produced some adverse impacts, and believe that the above conditions are necessary, reasonable, and consistent with past PSC orders. The conditions for surveys and limits on operations are essential to protect bird and bat populations. Limits on land disturbance are also important in order to prevent operators from clearing a much larger land area than is needed for actual construction, as occurred at the Mountaineer facility in Tucker County.

The bonding requirement is essential to assure compliance. It is a mechanism that the PSC has used with the Longview Power plant, and would give the company the proper incentive to conduct the bird and bat studies, and to limit land disturbance.

These conditions would address legitimate concerns in an enforceable manner, and result in a project with substantially fewer adverse impacts than other electric generating projects recently approved by the commission. We have urged the commission to include these conditions and issue the Certificate of Site Approval.

Wilson is chairman of the West Virginia Sierra Club, and Fallon is chairwoman of the club’s Renewable Energy Committee.

 


 


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

AUG 25 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/4162-clean-renewable-energy-is-possible-with-trade-off
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