Library from Pennsylvania
Tyrone Mayor James Kilmartin has said that 70 percent of borough residents he has been in contact with oppose the wind farm project. This is a similar result to the Harrisburg Patriot News poll that revealed that 83 percent of Pennsylvanians oppose industrial wind farms on state forest lands. Juniata Valley Audubon Society (JVAS) President Stan Kotala, M.D. has been at the forefront of the opposition in Gamesa's proposed wind farm on Ice Mountain. He said that the JVAS is not opposed to wind energy, but asks that wind energy be developed in an ecologically sound manner, avoiding ecologically sensitive areas, such as Ice Mountain. "We ask that wind energy developers follow US Fish and Wildlife Service Guidelines calling for the avoidance of migratory pathways and unfragmented forests," said Kotala.
A study conducted on behalf of Gamesa reveled that two juvenile Indiana bats, federally listed endangered species, were discovered in the middle of the company's proposed windmill project area. Jack Buchan, a Shaffer Mountain property owner and member of Sensible Wind Solutions, said he received the report a few days ago and was not surprised the Indiana bats were discovered at that location. He said Gamesa will need a "takings permit" under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to build the wind farm. "Since they were juveniles, it means there is a colony nearby that is probably breeding on Shaffer Mountain," he said.
The subject was discussed while acting on the application of Locust Ridge II Wind Farm, which is seeking to add 27 more wind mills on its wind farm in Union Township. There are already 13 windmills which exist on the land.
But the fact is that while wind power is being promoted as an essential part of any credible response to climate change, it is increasingly being challenged and questioned, as indeed is the case with other so-called "renewable" forms of energy, such as corn-based ethanol. ...a National Research Council study released this year entitled "Environmental Effects of Wind Energy Projects," concluded that based on the expected maximum number of windmills to be built, wind would offset total expected higher carbon emissions by no more that 2.25 percent. Is that a difference worth allowing the ridge tops of Pennsylvania to be dotted with giant industrial-sized windmills?
In 2005, Tyrone Borough Forester, Paul Noll, of Noll's Forestry Services, Inc. wrote the Pennsylvania Forest Stewardship Plan based on the 3,800 acre borough watershed property. Recently, Noll issued a recommendation/ suggestion summary report on the property concerning the possible Gamesa Energy USA wind farm installation and the issues that need to be addressed at the watershed property as a whole. ...In Noll's recent report, he stated that he would be "in favor of having the wind towers erected on the watershed property because you will be disturbing only a small area of the property, but the money you receive from the towers can be used to improve other areas of the watershed property."
The Department of Environmental Protection today issued a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to Krayn Wind LLC, to address the discharge of stormwater from construction activities for its proposed Highland Wind Farm Project to be located in Adams Township, Cambria County, said DEP Southwest Regional Director Kenneth Bowman. "The proposed site meets the department's environmental regulatory requirements," Bowman said. "This permit underwent intensive review by DEP water quality experts to ensure that no adverse environmental impacts would result from the construction of the wind farm." Krayn Wind LLC submitted an NPDES permit application on Feb. 16 for the construction of 20 wind turbines on 43 acres of a 4,371-acre property. Approximately 8 miles of 15-foot wide gravel access roads - including existing dirt roads, which will be upgraded and maintained - are also planned for the site.
Gray areas show active and reclaimed coal stripmines.
As Tyrone Borough and Spanish-based wind energy generator Gamesa work out the fine print on a lease agreement for watershed acreage, those outside the process question the merits of placing turbines on Ice Mountain. ...Resident Jeff Morrisey said he has done as much as he could to educate himself about the issue of wind turbines since he became aware of Gamesa's intentions. ‘‘The more I found out, the less I liked them,'' he said of the 380-foot-tall windmills. ‘‘I don't want them anywhere. I really don't see where they're making a difference.'' The difference Morrisey brings up is the debate over whether wind is a ‘‘green'' enough alternative to electricity generation methods, particularly coal-powered generation.
Citizens fill every seat Thursday in the Commissioners Board Room as Lycoming County Commissioners vote on zoning changes for proposed wind farms. Depending on your point of view, an amendment to the county zoning ordinance pertaining to wind energy is a step toward energy independence or a threat to the preservation of the county's wilderness and scenic beauty. The Lycoming County commissioners Thursday unanimously approved the amendment, which will allow electricity-generating wind turbines by right in resource protection, countryside and agricultural zoning districts.
The proponent of a 34-turbine wind farm on county-owned Theta land near Crystal Lake in Bear Creek Township filed a lawsuit against a resident for not signing over an easement to build a road quickly enough. Pennsylvania Windpower Inc., a subsidiary of Energy Unlimited Inc., filed suit against David Fedak in Luzerne County Court on Tuesday. The company paid Fedak as well as Joseph and Sally Horny $12,000 for an easement on his property to provide access to the proposed project, according to court documents.
On June 29, 2006, I sent a two-page letter to Mr. Vought in regards to his and Gamesa's offer. This is a "quote" from that letter. "You stated (Tim Vought) that the first phase of wind-power development would consist of 30 wind-powered turbines, the first year (2007). Also, 30 more to follow in the second phase, which would be approximately two years, with other phases being considered." You stated this would be a definite because of the vast land holdings of Berwind Corporation (7,935 + acres) which were leased to Gamesa. Berwind-Gamesa lease of Nov. 22, 2005, in effect Gamesa leases the Windber Area Authority Watershed! Mr. Vought, John Kott was definitely 100 percent right in his statement! ...In closing, your letter to the editor, "Some simple facts" turns out to be another Gamesa "smoke-screen" containing nothing more than spin, half-truths, and in some cases such as the Windber Area Authorities cutting of timber - totally false and untrue statements!
The Lycoming County commissioners will reveal Thursday where they stand regarding a proposed amendment to the county zoning ordinance as it pertains to wind energy. During a work session Tuesday, chief county administrator Fred Marty said the commissioners will act on the amendment to allow electricity-generating wind turbines by right in areas zoned for resource protection. ... Commissioner Dick Nassberg said he does not know how he will vote and will "continue to study facts and language to make sure we come up with the best balance of competing interests." "This is a complex issue," Nassberg said. "You have to balance needs for progress against needs for preservation."
A noisy rotor problem on some turbines in the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm was described Tuesday as "minor," and localized to just some of the 40 turbines at the Cambria-Blair county farm. "We have been working with Babcock & Brown and we have a schedule set up for repair," said Ellen Lutz, Gamesa Inc.'s director of development for the Atlantic Region. ...But residents - including Myrle Baum - are not optimistic. Baum said at times the operating windmills sound like a jet going over his house. ...A sound study done by the residents shows times when the turbines were producing levels topping 70 decibels.
The borough is advancing its exploration of energy options. The Pine Grove Township Zoning Hearing Board gave approval Monday night for erection of a 197-foot wind monitoring tower, on 216 acres of Pine Grove borough property, to gather data to determine if the area would be a good location for a wind farm. Gamesa Energy USA, Philadelphia, will construct the tower on a site located above the borough's well field in the Black Creek Valley north of Second Mountain.
About 30 wind turbines will be coming to the hills over Dunlo after Adams Township supervisors approved the Krayn Wind Corp.'s request for the Highland Wind Farm. The approval Tuesday at the supervisors' regular meeting followed a final public hearing on Krayn's conditional use application under the township's zoning ordinance. ...The quiet meeting was in contrast to the first Sept. 17 hearing - when a line of residents spoke of their concerns about the wind farm. Most expressed concerns about reduced values for their property near the proposed turbines, but Barbin noted the supervisors only can apply the existing regulations on the project.
Juniata Township supervisors will ask the companies that own and maintain wind turbines within their municipality to reduce turbine noise generating complaints from residents. Supervisors agreed Monday to have solicitor Michael Routch send letters to Babcock & Brown, the company that owns the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm, and Gamesa Energy USA, which maintains it. They want to know why the turbines are generating noise louder than 45 decibels and what will be done to lessen that.
The owner/operator of the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm said Monday it has discovered at least some of the turbines at the Cambria-Blair county line are noisier than anticipated, and a solution is being worked on. But residents upset by the noise, including some in Portage Township, said they are weary of excuses and have proof the turbines are operating at noise levels far exceeding the 45 decibels allowed by local law. ...The Juniata Township supervisors agreed Monday to hire Paul Heishman, a sound engineer of Harrisburg to document sound levels from the windmills. In addition, letters will be sent to Babcock & Brown and Gamesa seeking immediate action to quiet them.
Tyrone Borough Council will not vote at the Tuesday, November 13 council meeting on whether or not the borough will allow Gamesa Energy USA (Gamesa) to lease property on its watershed on Ice Mountain, to place a proposed 10-15 windmills. Mayor James Kilmartin and the rest of borough council are urging Gamesa to hold another public meeting that council will attend in order to hear the community out. "This is a very significant decision that will have long lasting effects," said the mayor. "Almost all council members and borough supervisors have gone to Blue Knob to see the windfarms first hand. We do not take this lightly, we have been researching this for a year now."
Gamesa Energy USA is sidelining preliminary plans to put up to 30 turbines on land in Gallitzin Township, a representative of the Spain-Based wind energy company said Monday. The Gallitzin Township site, owned by the borough, does not have the wind speed needed for a wind farm, said Ellen Lutz, Gamesa's director of development for the Atlantic region. "It was not economical for us to build in Gallitzin Township," she said of the yearlong anemometer testing on the land. The distance of the site from the main electric transmission lines also is greater than Gamesa wanted, adding to the cost, Lutz said.