Library from Virginia
Apparently, Highland County is going to get sued over the wind energy project - again. And apparently, some of our supervisors aren't worried. They should be. Highland New Wind Development, the closely held family company attempting to build the state's first wind-generating electric facility, should be, too. ...HNWD's project site has far more than one endangered species living there. Allegheny Mountain is home to bald and golden eagles, flying squirrels, two protected bats, and other flora and fauna.
A key question about the financial impact of windmills on the county's finances was answered at the Dec. 10 meeting of the planning commission. Supervisor Seth White, who also serves on the planning commission, distributed a letter from Dominion\BP Wind Energy outlaying how the windmills could be taxed.
It's not tiny turbines that could disrupt the quality of life and the viewshed. It's those monstrous, industrial-size wind farms. Easy to sit here and think about how neat it would be to have Virginia show renewable energy leadership by putting a bunch of huge windmills off the coast, isn't it? But what about a wind farm in the George Washington National Forest in Nelson County?
...in the ninth inning, Supervisor Dennis S. Rooker rallied support for restrictions aimed to limit noise and visual disturbances. Rooker argued Wednesday that wind turbines should be permitted only in rural areas, and should be erected no closer to neighboring property than 150 feet. Supervisors passed a version of Rooker's proposal Thursday when they amended a county zoning code to allow wind turbines no taller than 35 feet.
County Supervisors Differ On Turbines The move to harness wind energy in Albemarle County hit a hurdle Wednesday night. County supervisors agreed to support wind turbines in theory but differed over the details. Turbine supporters say there's plenty to gain. It's not a point supervisors debated, instead they went back and forth over details on where exactly is the right spot to build them.
The area is currently divided over a proposed wind energy project along East River Mountain in Tazewell County stretching from Bluefield to Springville. Not surprisingly, the project has strong sentiment on both sides. ...Because of its negatives wind power was not considered a serious method of producing electricity; fossil fuels are far superior ...[but given the] fear of global catastrophe, wind, solar and other green sources have gained an undeserved degree of credibility and importance.
Kermit was right: It's not easy being green. Among other things, going green can mean making changes to properties that impose new views and new sounds on neighbors, who may not welcome them. Two local communities are exploring the challenge of balancing the property rights of people greening up and the property rights of nearby homeowners.
"What they are planing to do is put these things within the view of 30,000 residences and homes all along the 19-460 corridor," Wayne Evans, also of Bluefield, Va., said. "People have to listen and look at these things all day long. To trade the value of our mountains, which is our calling card - if you look at the businesses around here - they all use the mountain logo. West Virginia is the Mountain State. I can't think of no other way to ruin that. It's a no win situation."
The Tazewell County Board of Supervisors insist they aren't dragging their feet when it comes to making a decision about wind turbines. But it's starting to look like they are doing just that. The board has been studying the issue of wind turbines and the proposed ridgeline protection - or tall structure - ordinance for well over a year. The first public hearing on the original tall structure ordinance was held back in November 2008 - on the night of a significant snow storm for that matter. Now, more than a year later, the board has once again opted to delay.
Although the official public hearing was delayed until January, area residents still spoke out Tuesday over the controversial topic of wind turbines. "How are we guaranteed that so many jobs will be created?" Mark Tyson of Tazewell, said. "We have to take the word of BP and Dominion - the same people who funded 50 percent of this study." "As far as this study is concerned, I know it is an economic impact study, but I pray there will be other studies you all will look at other than economics," Donna Kelly of Bluefield, Va., said. "It's not all just about money. I feel a few will profit from this but the majority will suffer."
The long-awaited wind energy study compiled by Springsted Inc., was released on Monday. While it didn't include a lot of surprises, it did come with plenty of statistics, projections and hypothetical scenarios related to wind turbine farms. ...While it doesn't provide a lot of new details, the Springsted study still provides a lot of information for folks to digest. The official public hearing on the proposed mountain construction ordinance, also known as the mountain ridge protection ordinance, will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 1, at 6:15 p.m. or soon thereafter at Tazewell High School.
A proposed wind turbine farm for East River Mountain would provide $9.2 million in new revenue to Tazewell County over a 20 year period, according to the findings of a new wind energy economic impact study. The study, which was made public Monday through the county's website, will be discussed in detail at tonight's Board of Supervisors meeting. The meeting begins at 5 p.m. at Tazewell Middle School with a wind turbine discussion scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Tazewell County leaders will tackle the controversial topic of wind turbines Tuesday during the first of two meetings that could determine the fate of a controversial East River Mountain project. The board meets Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Tazewell Middle School, and will begin the wind turbine discussion at 7:30 p.m. At that time, John Anzivion, senior vice president of the Springsted Company, is scheduled to present the results of a wind turbine economic impact study to the board.
A hearing before the State Corporation Commission, which would have examined the wind farm's encroachment on a nearby Civil War battlefield, has been postponed indefinitely. The delay was requested by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, which in August complained that Highland New Wind Development had failed to consult with the agency about the project's effect on the Camp Allegheny battlefield.
Tazewell County residents are polarized on the windmill issue. Some are in favor of the wind turbines while some are adamantly opposed. Bluefield, Va., Mayor Don Harris reported that a large number of local residents have made it clear that they will be attending the scheduled Dec. 1 hearing to either protest or support the issue. The majority of the local residents appear to be opposed to the erection of wind turbines along East River Mountain, especially those who live within sight of the mountain.
The newly elected members of the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors say they haven't made a decision yet when it comes to wind turbines on East River Mountain. "I'm going to have to research that a little bit better," John Absher, who defeated incumbent Bill Wimmer for the Western District board seat, said when asked about wind turbines. "I haven't made a decision on that one way or another. We are just going to have to talk about the pros and cons of it." Although the wind turbine project is not planned in his district, Absher said he has still had several questions from residents.
A hearing scheduled for November 10 at the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) regarding the Tamarack Ridge wind energy project has been postponed by request of the Virginia Department of Historical Resources (DHR). ...DHR requested the continuance until it has received the requested information from the Parks Service and had time to "review, analyze and consult with Highland New Wind about these reports."
As Virginia wrangles over the visual impact of 400-foot towers on nearby historic properties, a similar situation in West Virginia resulted in a $10,000 grant offer from a wind energy company building 23 wind turbines overlooking some 18 historic places in Mineral County. Not everyone agrees it's an appropriate solution, but Pinnacle Wind Force LLC offered to make that amount available for historic preservation efforts after the West Virginia Division of Culture and History (the State Historic Preservation Office) found its wind project would have an adverse impact on historic resources nearby.
West Virginia boundary commission members Charles Sypolt and Curt Keplinger visited Tamarack Ridge Saturday morning to inspect the site of a proposed industrial wind farm. ...Governor Manchin formed the boundary commission in September after the Pocahontas County Commission alerted him that the wind project might encroach into West Virginia territory. The county commission became concerned after the developer, Highland New Wind Development, LLC (HNWD), issued a site plan with the state line re-plotted on the base topographic map and two turbines very close to the re-plotted state line.
It was only a few years ago that habitat loss was front and center among causes for concern about the future well-being of the American ecological landscape. Not much has changed to allay this concern; sprawling development continues, and the alteration and loss of natural habitat is largely unchecked. What has changed is the focus of many mainstream environmental organizations. Concerns about the projected future effects of climate change have taken precedence over the immediate and observable effects of habitat loss.