Library from Virginia
In its complaint that HNWD isn't meeting conditions required under its state permit, DHR says HNWD's permit expired Dec. 20, 2009, and HNWD had not started construction. The SCC put a two-year sunset provision in its final order when it granted HNWD's permit on Dec. 20, 2007. The company was required to begin construction within two years - by Dec. 20, 2009 - or ask for an extension.
Highland citizens, bolstered by the recent wind energy injunction in West Virginia, sent county officials their third, and perhaps final, warning. In a letter sent Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009, attorney James Jennings Jr. told Highland's board of supervisors it must require Highland New Wind Development LLC to obtain a federal incidental take permit to avoid legal action.
Monday, Highland New Wind Development told Highland supervisors it intends to develop a habitat conservation plan and obtain a federal incidental take permit. ...If true, we applaud the decision. But we're skeptical.
A decision on a controversial wind-turbine farm for East River Mountain could come as early as February ...The county Board of Supervisors will meet today at 6 p.m. at the administration offices in Tazewell, but there is no mention of wind turbines on the board's six-page agenda. The windmill controversy will instead be addressed at the Tuesday, Jan. 12 meeting, according to board chairman David Anderson.
The Virginia Department of Historical Resources (DHR) claimed a wind energy developer has "deliberately misstated" and "deliberately misrepresented" facts as part of its continuing effort to build an industrial wind facility on Tamarack Ridge near Camp Allegheny. DHR and Highland New Wind Development, LLC (HNWD), are engaged in a legal battle to determine the energy company's responsibilities with regard to historic Camp Allegheny.
Highland citizens, bolstered by the recent wind energy project injunction in West Virginia, sent county officials their third, and perhaps final, warning. In a letter sent today (Wednesday, Dec. 30), attorney James Jennings Jr. told the Highland board it must require Highland New Wind Development LLC to obtain a federal incidental take permit to avoid legal action.
The concept of going green took on a whole new meaning in 2009 for the region. With the Obama administration pushing new clean energy sources, the scenic beauty of East River Mountain was suddenly threatened, and the greater Bluefield region was divided by a towering controversy.
Wood Rogers PLC, the Roanoke law firm representing Highland Citizens, has advised the Highland County Board of Supervisors that allowing Highland New Wind Development to proceed without the Incidental Take Permit (ITP) required by the Endangered Species Act will place the county in legal jeopardy. The letter by Attorney James T. Rodier which details the supporting law can be accessed by clicking on the link(s) at the bottom of this page.
Does a Virginia agency have standing with regard to a West Virginia landmark? The debate between Highland New Wind Development LLC and the state Department of Historic Resources appears to come down to a handful of legal points. Among those is whether the DHR has any authority to require the company to mitigate the visual impact its 400-foot towers will have on Camp Allegheny, a Civil War battlefield in Pocahontas County, W.Va.
Wind turbines proposed for East River Mountain can be taxed by Tazewell County officials as real property, according to a new report by Dominion and BP Wind Energy. The report, which was presented to the Tazewell County Planning Commission last week by Northwestern District Board of Supervisors member Seth White, assumes that roads, buildings, electrical substations, transmission lines, turbine foundations and turbine towers can be classified as real property and taxed.
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."