Library from Virginia
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.
Several additional companies have inquired about the possibility of building windmills in Tazewell County, officials confirmed Monday. Although Dominion and BP Wind Energy North America are planning a large-scale wind turbine farm for East River Mountain near Bluefield, other areas of interest for other wind energy companies have included Morris Knob, near Tazewell, and Burkes Garden, according to Board of Supervisors Chairman David Anderson.
Late last Friday, before a hearing scheduled for Tuesday this week, Highland New Wind Development submitted further analysis of its wind project to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. The hearing was set by the State Corporation Commission following a complaint from DHR that a condition attached to HNWD's state permit for Virginia's first wind utility were not being met. DHR said it believed the SCC's condition to "coordinate with DHR for guidance regarding the potential need for archaeological and architectural surveys, recommended studies and field surveys to evaluate the project's impacts to historic resources," had meaning, and that HNWD was not coordinating with the agency as ordered.
The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) has rescheduled a hearing to determine whether a wind energy company has complied with pre-construction conditions regarding protection of historic resources. The hearing, originally scheduled for October 12, will be held on November 11 at 10 a.m. The hearing will be available as a webcast from the SCC website. The Virginia Attorney General's Office, representing DHR, filed a motion on October 9 to reschedule the hearing, which was granted by hearing examiner Alexander Skirpan.
Virginia officials have long discussed placing wind turbines off the coast, but the first towers in the region are likely to appear farther south - in North Carolina's Pamlico Sound. Duke Energy and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recently signed a contract to install one to three turbines in the sound west of Buxton and Avon as early as next year. The turbines would be seven to 10 miles from shore. The pilot project ...could position North Carolina as a leader in developing wind energy.
The SCC had scheduled the hearing on a complaint from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, which had accused Highland New Wind Development of failing to consult with it on how the wind farm will affect the nearby Camp Allegheny battlefield. But on Friday, Highland New Wind provided two preliminary studies to the Department of Historic Resources, according to a motion filed with the SCC late in the day.