Articles filed under Impact on Landscape from Virginia
After meeting with both sides and reviewing reams of documents, we’ve determined that the rancorous year-long debate over a proposed 6,350-acre solar power plant that has pitted Concerned Citizens of Spotsylvania County, a small local grassroots group, against a large, out-of-state corporation comes down to this: the project is way too big for western Spotsylvania County, and there are too few benefits to county residents to offset this major deficiency.
Residents who live around the proposed site in the Wilderness area of western Spotsylvania have aggressively opposed the project, saying it is too big, includes too many unknown risks and would bring no benefits to the county. The company has, in turn, aggressively countered residents with experts who deem the project safe and beneficial to the county.
"This is huge. This is a tremendous victory for national parks and public lands," said Pamela Goddard, senior regional director for the NPCA's Mid-Atlantic region. "The court has found that if anyone wants to build a major infrastructure project, they must follow the law. So it's a victory for our parks and public lands."
The sPower plant would consume 10 square miles of designated forest lands. That is half the size of Manhattan, and larger than the entire city of Fredericksburg. The four larger solar power plants are located in the desert of the U.S. Southwest, far from any residential areas. The project is just plain wrong for Spotsylvania on several levels.
A company called S-Power wants to build a massive solar energy center on 6,000 acres ...More than half of the land would be covered with solar panels. "This would be the fifth largest solar plant in the United States. ...All 10 of (the largest of) these are nowhere near a residential area."
“We’re losing our foothold in the coal industry and now they’re proposing ... ‘Oh by the way, we’re going to take your beautiful land for renewable energy?’” opponent Charles Stacy said. “It is insulting, really.” A deep mistrust of the federal government is ingrained in parts of this region, as are a fiercely guarded independence and pride in the heritage of coal mining. Yet Stacy and others insist that this battle is about more than any of that.
Say what you will about the evil fiends who run power companies, they are not stupid people. So it boggles the mind that a corporation as ostensibly rapacious as Dominion would pass up the opportunity to reap the obvious riches from doing as environmentalists wish. Could there be more to the issue than they are letting on? There could. Let's start with some basic facts.
During question-and-answer and breakout sessions, citizens asked U.S. Forest Service staff to remove any proposed areas for wind energy development from the plan. Currently, the draft would allow applications for wind projects to be submitted on about one-half of the forest.
"Hundreds of soldiers lost their lives on this battlefield. While I understand the imperative of energy independence, I also believe there are places where the benefits [of power generation] are not worth the trade-off, and this is one of those places."
This is to dispute recent propagandized information provided to area citizens from a green money-motivated industry posing as a green energy hero. A Chicago-based corporation, Invenergy, proposes to lay claim to our area mountain winds, beginning with 18 industrial-sized wind turbines on Roanoke County's Poor Mountain.
Citing concerns about noise and aesthetics, the Isle of Wight Planning Commission on Tuesday delayed voting on a proposed zoning ordinance that would allow wind turbines to be used for producing electricity.
Anyone who wants to see the battleground at Camp Allegheny like it was during the Civil War better do it soon. Virginia's three-person State Corporation Commission (SCC) issued an order on February 26 that clears the way for construction of a 19-turbine wind energy facility less than two miles from the Camp Allegheny battlefield in Pocahontas County.
A mountain ridge in Highland County has been cleared for the state's first commercial wind farm. While site preparation began last summer, official clearance came recently from the State Corporation Commission, which dismissed a complaint that the project will ruin the view from a nearby Civil War battlefield.
The passage of a tall structure ordinance Tuesday by the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors has left the fate of a wind turbine farm for East River Mountain in Limbo. The supervisors voted 3-2 to approve the so-called ridgeline protection ordinance.
A large crowd that jammed the administration offices in downtown Tazewell erupted into applause after the so-called ridgeline protection ordinance was passed. The motion to approve the tall structure ordinance was made by vice chairman David Anderson ..."The people in my district have spoken very, very clearly," Anderson said. "And it has been overwhelming. Ninety percent of the people in my district want to see a ridgeline ordinance. I can't go against the will of my people."
A proposed wind farm project might be dead in Tazewell County. The future looks bleak for the project after the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 Tuesday to prohibit development of tall structures on the county's scenic ridgelines. "I think this proposed tall structure construction carries with it too much public controversy and too little public revenue," said Supervisor Mike Hymes, who cast the deciding vote on a divided board.
After 15 months of debate, studies and public input, the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors made their decision on the Ridge Line Ordinance. The ordinance passed in a 3-2 vote. David Anderson, Jim Campbell, and Mike Hymes voted for it while Seth White and John Absher voted against it.
A complaint that a proposed wind farm in Highland County will ruin the view from a nearby Civil War battlefield should be dismissed, a hearing examiner with the State Corporation Commission ruled Monday. The recommendation, which now goes to the full SCC, appears to give a green light for developers of the first commercial wind farm in Virginia.
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?
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.