Library filed under Impact on People from Virginia
Christopher West’s commentary from Jan. 21 (“Botetourt wind farm should be approved”) was one-sided, misleading, and a poor attempt to spin a case for wind turbines in Botetourt County. It demands a response.
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.
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."
On Jan. 26, Botetourt County’s Board of Supervisors gave its unanimous blessing to the construction of 25 550- foot tall wind turbines on North Mountain.
“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.
It would behoove us as citizens to do as much research as possible to understand the full ramifications of the impact before these [wind farm] are installed. Once they go in, they are here to stay. A once thriving community will be dismantled -- forever.
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.
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."
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."
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.
A state agency has joined the fight against a wind farm in Highland County that could affect a Civil War battlefield. Developers say it's a nonissue, but longtime opponents of the wind farm say they want to preserve the area's beauty.
Highland New Wind Development (HNWD), the self-touted "Greenest Wind Farm in the World," has initiated clearing, road work, and excavation for its 19-turbine project in the remote Allegheny Mountain, Laurel Fork area along the Highland County-Pocahontas County, Virginia-West Virginia border. ...The SCC has scheduled a hearing to be convened on September 23, 2009 to receive evidence and testimony from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR) and HNWD concerning the wind energy developer's compliance with the SCC's December 2007 order
Giant wind turbines are coming close to Pocahontas County and many residents are curious if the windmills will be visible from their homes. A helpful website with a strange name lets you find out with just a few clicks of the mouse. Heywhatsthat.com works in conjunction with Google Maps and provides custom viewsheds from any point on the globe.
Six weeks ago, Ann Robinson of Falls Mills, Va., had never heard of wind turbines, but on Sunday afternoon, she was expressing her concerns over a BP Dominion's proposed wind turbine farm on East River Mountain in Tazewell County, Va. "At first I thought, oh well, wind energy, this is green ... this is a good thing, but then I started researching wind turbines and learned differently," Robinson said to a crowd.
Residents filled the auditorium of Washington High School on Monday evening in hopes that their voices would be heard and a change would be made to the proposed route for a high-voltage power line slated for construction in the area. Nearly 150 people turned out for a public hearing about P.A.T.H., which stands for Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline, and is a joint venture of Allegheny Energy and American Electric Power that was announced last year.
David Anderson, the Eastern District member of the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors, has been busy in recent days answering phone calls and e-mails from supporters and opponents of a proposed large-scale windmill project. ..."Don't get me wrong, I've heard a lot of positive, and I've heard a lot of negative," Anderson said Tuesday. "There are still people who are very pro-windmill. But the majority of the feedback I've received have been real concerned about the natural beauty of East River Mountain."
Is it too expensive to survey historic resources before Virginia's first wind energy plant is constructed? Highland New Wind Development says it would have to fork over between $50,000-$75,000, or more, to do what state officials have been steadily requesting for two years. ...DHR archeologist Roger Kirchen, however, told The Recorder his agency needs the results of these surveys before a review of the project is completed. "The final SCC order directs the applicant to work toward providing us with information," Kirchen said Monday. "The SCC order has the authority. We've exchanged some documents (with HNWD) ... but none of these issues have been resolved. At this point, we're just trying to identify the potential effects."