Articles from West Virginia
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Virginia Highlanders following the debate on the impacts of commercial wind turbine projects may want to head next door to West Virginia next Wednesday.
Five members of Mountain Communities for Responsible Energy (MCRE) spoke in opposition to the installation of the 40-story giants on the ridges near Trout and Williamsbug. "To give you some perspective," Dave Buhrman offered, "a county commissioner would be smaller than a quarter photographed next to one of these towers." Buhrman stressed the potentially negative effects on the county's important tourist industry. "Mountain views millions of years in the making will be altered during one building season," he stressed. "When people can no longer get a sense that this area is wild, wonderful, and undisturbed, they will look elsewhere- we are putting Greenbrier County's future economic potential at risk by allowing the wind industry access to our loftiest vistas."
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," Dave Groberg, project developer for Invenergy Wind LLC told 60 members of Mountain Communities for Responsible Energy (MCRE) Tuesday at Williamsburg’s community center. "While many people find wind turbines graceful and attractive, others disagree." He was referring to the 131 wind turbines his Chicago-based company hopes to erect on the mountain ridges of northwestern Greenbrier County.
Seven Grant County residents have filed suit to try to block construction of 200 giant wind turbines proposed near their homes. Jerome E. Burch and six other residents sued developers of the $150 million Mount Storm wind project. In their 14-page complaint, the residents allege that the NedPower Mount Storm LLC project will be a “nuisance” and “an eyesore” that creates excess noise and kills birds and bats. The suit also alleges that the project will generate little power but receive lucrative federal and state tax breaks.
I walked on my normal walk in the woods one day and looked up to the top of the mountain. Just several months before it had been a picturesque view of wilderness beauty ... the kind that attracts tourists and creates much of the state's income. Now, it was lined with these tall mechanical monsters, towering over the trees of an old forest. I am not talking about the quaint and charming windmills of Holland here, we are talking about metal and flashing lights and a size that miniaturizes the grand forest beneath it.
More than 700 Greenbrier County residents have sent letters to the state Public Service Commission, opposing a plan to build one of the largest wind-power projects east of the Mississippi River. The residents say the wind turbines will spoil mountain views, decrease property values, kill bats and birds, hurt tourism and ruin hunting and fishing in the area. They predict the wind turbines will catch fire during lightning strikes. And they say the turbines will interfere with emergency radio communications.
"I think the battleground is right here in the county right now with the landowners who've said no," said Sites.
THOMAS, W.Va. — Towering up to 228 feet above the Appalachian Mountain ridge — far above the treeline — are windmills lined up like marching aliens from War of the Worlds. Up close, they emit a high-pitched hum. From a few hundred yards away, their blades — extending 115 feet from center — cause a steady whooshing sound as they cut through the air at up to 140 mph at the tips.
As Chicago-based Invenergy plans a wind generation factory across the scenic mountains of northwestern Greenbrier County, numerous voices have been raised in protest.
Deep in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia sits a giant coal-fired power plant aptly named Mount Storm - a 1,600-megawatt goliath that just a few years ago ranked second in the nation in toxic mercury emissions.
Charleston, WV—Twenty citizen groups from around the country are supporting a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed against U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary, Gale Norton, by the Friends of Blackwater. The lawsuit charges that Norton has refused to turn over documents relating to wildlife deaths and injuries from wind turbines. “Department of Interior has not justified withholding these important documents,” said Judy Rodd, Executive Director of Friends of Blackwater.
The 2003 study, aimed as much at birds as bats, unexpectedly found that the Mountaineer wind turbines on Backbone Mountain killed an estimated 2,092 bats. Tuttle, not involved in that study, called the 2003 bat kill “by far the largest bat mortality event I know of worldwide and, as far as I know, the biggest mortality event of any animal.” The 2004 bat kill could be even worse.
Must West Virginia play host to thousands of clean, green, scenery-despoiling machines to make urban environmentalists feel better? At the cost of how many birds and bats?
This is a letter written by Paula Stahl of St. George, West Virginia, about her experiences living in the neighborhood of the 66 MW Mountaineer Wind Energy Center. Formerly known as the Backbone Mountain Wind Farm, the 4,400-acre site has 44 turbines, 1.5 MW each, stretched along miles of ridgeline in Tucker and Preston counties. Ms. Stahl submitted the letter to the Berkshire Eagle and North Adams Transcript, neither of which has printed it.