Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from West Virginia
The state of West Virginia needs to step in and demand answers from Nedpower. First, their destruction of five miles of state road needs to be paid for. Next clarification of the Spanish turbine purchase, how many turbines are they now planning to install? And then last but not least, the illegally sited turbines that are in breach of federal siting requirements - when will they be removed or relocated? Shell Oil executives should rightly be very nervous, and the state executives should be monitoring the situation to ensure the State is not left with a massive clean-up operation if Shell Oil pulls out aburptly.
The West Virginia public service commission has rejected "U.S. Wind Force's" application to build wind turbines along Jack Mountain. "I would say the basic majority are opposed to 'em because of the beautification issue," Mary adds. And now the mountains that reign high above Pendleton County will remain clear. "Good ridance...good ridance to a bad idea." So it looks like the battle is over for now, the wind farms not going up here in Pendleton County however the developer U.S. Wind Force says they're going to review their options.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The state Public Service Commission says a developer can't build a wind farm in Pendleton County because its application lacks information on several key issues, including the project's impact on cultural resources and noise. In an order released Friday, the PSC rejected Liberty Gap Wind Force LLC's application for a permit for the proposed 50-turbine Liberty Gap wind farm. It was the second setback for the wind industry in West Virginia in less than a month. On June 8, the state Supreme Court revived a lawsuit challenging a wind farm proposed for Grant County.
Earlier this month the State Supreme Court sided with local residents in Grant County who are trying to stop a wind power project on Mount Storm. The Supreme Court sent the lawsuit back to Circuit Court where the case had been dismissed. But even as the lawsuit moves forward, the wind power project is taking shape.
My basic position on wind energy in our state is that before decisions are made on building industrial turbines across our mountain ridges, we should have a good idea of what the costs as well as the benefits of those projects will be to West Virginians, both now and in the future. There can be honest disagreements about what those costs and benefits will be, and how they should be weighed. But I hope no one would disagree with the proposition that the decisions to be made on wind turbines - which raise the prospect of permanently altering the face of our State - should be made in a fully informed, considered way. To that end, I believe the immediate need is for there to be a serious, public discussion of wind energy in this State. Members of the news media can play an important part in this discussion, but only to the extent that they report the facts, study the issues carefully, and issue thoughtful commentaries -- rather than merely publishing industry talking points.
The high court heard the appeal during its LAW Day program in Hampshire County in late April when attorney Richard Neely of Charleston argued on behalf of the residents and Samuel Brock of Charleston argued on behalf of NedPower. Supreme Court Justices Robin Davis, Elliott Maynard, Larry Starcher and Joseph Albright disagreed with Jordan, saying in the opinion, written by Maynard, that the residents were entitled to their day in court on the nuisance complaint and that the PSC's only jurisdiction was in siting the project. Supreme Court Clerk Rory Perry said that the case will return to the circuit court jurisdiction where new proceedings will be held.
In a 4-1 decision, state Supreme Court justices said a Grant County judge was wrong to dismiss a complaint filed by a group of homeowners opposed to a huge wind power facility planned for a site nearby. Now a nuisance case against two companies that want to build the $300 million wind farm can go forward after a circuit judge dismissed the case last year. "Our decision in this case is merely that the (homeowners) have alleged sufficient facts to avoid dismissal on the pleadings," wrote Justice Spike Maynard for the majority in the opinion released today. "In other words, the (homeowners) should have their day in court. Beyond this, we offer no opinion on the ultimate success or failure of the (homeowners') claim."
The state Supreme Court has breathed new life into a lawsuit challenging a $300 million wind farm in the Eastern Panhandle. In a ruling issued Friday, the court said a Grant County Circuit judge had no legal basis to dismiss the suit and sent it back for more proceedings. The decision is a victory for the plaintiffs, a group of homeowners who live near the proposed NedPower Mount Storm wind farm in the Grassy Ridge area. The homeowners contend their property values will plunge if the 10-mile string of 330-foot-high-turbines is completed. The Supreme Court's action gives them a chance to prove that claim.
People who live near the planned Nedpower Mount Storm and Shell Energy wind farm in Grant County have sought to have it enjoined by having it declared a nuisance. The plaintiffs have previously lost in the Circuit Court of Grant County. In mid-April they argued an appeal of that decision to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. Although most people would consider a "nuisance" to be mosquitoes, telemarketers, lawyers, or the like, in the eyes of the law a "nuisance" is a use of land that interferes with someone else's use and enjoyment of their land. It is what is called a common law cause of action.
Rep. Alan Mollohan is proving refreshingly thoughtful and farsighted on one of the emerging issues facing West Virginia - the pros and cons of wind power. He makes a persuasive case that the state should regulate its newest energy industry now. On Tuesday, the 1st District congressman told a congressional subcommittee he is very concerned about the impact wind farms could have on the wildlife and natural beauty of the state......Mollohan is right. It's time to slow this heavily subsidized stampede.
Justice Benjamin said the Public Service Commission was "punting" its responsibilities in the permitting .......... We'd like to take the punting analogy one step further - not only did the PSC punt, it was a quick kick on third and long.
Property values were at the center of a court case that pits homeowners against a planned $300 million wind farm in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle that one lawyer labeled a "brothel on top of the hill." The state Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case that pits a group of property owners against NedPower Mount Storm LLC and its owner, Shell Windenergy Inc. The companies want to build a 10 1/2-mile string of 200 wind turbines along a ridge top in Grant County. Residents claim the project would severely damage the value of their property. The companies argue the 330-foot-tall turbines will not only bring economic gain to the area, but the homeowners' concerns have already been dismissed by the state Public Service Commission.
In a stunning reversal of fortune for anti-windfarm advocates, the state Supreme Court of Appeals on Wednesday unanimously agreed to hear two cases claiming the West Virginia Public Service Commission erred last fall in their decision to give the green light for building 124 electric-producing wind turbines in northern Greenbrier County. The decisions by Chief Justice Robin Davis, and Justices Larry V. Starcher, Elliott E. "Spike" Maynard, Joseph P. Albright, and Brent D. Benjamin were released late Wednesday by court information services director Jennifer Bundy. Mountain Communities For Responsible Energy (MCRE), along with Jeffrey and Alicia Eisenbeiss, filed the petitions asking the high court to hear why they disagree with the PSC ruling. The Eisenbeiss' filed "pro se" - without the aid of a lawyer.
Two anti-windfarm advocates will present oral arguments today to the state Supreme Court that their cases should be added to the high court's docket in hopes of stopping a planned $300 million project slated for northern Greenbrier County. Mountain Communities For Responsible Energy, along with Jeffrey and Alicia Eisenbeiss, filed the petitions after the state Public Service Commission's landmark decision last fall giving the green light to a wind energy developer's request to build 124 turbines along 23 miles of ridgeways owned primarily by MeadWestvaco.
The NedPower wind turbine project at Mount Storm is the first case that will be heard by the West Virginia Supreme Court on Tuesday as it convenes for the 2007 LAWS program.
Opponents of a 200 turbine at Mount Storm, W.Va., will have their case heard by the state Supreme Court in April. The project was approved by the West Virginia Public Service Commission and a circuit court judge turned down a previous appeal by opponents to reverse the WVPSC decision, the Cumberland Times-News reported. NedPower, a Dutch company, received permits and has begun land clearing and early construction.
MOUNT STORM, W.Va. --- One of the largest wind farms proposed for the region is under construction along Grassy Ridge adjacent to the Dominion Power Plant at Mount Storm. With up to 200 turbines planned the project has been approved by the West Virginia Public Service Commission and received permits to begin construction. Work has been continuing at the site since early fall with land clearing and road construction. Foundations for the towers that will support the turbines are also under construction, according to Tim O'Leary, spokesman for the NedPower Mount Storm wind project. NedPower, a Dutch company, is the developer of the project.
What I would like to propose is that people of good will, who are concerned with our economy and the future of the environment, meet together to balance the needs of industry and the basic realities of environmental concerns. The state could set up a commission or panel of all interested groups in an effort to reach a compromise and then give expert advice to our Legislature.
Rep. Alan Mollohan says he wants the state Public Service Commission to look more carefully into the potential environmental impact of windmills proposed by companies like NedPower Mount Storm and Shell WindEnergy Inc. “The whole issue of industrial windmill siting is an important public policy question,” said Mollohan, D-W.Va., on Friday. “It cries out for public debate and legislative action to put some real siting criteria into place.”
Governor Joe Manchin says his new wind energy bill is all about that industry paying its fair share to the state. The bill was introduced in the state Senate Friday and Manchin discussed the bill with MetroNews Monday. Manchin says, “If we are going to grow the state the way we need to it has to be a fair level playing field.” The bill would nearly eliminate the salvage rate the wind farm owners currently pay in property taxes and instead they would pay regular property tax rates. They would also be required to pay B&O Taxes like other power producing facilities. The wind farm owners could earn tax credits by investing in local community projects.