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Group wants to push wind turbines to forefront

Area residents concerned about the growing visual footprint of the wind industry in the region, including a planned 23-turbine wind farm that will transform the skyline west of Keyser, gathered Sunday to form a citizens group that will seek to educate the public about wind energy. The new group, named Allegheny Front Alliance, met Sunday afternoon at Keyser Primary Middle School, with about 25 people in attendance.

KEYSER - Area residents concerned about the growing visual footprint of the wind industry in the region, including a planned 23-turbine wind farm that will transform the skyline west of Keyser, gathered Sunday to form a citizens group that will seek to educate the public about wind energy.

The new group, named Allegheny Front Alliance, met Sunday afternoon at Keyser Primary Middle School, with about 25 people in attendance.

Keyser resident Frank O'Hara said the group is in the very early stages, but hopes to quickly gear up so that members can speak to civic clubs and other groups about the wind industry.

"That's exactly what it is," he said of the group's educational focus. "We want people to become empowered so they can make an informed decision."

O'Hara, a member of the community advisory panel established by US WindForce to help guide development of the Pinnacle Wind Farm project on Green Mountain near Keyser, said wind power remains attractive as a renewable energy source, but its implementation raises numerous issues of concern. He raised questions about the efficiency of wind turbines, the impact on ridgelines that are part of the region's cultural and... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

KEYSER - Area residents concerned about the growing visual footprint of the wind industry in the region, including a planned 23-turbine wind farm that will transform the skyline west of Keyser, gathered Sunday to form a citizens group that will seek to educate the public about wind energy.

The new group, named Allegheny Front Alliance, met Sunday afternoon at Keyser Primary Middle School, with about 25 people in attendance.

Keyser resident Frank O'Hara said the group is in the very early stages, but hopes to quickly gear up so that members can speak to civic clubs and other groups about the wind industry.

"That's exactly what it is," he said of the group's educational focus. "We want people to become empowered so they can make an informed decision."

O'Hara, a member of the community advisory panel established by US WindForce to help guide development of the Pinnacle Wind Farm project on Green Mountain near Keyser, said wind power remains attractive as a renewable energy source, but its implementation raises numerous issues of concern. He raised questions about the efficiency of wind turbines, the impact on ridgelines that are part of the region's cultural and historical legacy, and the effect on wildlife, including rare bat species.

"I still think wind power is a good idea," he said. "I don't think it's a good idea, what's being proposed in the Mountain State and throughout Appalachia."

Among those in attendance at Sunday's meeting was Mineral County Commissioners President Wayne Spiggle, who remains neutral on the question of wind power, but skeptical.

"As a county commissioner I am for jobs and I am for increasing the tax base within the county; Lord knows we need that," he said. "But when you look at any development, you have to look at the downside and who's going to pay. I'm not yet persuaded that wind turbines on ridge-tops that have other value don't have a downside, and I'm trying to get my mind around that."

Spiggle noted that West Virginia currently has 21 existing or planned wind farms. If the trend continues, mountaintops throughout the state might eventually be crowned with 40-story turbines. "You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that some day all of our ridge-tops could be covered," he said.

Also at the meeting was former Frostburg mayor and Maryland State Sen. John Bambacus, who opposes a 25-turbine wind farm being proposed by US WindForce on Dan's Mountain, from Dan's Rock to Interstate 68. That project is the subject of a Jan. 22 hearing by the Maryland Public Service Commission, to be held 4 p.m. at Dunkle Hall, Frostburg State University.

O'Hara said the Allegheny Front Alliance is in its early stages and will release contact information about the group in the near future.


Source: http://www.newstribune.info...

JAN 13 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/18583-group-wants-to-push-wind-turbines-to-forefront
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