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School board will take no position on wind farms

Despite a potential windfall of $300,000 a year or more for schools, the Mineral County Board of Education will not take a position in support of the proposed Pinnacle Wind Farm prior to the September hearing on the project to be conducted by the West Virginia Public Service Commission. Officials from U.S. WindForce appeared before the school board earlier this month to preview the project atop Green Mountain just west of Keyser, as well as the plan to divert about three-quarters of the wind farm's property tax revenue to the school system. Opponents of the project appeared before the board at the same time.

KEYSER - Despite a potential windfall of $300,000 a year or more for schools, the Mineral County Board of Education will not take a position in support of the proposed Pinnacle Wind Farm prior to the September hearing on the project to be conducted by the West Virginia Public Service Commission.

Officials from U.S. WindForce appeared before the school board earlier this month to preview the project atop Green Mountain just west of Keyser, as well as the plan to divert about three-quarters of the wind farm's property tax revenue to the school system. Opponents of the project appeared before the board at the same time.

At this week's Board of Education meeting, Board President Terry LaRue broached the issue of whether the board should advocate for the Pinnacle project as other public bodies have done, including the city of Keyser and the Mineral County Development Authority.

LaRue advised against such a move. "My gut feeling is, I'd rather wait until the PSC meets to hear what they say," LaRue said.

Wind farm opponents have consistently questioned whether the Pinnacle project will generate the $400,000 in estimated property tax revenue cited by the project... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

KEYSER - Despite a potential windfall of $300,000 a year or more for schools, the Mineral County Board of Education will not take a position in support of the proposed Pinnacle Wind Farm prior to the September hearing on the project to be conducted by the West Virginia Public Service Commission.

Officials from U.S. WindForce appeared before the school board earlier this month to preview the project atop Green Mountain just west of Keyser, as well as the plan to divert about three-quarters of the wind farm's property tax revenue to the school system. Opponents of the project appeared before the board at the same time.

At this week's Board of Education meeting, Board President Terry LaRue broached the issue of whether the board should advocate for the Pinnacle project as other public bodies have done, including the city of Keyser and the Mineral County Development Authority.

LaRue advised against such a move. "My gut feeling is, I'd rather wait until the PSC meets to hear what they say," LaRue said.

Wind farm opponents have consistently questioned whether the Pinnacle project will generate the $400,000 in estimated property tax revenue cited by the project developer, and school board members seemed to share their concerns.

Even if those estimates bear out, however, LaRue said the school system may come out behind if residents see the additional wind revenue going to the schools, and are less inclined to support the school levies that represent a critical revenue source for the system.

"I'm just leery about going out to support that," he said.

Board member Bob Shook echoed those concerns, saying the $300,000 to $400,000 estimated tax figure has become "ingrained" in the public mindset. "There's no guarantee we're going to get that money," he said.

Shook also expressed concerns about the height of the turbines, saying Pinnacle will be 100 feet higher than turbines in Tucker County. He and LaRue also said many turbines in the area do not turn, and questioned the power-production of such projects.

Shook noted as well that the power generated will not stay in this area.
While LaRue made it clear he was speaking for himself, none of the other board members spoke in defense of the Pinnacle project, and the board agreed without dissent to take no position on the issue.


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

JUL 31 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/21495-school-board-will-take-no-position-on-wind-farms
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