Article

Battlefield question placed on hold

A hearing before the State Corporation Commission, which would have examined the wind farm's encroachment on a nearby Civil War battlefield, has been postponed indefinitely. The delay was requested by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, which in August complained that Highland New Wind Development had failed to consult with the agency about the project's effect on the Camp Allegheny battlefield.

A hearing to assess a proposed wind farm's encroachment on a Civil War site has been delayed indefinitely.

As work on the state's first commercial wind farm enters a winter lull in Highland County, so do the regulatory proceedings related to the most recent complaint against the project.

A hearing before the State Corporation Commission, which would have examined the wind farm's encroachment on a nearby Civil War battlefield, has been postponed indefinitely.

The delay was requested by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, which in August complained that Highland New Wind Development had failed to consult with the agency about the project's effect on the Camp Allegheny battlefield.

Just across the West Virginia line from a mountain ridge where 19 turbines are planned, the battlefield has become the latest cause for opponents who have been fighting the wind farm since 2004.

Some of the 400-foot towers will be visible from the battlefield "and will likely have a negative impact" on a site that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Department of Historic Resources has maintained in SCC filings.

Meanwhile, site preparation and road building that began in August will soon halt... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

A hearing to assess a proposed wind farm's encroachment on a Civil War site has been delayed indefinitely.

As work on the state's first commercial wind farm enters a winter lull in Highland County, so do the regulatory proceedings related to the most recent complaint against the project.

A hearing before the State Corporation Commission, which would have examined the wind farm's encroachment on a nearby Civil War battlefield, has been postponed indefinitely.

The delay was requested by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, which in August complained that Highland New Wind Development had failed to consult with the agency about the project's effect on the Camp Allegheny battlefield.

Just across the West Virginia line from a mountain ridge where 19 turbines are planned, the battlefield has become the latest cause for opponents who have been fighting the wind farm since 2004.

Some of the 400-foot towers will be visible from the battlefield "and will likely have a negative impact" on a site that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Department of Historic Resources has maintained in SCC filings.

Meanwhile, site preparation and road building that began in August will soon halt for the winter.

Construction of the turbines -- which developers say will generate enough electricity to power about 12,000 homes -- is slated to begin in the spring.

The SCC approved the project two years ago. The current question before the commission is whether Highland New Wind is cooperating with the Department of Historic Resources to address its concerns, which was a condition of the state's approval.

In a motion to continue a hearing that had been scheduled for Tuesday, an attorney for the state agency wrote that it has recently received written reports from the developers, including a visual impact study.

State officials then requested additional information from the National Park Service, which they expect will assist them in evaluating the developer's reports.

Since the complaint was filed in August, scheduled hearings before the SCC have been postponed at least twice. But at the request of the Department of Historic Resources, the hearing set for Tuesday was "continued generally."

It was unclear how long it may take before the state is ready to proceed; officials with the agency could not be reached for comment this week.

"The bottom line for us is we feel like we are going to continue to work with DHR to make sure this issue is addressed," said Frank Maisano, a spokesman for the developers. "This is an important issue, but I don't think it's as important as the opponents have made it out to be."

The developers have said the wind turbines will have a minimal effect on Camp Allegheny, which is about two miles away. Opponents, who argue the turbines will mar the county's scenic beauty, counter that the distance is less and the effect greater.

Rick Webb, a Highland County resident who opposes the project, said the viewshed study provided by Highland New Wind deals only with the turbines on Red Oak Knob and not the ones on Tamarack Ridge, which is closer to the battlefield.

Additional issues remain, Webb said. Among them: the question of whether some of the turbines might be built just across the state line, and thus be subject to regulation by West Virginia agencies; the project's effect on wetlands, birds and bats; and uncertainties about who will invest in the $80 million project.

"This is far from over," Webb said.


Source: http://www.roanoke.com/news...

NOV 12 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/23242-battlefield-question-placed-on-hold
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