Article

Corps plans public hearing on Shaffer wind farm

Company officials have long maintained the project will have minimal impact on the environment and will meet rigorous best management practices during construction. Opponents of the project say no amount of design will make the project safe for the environment on Shaffer Mountain.

A public hearing concerning a permit for the Shaffer Mountain Wind Farm will be held on Aug. 12 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Developer Gamesa Energy USA is seeking an OK from the corps on a wetlands mitigation plan for a 30-turbine project set for parts of Shade and Ogle townships in Somerset County and Napier Township in Bedford County.

A total of eight wetlands and watercourses are expected to be either permanently or temporarily impacted by the construction of the project, according to the notice.

The majority of the wetlands in the 1,600-acre project area are in Central City's watershed.

"This public hearing is being conducted to ensure every effort is made to identify and weigh all beneficial and adverse effects of the proposed activity as part of the Corps' Public Interest Review under National Environmental Policy Acts," the letter states.

Public registration to speak or present at the hearing begins at 5:30 p.m. with the hearing itself slated for 6:30 p.m. at Somerset Area High School.

Oral and written statements supporting or opposing the project will be taken and submitted as part of the official record of the application. Public speaking times... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

A public hearing concerning a permit for the Shaffer Mountain Wind Farm will be held on Aug. 12 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Developer Gamesa Energy USA is seeking an OK from the corps on a wetlands mitigation plan for a 30-turbine project set for parts of Shade and Ogle townships in Somerset County and Napier Township in Bedford County.

A total of eight wetlands and watercourses are expected to be either permanently or temporarily impacted by the construction of the project, according to the notice.

The majority of the wetlands in the 1,600-acre project area are in Central City's watershed.

"This public hearing is being conducted to ensure every effort is made to identify and weigh all beneficial and adverse effects of the proposed activity as part of the Corps' Public Interest Review under National Environmental Policy Acts," the letter states.

Public registration to speak or present at the hearing begins at 5:30 p.m. with the hearing itself slated for 6:30 p.m. at Somerset Area High School.

Oral and written statements supporting or opposing the project will be taken and submitted as part of the official record of the application. Public speaking times may be limited to three minutes depending on the number of people commenting.

Additional written comments may be submitted to the regulatory branch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh District, at 1000 Liberty Ave., Pittsburgh, Pa., 15222-4186.

Gamesa is waiting for permitting from agencies that include the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Last year, the company submitted its stormwater management plan for the fourth time after the DEP rejected the proposal on technical and environmental grounds.

The plan will be used by the DEP to decide whether to issue Gamesa a national pollutant discharge elimination system permit.

While the permit is nominally about water management, the DEP uses the process to evaluate environmental impacts on plants, animals and nearby water sources. Without the permit, the project will not be able to move forward.

Company officials have long maintained the project will have minimal impact on the environment and will meet rigorous best management practices during construction.

Opponents of the project say no amount of design will make the project safe for the environment on Shaffer Mountain.

Questions about the public notice should be directed to Allen Edris, regulatory project manager, at (412) 395-7158 or by e-mail at allen.r.edris@usace.army.mil.


Source: http://www.ourtownonline.bi...

JUL 15 2010
https://www.windaction.org/posts/27278-corps-plans-public-hearing-on-shaffer-wind-farm
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