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State nearing decision on wind-farm sites

The Times Tribune|Robert Swift|June 2, 2007
PennsylvaniaImpact on WildlifeImpact on LandscapeEnergy Policy

State officials expect a decision in six months on whether to allow development of commercial wind-power facilities on state forest land. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has been considering the idea for several years. Legislative approval is needed to allow commercial windmills in any of the 20 state forest districts which cover more than 2 million acres. If DCNR and Rendell administration officials give the idea a green light, they would need to find a state lawmaker to sponsor enabling legislation.


HARRISBURG - State officials expect a decision in six months on whether to allow development of commercial wind-power facilities on state forest land.

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has been considering the idea for several years. DCNR Secretary Michael DiBerardinis made it clear the review is in advanced stages during remarks at an energy conference this week.

Legislative approval is needed to allow commercial windmills in any of the 20 state forest districts which cover more than 2 million acres. If DCNR and Rendell administration officials give the idea a green light, they would need to find a state lawmaker to sponsor enabling legislation.

In Northeastern Pennsylvania, Lackawanna County has 7,089 acres of state forest land, Luzerne has 1,417, Pike has 68,431 and Monroe has 8,794.

"We are not considering wind energy in state parks," DCNR spokeswoman Christina Novak said Friday. The agency is undertaking a slow and careful review of whether windmills would fit on selected portions ... more [truncated due to possible copyright]

     

HARRISBURG - State officials expect a decision in six months on whether to allow development of commercial wind-power facilities on state forest land.

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has been considering the idea for several years. DCNR Secretary Michael DiBerardinis made it clear the review is in advanced stages during remarks at an energy conference this week.

Legislative approval is needed to allow commercial windmills in any of the 20 state forest districts which cover more than 2 million acres. If DCNR and Rendell administration officials give the idea a green light, they would need to find a state lawmaker to sponsor enabling legislation.

In Northeastern Pennsylvania, Lackawanna County has 7,089 acres of state forest land, Luzerne has 1,417, Pike has 68,431 and Monroe has 8,794.

"We are not considering wind energy in state parks," DCNR spokeswoman Christina Novak said Friday. The agency is undertaking a slow and careful review of whether windmills would fit on selected portions of state forest land. A final decision is about six months away, she added.

Gov. Ed Rendell's energy independence strategy, outlined in four separate House bills, calls for using bond financing, tax credits and other incentives to expand use of wind, solar and hydro power. A state "energy portfolio" law sets a goal of having 18 percent of Pennsylvania's electricity come from alternative energy sources by 2020. DCNR officials see windmills on state forest lands as advancing that goal.

"If we are serious about addressing global warming and climate change, this is something we need to consider," said Ms. Novak.

Sen. Raphael Musto, D-Pittston Township, ranking Democrat on the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, backs the concept of windmills on state forest lands, but wants to see the details of any legislation.

"We are going to have to take a look at the energy problem we have today," said Mr. Musto. "We just can't continue to be dependent on foreign oil."

He noted that while some residents are critical of the windmills in the Bear Creek area, technological improvements are solving noise problems associated with the first generation of windmills.

DCNR is developing criteria to determine where windmills can be located on state forest land and where they would be unwelcome due to factors such as migratory bird routes and feeding areas, designated natural and wild areas and wildlife habitat. The agency is looking at locations on ridges up to 2,000 feet with the sustained winds to power the turbines.

State forests operate under a multi-use concept where hiking, camping and motor biking coexist with logging and natural gas extraction.

Contact the writer: rswift@timesshamrock.com


Content truncated due to possible copyright. Use source link for full article.


Source:http://www.thetimes-tribune.c…

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