Library filed under Impact on People from Pennsylvania
Eric Glitzenstein, a Washington, D.C., attorney who is preparing the lawsuit, referred to the Endangered Species Act. "The courts view the unauthorized loss of even a single member of such a species to be an irreparable harm that should be prevented," he wrote in an e-mail. The letter of intent is required by the Endangered Species Act, he said. The groups have yet to decide where the suit would be filed, Glitzenstein added. "Our hope is that Gamesa - which touts itself as an environmentally responsible company - will agree either to do the right thing and abandon this ill-considered project site or, at least, do what is required by federal law and not proceed without applying for an ‘incidental take permit' from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service." The Indiana bat has been a protected species since 1967.
Complaints about wind turbine noise from the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm could find their way into the court system this year, depending on what happens in the coming weeks. A Jan. 31 deadline for repairs to be made has passed, and Juniata Township residents still are asking for relief. Engineer Paul Heishman of Mechanicsburg, an expert in measuring noise levels, has started a study to determine if the noise is louder than permitted by township ordinance. Portage Township in Cambria County plans to have Heishman conduct a separate study, Supervisor Ed Decort said. If Heishman determines the noise is excessive, Juniata officials say they will move forward with steps to enforce their ordinance. ...Jill Stull, whose property is closer to turbines, said she shuts her windows and stills hears the noise. ‘‘They're loud enough to make me wake up,'' Todd Stull said. ‘‘This is noise pollution.''
After seeing the full page ad in your paper on Jan. 29 entitled Wind Opponent Myth No. 4 - "Wind Turbines are Very Noisy," I knew I had to respond. Basically, the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition is saying you do not have to worry about noise from industrial wind turbines if they are coming to a ridge near you. Well, I am not sure how they conduct their decibel studies, but for all practical purposes, they mean absolutely nothing. You see, our home is over a half mile from one of those ridge-top industrial wind plants, and I am here to tell you the noise from those turbines has had a dramatic impact on the sanctity of our country home.
Despite efforts to repair wind turbines in Juniata Township, Blair County, they still are generating unbearable noise to some residents. Tempers flared at a Juniata Township supervisors meeting Monday night as residents voiced their frustrations. Supervisors agreed to contract Paul Heishman, a professional engineer, to conduct an independent noise study by Jan. 30, when all repairs are expected to be complete. Babcock and Brown, owners and operators of the turbines in the township and neighboring municipalities, have repaired half of the turbines and will repair the rest by Jan. 30.
Some area residents are upset over the noise pollution from green energy. The Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm stretches through two counties in our region. Its turbines can be seen in Juniata Township, Blair County and Portage Township in Aambria County. Those turbines to generate electricity, but some residents say they generate too much noise. Residents that live in the area agree that the noise isn't a problem for everyone. They say the shapes of the mountains and valleys funnel all the noise right into certain homes
As the debate goes on, the turbines are going up in record numbers -- a trend that's expected to continue as the clean energy industry moves to take advantage of concerns about global warming and rising fossil fuel costs. ...Rick Webb, a senior scientist in the University of Virginia's Department of Environmental Sciences, isn't so sure wind power, particularly on the mountains of the mid-Atlantic, will help much. Webb participated in a National Academy of Sciences committee that studied wind power and released a report this year that found wind power is growing, but in many places, guidelines for development are lacking. ''I think the potential electrical supply and the potential reduction to other sources of power won't be great enough to compensate for environmental damages on the ridges,'' Webb said, adding he believes offshore development of wind farms would be more useful because there is a more-abundant supply of wind there.
...environmentalists already have voiced concerns about what they say are the negative effects of fragmenting the forestland. Stan Kotala, president of the Juniata Valley Audubon Society, said Ice Mountain in Blair County, where part of the project would be built, is unique because it has a large expanse of unbroken forest. That interior forest is favored by some species including the bobcat, fisher and scarlet tanager, Kotala said. The county Planning Commission's Natural Heritage Inventory designated the area a natural heritage area, he said. "We just feel that it should be protected," he said. Gary Thornbloom, chairman of the Sierra Club Moshannon Group, said the biggest concern is where the wind industry is putting its projects.
A Tioga County resident took advantage of Tuesday's commissioners meeting to urge officials to create a strong ordinance on the use of wind energy. "It's the commissioners' responsibility to protect the interests of the county residents," Leon Kocher of Covington Township said. Kocher referred to a building permit application from wind energy company AES for plans to construct 124 wind turbines on 10,000 acres of leased property in Tioga and Bradford counties, as early as next spring. "I'm not against the windmills," Kocher said, "I just don't want them near the homes of people who have not leased property to them."
The Altoona City Authority is asking Logan Township to enlarge its wind turbine zone by 775 acres, more than double the acreage expansion request the township turned down in May. Authority General Manager Mark Perry presented supervisors last week with aerial maps showing the township's wind zone and the authority's land. Perry asked for an expansion beyond the zone's Route 36 northern border to include a portion of the authority's land. Supervisors made no immediate decision, but Chairman Frank Meloy asked if arrangements could be made to visit the site...
Do you think wind mill development can effect property values? For anyone to say that property values aren’t hurt by this is wrong. I went to a house where six of these wind mills were facing down on me. The house is 2,000 feet away and you can plainly see them in front of you as if it’s right there, that’s how close they feel. They are gigantic devices and I have to say I am amazed by them, but would I want to look at them that close to me? No I wouldn’t. The people in Tyrone that will be affected by our proposed wind farm are the people who live on top of Decker Hollow Road, by the old apple orchard. Those people will see and hear the wind mills. I’m going Saturday on top of Decker Hollow Road and look to see the mountain they will be on and try to imagine what it will be like.
What is your main concern right now with a wind farm on Ice Mountain? My main concern would be the noise levels of the wind mills, based on the noise problem at the Allegheny Ridge project right now. Gamesa doesn't say there's not a problem, they admit there is a problem and they're working on it, but until they get that problem fixed, I'm pretty much a "no" until I hear that. If Gamesa fixes that problem, and the opponents up there that told me they don't like the noise are happy, and the noise is not there anymore, I can't think of anything standing in my way of a wind farm, in just my vote, coming here.
On Capitol Hill, the Audubon Society is leading the fight to increase production of climate-friendly power. So why are Audubon enthusiasts battling a wind farm that could help meet that goal? For one thing, there are trout in nearby streams, which activists say are at risk from chemical and sediment runoff from construction of 30 turbines, each soaring about 400 feet -- taller than the Statue of Liberty. Then there are the bats and hawks, which might be puréed by the giant blades that would catch the wind gusting along the Allegheny Mountains of Western Pennsylvania. "They're enormous," says Tom Dick, a retired veterinarian who founded the local Audubon chapter. "When you start looking at this, it's like, 'hell, this is not right.'"
Mr. Irons, your "spin" is nothing more than personal greed, the "Almighty Dollar", when it comes to Shaffer Mountain! ...I believe in leaving something "unspoiled" for future generation. My legacy is not $5,000 per wind turbine, per year, as is yours. My legacy is to protect the natural beauty of Shaffer Mountain from hypocrites such as you. With you Mr. Irons - It's all about money and nothing more.
Our area, in particular, does not seem to possess an accurate spot for windmills. Somerset County seems to be a target area for the windmill companies, which is fine, but no one seems to consider all parties involved. In my opinion, money has blinded many eyes and covered many ears. Is everyone taking into consideration the wildlife and trees that are abandoned and lost? What about the constant noises that can affect the nearby homeowners and their families? Somerset is a rural area. Many people retreat to our town to get away from life in the city and the sight of windmills seems to disturb the country scene that everyone has grown to know and love. ...I’m not anti-energy, but if proper locations are not located in Somerset, then windmills should be situated somewhere else, preferably a place where they seem more fitting and they will have less of an impact on people and nature.
Some turbines in the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm are operating at noise levels above the limit spelled out in a local ordinance, a group of Portage Township residents maintains. Resident and former township Supervisor Bruce Brunett said the noise level measured at his home near Blue Knob is at least 10 decibels higher than the 45-decibel limit spelled out in the township ordinance. "We want to let them know we've got a problem there and they need to do something about it," said Brunett, who lives 1.3 miles from the closest turbine. ...Turbine noise has been around for some time for residents of Portage and Juniata townships. Jill Stull - who lives at the Juniata-Portage township line - reiterated her concern Monday, maintaining that the problem has been around since the start-up of the turbines.
An open house Wednesday by Spanish energy producer Gamesa USA is not exactly the kind of forum Tyrone's mayor had in mind when he asked the company to hold a public meeting on its proposed Ice Mountain wind farm. ... As it is set up now, with Gamesa representatives talking to people one-on-one, there's a missed opportunity for more people to hear how the company is addressing its critics.
As Tyrone Borough and Spanish-based wind energy generator Gamesa work out the fine print on a lease agreement for watershed acreage, those outside the process question the merits of placing turbines on Ice Mountain. ...Resident Jeff Morrisey said he has done as much as he could to educate himself about the issue of wind turbines since he became aware of Gamesa's intentions. ‘‘The more I found out, the less I liked them,'' he said of the 380-foot-tall windmills. ‘‘I don't want them anywhere. I really don't see where they're making a difference.'' The difference Morrisey brings up is the debate over whether wind is a ‘‘green'' enough alternative to electricity generation methods, particularly coal-powered generation.
Clean energy, no greenhouse gases, less dependence on foreign oil, guaranteed revenue for Tyrone - what's the catch? Well, there are many definite and possible catches. Gamesa promises no negative impacts to Tyrone's drinking water, but I wonder if they can really build all of those giant wind turbines without erosion taking place. There is always the possibility of an accident as well. According to Stan Kotala, spokesperson for the Juniata Valley Audubon Society, the small environmental gain from building the windmills would be offset by a huge ecological cost. Sandy Ridge has been identified as an Important Bird Area and a greenway. The wind turbines threaten birds and building them causes forest fragmentation. Mayor Kilmartin points out in his analysis, "... the structures will take up the ridge tops that people so tremendously love about this community." And these are big structures, too. One can't really comprehend their 450-foot height until you get close.
Tyrone Mayor James Kilmartin is asking the community to provide its input on the potential wind farm. Gamesa will be hoping to receive the borough's decision at the next council meeting November 13. "I want the community's response," said Mayor Kilmartin. "These wind mills will be up there for almost 30 years. These are 300 foot structures, then another 150 feet with the blades, so it's a 450 foot structure that's going to be on top of our ridge tops." ...He continued, "Years ago somebody made the decision to bring in low income housing and we went overboard on that, so now we're reaping some of the negative fruits of that decision. We want to look at this wind mill decision very systematically."