Articles filed under Impact on Landscape from Pennsylvania

The industrialization of rural America

An objective analysis of windmills as even a partial solution to our energy needs just isn't cutting it. The numbers just don't add up. It maybe time to use the old adage, "Liars can figure, but figures don't lie". Obviously, the American Wind Energy Association is a powerful lobby taking us in a direction that will only result in that warm and fuzzy feeling, but our lights may not come on. From the Rocky Mountains to Texas to Maine people are finally beginning to question the logic and effectiveness of wind energy.
24 Aug 2007

The industrialization of rural America

An objective analysis of windmills as even a partial solution to our energy needs just isn't cutting it. The numbers just don't add up. It maybe time to use the old adage, "Liars can figure, but figures don't lie". Obviously, the American Wind Energy Association is a powerful lobby taking us in a direction that will only result in that warm and fuzzy feeling, but our lights may not come on. From the Rocky Mountains to Texas to Maine people are finally beginning to question the logic and effectiveness of wind energy.
24 Aug 2007

Comparing apples to oranges

Comparing Allegheny Ridge to Shaffer Mountain is like comparing apples to oranges. And these differences are the reason Gamesa's industrialization of this section of Shaffer Mountain will be stopped. It's all about the siting. The siting of these industrial facilities, if not regulated soon, may well doom the ablility of industrial wind to reach its full potential. The people of the Commonwealth are not going to stand for the destruction of the last of our highest quality wild habitats, especially when we have hundreds of thousands of acres of reclaimed strip mines, with great wind, that have already been destroyed.
10 Aug 2007

Upper Delaware Council Voices Wind Farm Concerns

With the talk of a wind farm sprouting in Sullivan County, New York, some members of the Upper Delaware Council (UDC) have expressed concern for the visual impact they could make on the Delaware River in this section....Phil Chase, who represents the NY Town of Deerpark on the UDC, interjected that he knew of "people who receive $6,000 a year to pollute a beautiful area with minimum electricity generated." He commented that wind farms require a road connecting turbines, cutting through the land, where trespass then becomes an issue. Noise is also a factor, added Charles Wieland, the UDC delegate from the Town of Tusten.
6 Aug 2007

Ruining the mountain tops

Besides the fact that industrial wind turbines destroy habitat, endanger wildlife and disturb wetlands and streams, I guarantee that if you were told that when you look out of your picture window, instead of seeing the beautiful horizon, you will see an industrial turbine staring back at you, you would throw a fit. Well, that is what I will be viewing......If Gamesa proceeds with this, there will be nothing left for the next generation. We are mere tenants of this earth; it is our place to take care of it. We belong to the earth, it does not belong to us. That is a world truth.
18 Jul 2007

Shocking study in Shade watersheds

OGLE TOWNSHIP - Local conservation groups are working to document the health of a number of streams that face potential impact from both future wind turbine and mining projects...... Shortly after, the first of 192 fish was scooped out of the water, stunned by the electrical pulse emitted by Kagel's rig. Among the catch were 21 trout, some so small they were indicative of natural reproduction, said Reckner, the program director for the stream team. Finding that sections of Piney and Cub Run sustain the natural reproduction of trout species has led to them being classified as exceptional-value by the state.
17 Jul 2007

Wind is not free

How did Gamesa Corporation, a wind-energy company from Spain, find Shaffer Mountain, a small section of the Allegheny Front in Pennsylvania, which lies in Somerset and Bedford counties? Although we do not know all the details, we do know in 2004, that Gov. Rendell and Kathleen McGinty, secretary of Department of Environmental Protection, enticed Gamesa to abandon plans to build in Texas, by promising Gamesa that it would receive millions of dollars in grants, loans, and tax credits, financed with taxpayers' money. Federal income tax shelters will allow Gamesa to avoid paying taxes owed and thereby recover two-thirds of the capital cost of each turbine - about $2 million each. We also know that Gamesa has received tax-free status through 2018 by locating on land that is a Keystone Opportunity Improvement Zone. Even before Gamesa started construction in our state, the company had purchase agreements and letters of intent to sell 400 megawatts worth of wind-generated power to Pennsylvania utilities. But how did Gamesa find Shaffer Mountain? It's simple: Shaffer Mountain has wind.
25 Jun 2007

Wind energy debate divides town, developers

If you go up to the Rattlesnake Roundup this weekend in Noxen, take a look beyond the snakes. Look past the fenced snake pen, the crowd of people and the bucolic small town. Focus on the mountains that guard over Noxen, for they are about to change. BP Alternative Energy is eyeing the mountains as the future sight of a wind turbine facility. The corporate energy giant believes the top of the ridge may be a suitable location for 30 to 70 turbines. Township residents beg to differ, and I can understand why.
18 Jun 2007

Protect the water

Mr. Oldham mentions the report of hydrologist, James Casselberry, who, based on six pages of information Gamesa originally supplied, said the development would not hurt anything because the construction would be on the surface and WAA gets its water from deep wells. This conclusion is absurd. Last time I checked, water falls from the sky on the surface of the land - right where Gamesa wants to develop this project. The WAA can stop this project dead in its tracks. It has the absolute legal right to do so under the land use agreement it signed with Berwind in 1989. In order to insure that the water supply for their 10,000 customers is not degraded, WAA must maintain their vote against this development.
12 Jun 2007

State nearing decision on wind-farm sites

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.
2 Jun 2007

Citizens’ group pressures governor to stop wind farm

A citizens' group opposed to the location of massive wind-energy plant in northern Potter County is pressuring Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell to stop the plan. However, with Gov. Rendell pushing for renewable energy projects in Pennsylvania, the "Save God's Country" (SGC) group could face an uphill struggle. An SGC spokesman said the location of wind turbines in the region is at odds with the governor's strong support for the Pennsylvania Wilds tourist promotion plan. "Are hundreds of industrial wind turbines something that will tempt people to visit the Pennsylvania Wilds?" asked Dan Howe. "It seems incongruous, and yet this is what is happening in Potter, Cameron, McKean, Lycoming and Tioga counties, all designated as the Pennsylvania Wilds."
27 Mar 2007

Wind company defends project

Facing criticism from landowners and local agencies over a proposed wind farm on Shaffer Mountain, Gamesa officials are working to dispel what they say is incorrect information being spread about the project. "We feel that the wind farm will be a positive for the community. People have some fears, some concerns about the project and we're going to reach out to the public in the coming months," said Ellen Lutz, Gamesa's director of development for the Atlantic region. The 30-turbine wind farm, which is projected to extend through parts of Shade and Ogle townships in Somerset County and Napier Township in Bedford County, has been subject to extensive studies by Gamesa and should meet environmental standards, company officials have said. However, allegations by local landowners that the project will ruin a spring that feeds a New Paris fish hatchery have been of particular concern to the company. "Our geotechnical testing of the area showed we would not disrupt any underground water supplies," Lutz said.
23 Mar 2007

Water authority votes against wind farm

Windber Area Authority members voted to oppose a wind turbine project slated for the Shaffer Mountain area over concerns that the watershed will be negatively impacted. However, the move was largely ceremonial as the authority's legal right to restrict operations on the watershed land have already been enacted, solicitor James Cascio said during Wednesday's meeting. The authority, under a 1989 land use agreement with primary landowner Berwind Natural Resources Corp., of Philadelphia, has only the right to approve or approve with written conditions the terms of any use that would impact the watershed, he said. In January, the authority asked in writing for restrictions and specifications of the project regarding the watershed, and the developer, Gamesa Energy USA, has complied with that initial request, he said. At the time, the authority's main concern was the proximity of several turbines to authority wells.
15 Mar 2007

Borough council opposes windmill project

PAINT BOROUGH - Borough council members are going on record to oppose the proposed wind turbine project along Shaffer Mountain. Council member Walter Drzal said he was approached by the Ogle Township supervisors and others to officially oppose the project. “These people know we went on record opposing the landfill in Paint Township, so I feel that we should go on record opposing the construction of windmills in the watershed and recharge area,” he said. He said that the windmills themselves do not pose a threat to the watershed, but the land clearance and construction of access roads disrupts the natural flow of water into the recharge area. “Nature is all intertwined. When you disrupt the water flow, you disrupt the habitats of plants and animals,” he said. Gamesa Energy, USA is the company responsible for the wind turbine project. The majority of the planned windmills would be located on land owned by Berwind Natural Resources Corp., of Philadelphia. Council members passed a motion to send a letter in opposition of any development in the watershed and recharge area to the Somerset Conservation District, Pa. Fish Commission, Department of Environmental Protection and the Berwind Natural Resources Corp.
11 Feb 2007

Exploitation endangers beautiful countryside

What is happening to God’s creations in Penn’s Woods? Berry and Mahantango mountains in upper Dauphin County and Cove Mountain in Perry County have come under attack by developers. Once developments or projects take up residence in those areas, woodlands with their flora and fauna will be lost forever. As the woodlands are gobbled up, maybe Pennsylvania should change its name, since the “sylvania” is Latin for woods. Why is it that out-of-the area developers/entrepreneurs are the ones who want to change the local landscapes?
26 Jan 2007

Windfarms’ damage

I strongly agree with Laura Jackson’s recent letter pointing out that the ecological costs of industrial windfarms on Pennsylvania’s forested ridgetops far exceed their benefits. These costs include massive forest fragmentation to construct and maintain the 400-foot tall turbines, scalping of ridgetops to develop heavy-duty roads for maintenance, and further carving of the forest for the construction of substations and transmission lines. In addition to this large-scale forest destruction, there’s also the huge problem of bat deaths due to turbine blades, to the extent of 50-100 bats killed per turbine per year in forested ridgetop settings. Proponents of ridgetop windfarms attempt to justify forest fragmentation and direct mortality of bats and birds by claiming that there will be a significant reduction in greenhouse gases as a result of windfarm operation. The reality is that it would require 4,000 industrial-scale wind turbines covering 500 miles of the commonwealth’s ridgetops to meet just 10 percent of Pennsylvania’s energy needs. On the Keystone State’s forested ridgetops, the huge ecological costs of industrial windfarms far exceed their small environmental benefits.
26 Jan 2007

Pennsylvania’s famed ridgetops aren’t the only place to put them

Another announcement of plans to build a large wind farm along a Pennsylvania ridgetop brings additional emphasis to the urgent need for the state to enact a windmill-siting protocol. Failure to do so threatens to dramatically alter Pennsylvania’s ridge and valley landscape to a degree not seen since the 19th-century lumber barons denuded Penn’s Woods.
19 Jan 2007

Expert: Windmills no threat to wells

Water company leaders say they will not oppose wind power development above supply wells, if the developer agrees to certain rules. “I truly believe the windmills don’t pose a significant risk to the water supply, if managed correctly,” geologist James Casselberry told Windber Area Authority Wednesday.
3 Jan 2007

Authority looks into windmills’ effects

Windber Area Authority members are looking into the impact a proposed wind farm will have on an area watershed. The board agreed Wednesday to ask geologist James Casselberry to begin studying how the construction of 38 wind turbines along Shaffer Mountain could affect water quality for authority customers. “If in fact there is a threat, the best way to find out is to talk to a hydrologist,” said solicitor James Cascio.
16 Dec 2006
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