Articles filed under Impact on Landscape from West Virginia

Reaction to wind turbine project

Arthur and Pamela Dodds are upset with the West Virginia Public Service Commission's approval of the wind turbine facility along the Laurel Mountain ridgeline in Barbour and Randolph Counties. "I was very disappointed that the wind turbine complex had been approved. I feel there was an improper balancing of the information that the opposition gave," says Pamela Dodds, a Barbour County resident.
2 Dec 2008

One environmentalist thinks about wind power

I had always favored building wind farms. The burden of coal mining-and particularly mountaintop removal coal mining-is so great that anything would be better. If wind farms diminish that then they are worth it. ...Now there is a new twist to the argument, something that makes thinking about wind power even more difficult. In the article that begins on page 14 of this issue, Ms. Collins argues that building more wind farms will not reduce the use of coal. She argues that because wind farms only make electricity when the wind blows, they are inefficient and unreliable. ...If it true that wind farms do not diminish the use of coal, then we do have some rethinking to do. If they do not replace any coal, then what is the point? Why should a single bat die, a single hiker be inconvenienced, a single tree be cut if wind power is not going to reduce the use of coal or some other source of electricity?
5 Nov 2008

Wind company, state disagree on view study

Is it too expensive to survey historic resources before Virginia's first wind energy plant is constructed? Highland New Wind Development says it would have to fork over between $50,000-$75,000, or more, to do what state officials have been steadily requesting for two years. ...DHR archeologist Roger Kirchen, however, told The Recorder his agency needs the results of these surveys before a review of the project is completed. "The final SCC order directs the applicant to work toward providing us with information," Kirchen said Monday. "The SCC order has the authority. We've exchanged some documents (with HNWD) ... but none of these issues have been resolved. At this point, we're just trying to identify the potential effects."
4 Sep 2008

A gold rushing wind

Death, destruction and insomnia are marketed as "renewable electricity" to urban consumers. The federal production tax credit drives it all, with additional subsidies on national forest, where no property taxes are levied. ...We'd have to replace nearly every tree with a turbine to offset even a small amount of coal's impact, devastating the forest in the process. Without a national policy on energy conservation and efficiency, we're whistling in the wind anyway.
3 Sep 2008

Farmer says possibility of power line on his land 'like a punch to the gut'

One week after moving in, Loudenslager found out that a swath of the farm where cows graze and alfalfa grows soon could be cleared to make way for a high-voltage power line. "It's like a punch to the gut," Loudenslager said. "This is where I've wanted to be my whole life." Loudenslager's farm north of Boonsboro sits on one of several routes that have been suggested for the Potomac Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH), which would run from St. Albans, W.Va., through Bedington, W.Va., to Kemptown, Md., in Frederick County.
24 Aug 2008

As the blades turn

And turbines are still something of a novelty for most of us, so the "not in my backyard" mentality hasn't yet set in when it comes to wind farms. In fact, as we reported in the Energy Journal, groups of ranchers in eastern Wyoming -- seeing an opportunity to make some money without significantly disrupting their ag operations -- have banded together to market their properties to wind energy developers. That, of course, could change. As turbines begin to spring up in more sensitive, pristine spots, or closer to residential areas, the novelty could wear off quickly.
9 Aug 2008

Wind developer got a break, Starcher writes

Wind power developer Beech Ridge Energy caught a break it didn't deserve when the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals approved its plan to build tall turbines on ridges in Greenbrier County, said Justice Larry Starcher. In a July 17 dissent he claimed the court improperly allowed Beech Ridge Energy to provide vital information after the Public Service Commission approved its plan.
26 Jul 2008

Lawsuit to be filed to Protect Wildlife from NedPower Industrial Wind Project near Dolly Sods Wilderness

On May 8th 2007, eleven citizens' groups filed a Sixty Day Notice of Intent to Sue regarding the company NedPower Mt. Storm, and its corporate owners Dominion Resources, and Shell Wind Energy. The Notice alleges violations of the Endangered Species Act, involving the West Virginia northern flying squirrel, the Indiana bat, and the Virginia big-eared bat. The Notice also raises concerns about impacts to bald and golden eagles and migrating birds that are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The citizens' groups are demanding that the industrial wind corporation apply for an incidental take permit, and modify or stop construction of this project, before irreparable harm is done to West Virginia's natural heritage.
1 Jul 2008

Blowing in the wind: Alternative energy may be on horizon for Shenandoah Valley

Freedom Works is planning the project to span the ridge line running along the border between Va. and West Va. The line runs from approximately five miles north of Woodstock to about five miles South of Mount Jackson, along the Western horizon. This would cover eighteen miles of ridgeline, in two states (Virginia and West Virginia), and three counties (Hardy in West Virginia, and Shenandoah and Rockingham in Virginia.) The timeline for the project runs from as short as a two-year, permit-gathering phase (followed by one to two years of construction) to a completion date as far off as the year 2040. When asked about a reported 2010 completion date for the project, Jim Smalls, district ranger for the Lee Ranger District within which the project is being planned, simply said, "I find that optimistic."
9 Apr 2008

More needs to be addressed on windmills issue

In AES' application to the Public Service Commission for a siting certificate, in the second volume page 5, they state, "there is a demonstrated need for additional generating capacity in the region as well as the PJM (grid managers) power markets which include West Virginia." Maybe AES isn't aware that West Virginia already exports 70 percent of the power produced in the state. We certainly don't need the power. West Virginia being a huge exporter of power has transmission lines running everywhere, providing wind developers easy access to the grid. With no real sitting regulations, no mass population to deal with, and armed with tax credits and incentives, both federal and state, once again West Virginia is ripe for exploitation. ...Hopefully our mountains and wind will always be here. Wind developers want to cram these wind turbines down our throats and act as if this is the only chance we'll ever have to take advantage of this so-called "wonderful opportunity."
5 Apr 2008

Wind energy sneaking in under cloak of darkness

The current political wind is in favor of the developers and industrial wind energy interests, thereby significantly influencing the pressure on our natural environment. If the trend continues, how much of our national, state and private forests will remain when our fast expanding population will likely be desperate for a little breathing room in the future - 25, 50 and 100 years from today? I am well aware of the issues of global warming and the nation's energy requirements and am totally convinced that industrial wind energy projects on the ridge tops of the mountains in the Eastern United States is not the solution and unworthy of the billions of dollars that we are bestowing upon this industry. A major reason for the increasing opposition to the development of large industrial wind projects in the mountains is loss of visual amenity, the effects of highly visible vertical man-made structures with rotating blades located in predominantly horizontal, static natural hillscapes. The loss of beautiful scenery, favorite views and inspiring landscapes are objections dismissed by large corporate developers as emotional and subjective. ...In conclusion, the negative issues, problems and drawbacks of siting industrial wind turbines on the pristine mountains is not the answer our nation's need for energy sources. Why are we allowing them to infiltrate our ecologically fragile landscapes and cause huge negative impacts?
3 Apr 2008

Area site is touted for wind turbines; W.Va. company says Shenandoah Mountain good fit

Shenandoah Mountain is fit with high-quality breezes and a location near population centers, a necessary combination for wind farms such as the one being sought by a West Virginia firm, a wind expert said. ...Politicians will have their say, too, if the local project moves forward. Del. Todd Gil-bert, R-Woodstock, said his office would be making inquiries soon, but that more knowledge of wind energy is needed before he can form an opinion on it. "I'm one of the biggest proponents for trying to get off the dependence on oil," he said, "but the fact of the matter is, the most cost-efficient energy sources we have are traditional ones, not alternative ones."
1 Apr 2008

W.Va. residents also worry about turbines

One of my big concerns is that the publicity I see on television and in newspapers does not really reflect both sides of the issue. It makes the average viewer/reader who does not do his own investigation believe that there are no real problems other than that people don't want to look at them across our mountain tops. If the average person really understood the effects of the turbine installation and operation, there would be a lot more people objecting. Perhaps it sounds inappropriate for someone who lives in another county to be objecting to the turbines on Laurel Mountain. As the projects being proposed involve at least 8 counties, there will be a cumulative negative impact if they are approved.
9 Mar 2008

City hears debate on windmills

The debate over proposed windmills being placed in Randolph and Barbour counties came to the Elkins City Council meeting Thursday night. Although a proposed ordinance to express council's opposition to the AES' Laurel Mountain windmill farm project was on the agenda, council took no action. The resolution was not prepared for council to take a vote and a debate started within the crowd following a informational presentation by West Virginia Green Energy Alliance representative Joel Martin. "There has been a fairly focused campaign to distribute information that is not accurate," Martin said. "The project will not lead to a disaster on the mountains." ...Beckwith also asked Martin what affects the windmills would have on the ecology and environment. "I cannot guarantee that there will be no destruction," Martin responded.
7 Mar 2008

Is another wind battle in Pendleton County's future?

The Liberty Gap wind energy project planned for the border of Pendleton and Highland counties did not get approval from West Virginia's Public Service Commission last year, but that doesn't mean the company is giving up. According to Pendleton County residents opposed to the project, the developer is moving ahead, attempting to get its application rewritten for a better chance of approval. The West Virginia Public Service Commission had noted several deficiencies in the company's application, including insufficient information on historic resources, site maps, and environmental protect. The grassroots effort to stop the Liberty Gap project was spearheaded by Friends of Beautiful Pendleton County, and according to one of its members, Larry Thomas, it cost $87,000 to challenge the company's application. But Liberty Gap has regrouped and learned from its mistakes, and the next round might cost opponents as much as $250,000.
29 Jan 2008

Mountain Windmill Project Met With Mixed Opinions

The Laurel Mountain Preservation Association has been vocal at several governmental and public meetings regarding its opposition to the wind turbines. Members Art and Pam Dodd said the organization was formed in 2005 "to monitor and protect water resources and to promote an appreciation for the importance of the historical significance of the Battle of Laurel Hill." ..."Our group opposes the construction of wind turbines on the ridgetop of Laurel Mountain or any other mountain because, on a regional scale, the clear-cutting of large ridgetop areas for wind turbine construction reduces our groundwater recharge," the Dodds said. "The West Virginia Groundwater Protection Act states that over 90 percent of West Virginia residents rely on groundwater for their homes. The increased runoff to streams not only destroys headwater habitats and increases the potential for flooding, but also creates an imbalance in the water cycle that would lower our groundwater reserves forever."
16 Dec 2007

Mollohan criticizes wind power plan

Congressman Alan Mollohan sent an 11-page letter to the state Division of Energy officials last week, criticizing a new state plan for developing industrial wind power sites, primarily in the state's northeastern counties. State plans "entirely disregard the serious environmental concerns" raised by a number of critical studies prepared by the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Government Accountability Office, said Mollohan, D-W.Va. Citing state marketing efforts touting the state's scenic vistas and calm pace, he asked, "How do rows of 400-foot-high industrial and wind turbines, spread out over thousands of acres of ridgelines, fit into that picture?" ...James Webb, a University of Virginia research scientist, recently found that the Mountaineer Project in Tucker County operated at only 9 percent of its capacity during the month of August. Webb calculated it would typically take nearly 3,000 huge wind turbines to match the power output of one conventional electric power plant.
4 Nov 2007

It has been a trying time for some Grant County residents

The Grant County commissioners focused much of their attention at their recent public meeting on taking action to address the concerns of residents in the mountaintop region of the county related to road damage and threatened water resources. Commissioner Jim Cole said that the residents have had their patience pushed to the limit during the last few months. "Their water supply has been threatened by Wolf Run's application for a mining permit and they have had to wait hours with the roads blocked while equipment is transported to Grassy Ridge by NedPower/Shell WindEnergy," he said. The county commission has gone on record opposing the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection granting a permit to Wolf Run. However, the commissioners noted that they need to continue to do whatever else is necessary to ensure the residents have safe, potable drinking water.
8 Aug 2007

Mollohan is right about wind

Rep. Alan Mollohan is proving refreshingly thoughtful and farsighted on one of the emerging issues facing West Virginia - the pros and cons of wind power. He makes a persuasive case that the state should regulate its newest energy industry now. On Tuesday, the 1st District congressman told a congressional subcommittee he is very concerned about the impact wind farms could have on the wildlife and natural beauty of the state......Mollohan is right. It's time to slow this heavily subsidized stampede.
4 May 2007
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