Direct Testimony of John Pagels for Highland Citizens, regarding the application of Highland New Wind Development, LLC, to construct a facility in Highland County, Virginia.
p. 5-6: “For the reasons stated herein, the study submitted by the developer in support of the turbines is insufficient in some places and erroneous in others. Indeed, based upon my years of research in and around the subject property we know that the report’s conclusion, that the northern flying squirrel is not present, is wrong. Rather than trying to disprove something that we already know to be a fact, the focus of the study should have been on the potential impact of the construction and operation of the turbines on the northern flying squirrel. Potential issues that need to be studied are the destruction of critical habitat, the increased isolation of suitable habitat, and the attraction of predators to the site due to increased food supply (dead birds and bats).
“The area should not be viewed as already too perturbed, and instead it should be jealously protected and reforestation should be encouraged. At the very least we need additional study before further wasting what is known to be a very valuable resource. Unfortunately, the study submitted by the developer does not provide us with sufficient information to make an informed decision. My years of research have demonstrated the presence of the northern flying squirrel. We now need to study what impacts the construction and operation of the turbines would have on the northern flying squirrel. Obviously, industrial wind projects such as these can impact much more than just the northern flying squirrel, and as suggested earlier, we cannot have wholesale development of our ridgetops without an awareness of potential consequences. Certainly, wind energy is not green energy if it requires that we negatively impact special natural resources, including rare and endangered species and their habitats.”
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