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Letter from Rep. Mollohan to W. Va. Division of Energy  

Author:  | Aesthetics, Impacts, Regulations, Siting, West Virginia

October 31, 2007, letter from U.S. Representative Alan Mollohan to Jeff Herholdt, director of the West Virginia Division of Energy, concerning industrial wind energy development provisions of the proposed W.Va. energy plan:

… these provisions are badly flawed, in that they entirely disregard the serious environmental concerns that are raised by industrial wind-energy development in the mid-Atlantic region. Those concerns have been articulated by, among others, an expert study committee of the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office, as well as numerous citizens of this state in proceedings before the West Virginia Public Service Commission. …

A fair reading of those provisions suggests that they are based on the entirely erroneous assumption that such development would have only positive impacts on West Virginia. …

… in fashioning a state energy plan, it is critically important to take into account not only the approved projects, but also the plans of developers to build additional projects in our state. The available information indicates that out-of-state developers have targeted West Virginia, and if they are allowed to have their way, they will build their huge industrial projects on mountain ridges throughout our state. …

Furthermore, according to the findings of the National Academy of Sciences study committee, the performance of wind-energy projects in reducing harmful atmospheric emissions will be as disappointing as their output of electricity. …

While the benefits of wind-energy development are limited, the environmental concerns raised by the construction and operation of wind turbines in our region are extensive. Those concerns include impacts on wildlife, particularly birds and bats, and impacts on scenic mountain views. …

One other point on the environmental impacts that needs to be highlighted is that it is necessary to evaluate not only the impacts of each particular project, but also the cumulative impacts of building all the projects that developers are planning. …

Briefly stated, the [state energy] plan should indicate support for only those industrial wind-energy projects that are properly sited under established standards that protect the environment, including standards that protect wildlife and scenic mountain views. …

Download original document: “Letter from Rep. Mollohan to W. Va. Division of Energy

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