Fifteen more wind turbines are proposed for land near the state prison in Brothersvalley Township, just weeks after plans were filed for 18 others on the Allegheny Ridge just south of Berlin.
Atlantic Wind LLC of Portland, Ore., has submitted plans to build the 15 giant windmills on a reclaimed strip mine near State Correctional Institution-Somerset, just east of the Garrett Shortcut.
Two of the turbines already have been approved, while the company is awaiting the go-ahead for the others, county planner Bill Lehman said.
“There seems to be a sudden surge,” said Brad Zearfoss, county planning commission director.
Long an outspoken opponent of unfettered wind-farm development, Somerset Township veterinarian Jeff Payne said he does not have major objections to placing turbines near the prison.
“The central part of the county is the most appropriate place for them, versus putting them on wooded ridge tops,” Payne said.
Atlantic Wind spokeswoman Jan Johnson said construction is planned for next year.
Johnson said the company strives to be environmentally friendly and once delayed a project at the Oregon-Washington border for a year because of concern for endangered squirrels.
“We work really hard at making sure that we are a responsible developer in terms of the impact on the environment in every way,” Johnson said.
Two weeks ago, Lookout Windpower Project LLC of Leawood, Kan., submitted plans to construct 18 turbines in Brothersvalley and Northampton townships.
By Kirk Swauger, The Tribune-Democrat
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