October 10, 2006

Wind farm stirs up opposition

A Brothersvalley Township man is trying to organize opposition to the construction of a wind farm on a ridge in his viewshed.

From the front of his house, Rick Bonomo will be able to clearly see the 18 windmills the Generation Resource Holding Co. of Leawood, Kan., wants to build.

“I spend a lot of time looking at the mountain and I find it quite rewarding to look at the mountain,” Bonomo said.

He’s worried the windmills are going to ruin that rewarding view.

Bonomo is circulating petitions asking the Somerset County commissioners to deny or rescind their approval of the company’s application to build the wind farm “until adequate information is obtained to support the safety and future success of this technology.”

The petition charges that the county did not fully evaluate the consequences of the wind project. Those consequences include ill effects on residents, visitors and wildlife, according to the petition.

Commissioner James Marker said the commissioners can’t rescind their approval, because the wind farm falls within the parameters of the county ordinance. Rather, the county would have to amend its ordinance to meet Bonomo’s requests.

Marker said the county spent a long time developing it’s ordinances and considering the issue from all sides.

“I think our ordinance strikes a good balance,” Marker said. “It protects people yet enables people to develop their property.”

The county receives comments and questions about its ordinance from time to time, Marker said. But he said there are plenty of people who support the wind industry.

“For every Rick Bonomo, I can point to 10 farmers who want to build windfarms,” he said.

On Monday, Bonomo asked the Brothersvalley Township supervisors to adopt a township ordinance that would be more restrictive than the Somerset County ordinance. He suggested they model their ordinance on Bedford County’s.

Townships have the ability to approve ordinances that would take precedence over the county ordinance. In Somerset County, Shade and Allegheny townships are considering adopting such ordinances.

The supervisors said they had been considering just such an ordinance, but were hesitant about adopting one because of the legal issues that are involved.

“If we pass an ordinance, if anybody wants to do an ordinance it’s against us,” Supervisor John Huffman said.

“There’s a lot of liability it we take on an ordinance. It’ll be us taking on a multibillion dollar company,” Supervisor Jason Ickes said.

By Rob Gebhart, Daily American Staff Writer
(Rob Gebhart can be reached at robg@dailyamerican.com.)


URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2006/10/10/wind-farm-stirs-up-opposition/