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Bear Creek supervisors reject plan for additional wind turbines

Supervisors voted 2-1 Monday to reject Energy Unlimited’s proposal for a variance to build nine turbines near Crystal Lake on Luzerne County owned land, as the company’s attorney vowed to appeal the decision to county President Judge Michael Conahan.

Supervisor Gary Slusser dissented, as he has in previous votes involving Energy Unlimited. Supervisors Ruth Koval and Bonnie Wasilewski said they just followed the planning commission’s recommendation. The planning commission voted 3-1 to reject Energy Unlimited’s plan at its October meeting.

“We are not against windmills,” Wasilewski said. “Everyone needs to follow the rules and the correct procedures.”

The nine turbines are part of the Energy Unlimited’s overall proposed Penobscot Mountain wind farm plan to construct 34 turbines on the Theta land. The other 25 turbines await a Commonwealth Court hearing Dec. 11.

Energy Unlimited representatives outlined its case in a 25-minute presentation, prior to the vote. Project coordinator Ed Shoener and lead engineer Walter Poplawski explained the impact of the proposed wind turbines, and attorney Ernest Preate Jr. clarified information.

“It seems like (the supervisors) had their minds made up before tonight,” Preate said after the meeting. “A decision that’s based on politics and private prejudice is not going to be tolerated by my clients or the public courts.”

The wind farm would have minimal environmental impact and would provide revenue for the township, the men said. In addition, Penobscot Mountain provides “ideal conditions” for wind turbines, they said.

Wind turbines run by Enxco in the township earn $3,000 in revenue yearly.

“I hope it’s going to go through,” Slusser said of Energy Unlimited’s plans. “It’s going to be a windfall for the township.”

By Coulter Jones
Staff Writer