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Test wind turbine in Tioga County cause for concern

An area property owner addressed the Tioga County commissioners with concerns about the possibility of wind turbines coming to the Covington area.

According to Reilly, who lives in Milford, Pike County, a test turbine has been erected near his 200-acre parcel in Covington Township.

“I am here as a property owner concerned about windmill powered generators in the Covington area,” he said.

Reilly read a list of objections he has to the alternative energy source being pushed by Gov. Ed Rendell to help make 20 percent of the state’s energy production environmentally friendly by 2017.

“These huge turbines reach over 40 stories high and have blades the size of a 747’s wingspan,” he said.

According to Reilly, the relatively small amount of electricity they produce does not justify the damage they do to wildlife, particularly the winged variety, and their impact on property values.

“They damage birds, eagles and bats, and may damage property values,” he said.

Reilly went on to say that wind turbines are not aesthetically pleasing to the senses with their “flashing lights and noise,” and could adversely affect tourism to the naturally beautiful area.

“The cost of their environmental impact will be paid for by taxpayers,” he said.

Reilly said that tax dollars would be better spent addressing the shortcomings of coal and nuclear power.

“Our county should avoid this, if possible, and at the very least require an environmental impact statement and a requirement that they be dismantled when these companies are finished with them and not just abandoned,” he said.

Reilly also asked that the commissioners keep the public informed of any proposed wind turbine projects for the county.

Commissioner Erick Coolidge said that there had been ongoing meetings with the county planner about the possibility of wind turbines being erected in the county.

“This is a new approach to creating energy naturally, however aesthetics and potential obstruction to wildlife deserve attention,” he said.

According to research done by a Maryland university professor, Jon Boone, wind power will not reduce the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels.

Reilly presented the commissioners with a document produced by Boone in August of last year, “A Brief Summary of Wind Power Facts: Mid-Atlantic Region.”

In the document, Boone stated that more than 60 percent of the nation’s energy consumption and pollution does not stem from the production of electricity, but rather from automobiles and home heating fuel such as gasoline and natural gas and oil.

“Wind only produces electricity, so even if we construct thousands of massive turbines to replace the electricity produced by oil, we would still be 99 percent dependent on other, mostly dirty power sources,” Boone wrote.

By Cheryl R. Clarke, cclarke@sungazette.com