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Decision on wind turbines reversed

BEAR CREEK TWP. ““ Energy Unlimited Inc. suffered a setback in its plan to install 25 wind turbines on Penobscott Mountain when the state Commonwealth Court on Friday reversed a lower court decision, allowing the township’s board of supervisors to deny Energy Unlimited’s most recent development plan.

The decision overturns an Aug. 11 ruling by Luzerne County President Judge Michael Conahan that overturned a 2-1 vote by supervisors in May to reject a preliminary plan submitted by Energy Unlimited and Pennsylvania Wind Power.

The opinion, written by Judge Doris Smith-Ribner, denies Energy Unlimited’s argument that it doesn’t have to follow recommendations from the Luzerne County Planning Commission and County Engineer Jim Brozena because Energy Unlimited already agreed to that as part of a long list of conditions the township’s planning board imposed upon the project.

The opinion also supported the supervisor’s ability to deny the project proposal without granting a deadline extension to amend the plan, which Energy Unlimited had challenged.

Finally, the opinion rejected the lower court’s conclusion that the plan should be approved because the supervisors didn’t take planning board recommendations into consideration. The opinion notes that the supervisors accepted the planning board’s conditional recommendation to approve the project in 2003, and that no further recommendation was necessary if the conditions weren’t met.

Township Supervisor Gary Slusser hadn’t seen the opinion on Sunday evening but said he was disappointed with it. As the lone dissenter in the May vote, he felt the conditions were addressed by Energy Unlimited.

“I was in court the day “¦ they went through every one (of the conditions), and (Energy Unlimited) had a response, to me, a good response, to every one,” he said, adding that he feels proposed park is probably dead now.

Calls to attorneys for both sides and other supervisors were not returned on Sunday evening.

By Rory Sweeney
Times Leader staff writer


19 February 2007