Potter County is not the only area that may be targeted for commercial wind energy production.
A National Fuel Gas Corp., subsidiary is studying sites in Cameron County for possible location of wind turbines.
Seneca Resources Corp., is working with a Connecticut consulting firm, Tamarack Group, to measure wind conditions in Cameron County. Initial assessments are taking place in the county’s northwest corner, off Route 46 in Shippen Township, between Emporium and Smethport.
Equipment extended high into the air measures wind speed and frequency at the site. Seneca Resources will assess the findings to decide whether it’s financially feasible to locate wind turbines in that area.
State and federal tax incentives and subsidies have prompted several large companies to investigate wind energy. One of the most active is AES Corp., which proposes a massive wind plant involving upwards of 80 towering turbines in Potter County’s agricultural region.
Last week, representatives of Save God’s Country, the citizens’ group that has formed to combat the project, reported that other areas of Potter County – including a section of Hebron Township north of Coudersport and the Dutch Hill area between Coudersport and Austin – may also be targeted by wind energy companies.
Meanwhile, a citizens’ organization in Tioga County has been formed to rally the populace against an AES Corp., wind plant proposal for that region. The Tioga group is seeking an alliance with Save God’s Country.
“There is growing concern that our entire region could be invaded by wind developers,” said Herb Miller, spokesman for Save God’s Country. “Many people don’t understand the potential negative impact on our lives and landscape.”
That organization is calling for a county ordinance that would prohibit or strictly limit the erection of tall structures such as wind turbines. Save God’s Country also wants a delay in the state permitting process while the wind plant’s impact can be more thoroughly studied.
The group cites the following as the basis for its objections: damaging health effects, noise pollution, negative impact on wildlife, declining property values, construction of new roads and underground transmission lines, shadow flicker, negative impact on tourism, visual intrusion on the landscape, and absence of any direct energy benefits for Potter County.
Several of the landowners in Ulysses and Hector townships who stand to benefit economically from the wind plant are pushing for approval of the AES plan, which is still in its formative stages. They cite private property rights and potential economic benefits, from real estate taxes to jobs.
By Paul Heimel
The Bradford Era
4 March 2007
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