While I am a lifelong conservationist and favor renewable energy, I am concerned that the windmills are being erected too hastily in our region and without long-term thought.
The Shaffer Mountain project near Ogletown is beset with issues that are counter to common sense. Windmill construction will add 20 plus miles of roads within one of the few wooded areas we have left.
Our region is coal country, so we still have a scarred landscape. No matter how one enters the forested area where these windmills are to go, one has to pass abandoned strip mines – thousands of acres, in fact.
So I have to question how “green” are efforts that clear forested acreage when these industrial wind turbines could be placed on marginal lands. The industry tells us it’s too expensive, but considering how many subsidies the wind industry is receiving in Pennsylvania, I believe they should do this right the first time. If we can put a man on the moon, surely we can put an industrial windmill on an abandoned strip mine.
This is not a “not in my back yard” mentality, because the strip mines are a mere four to five miles away from the front! The industry will tell us “there is not enough wind.” I highly question that the wind is diminished that much by a slight shift. Living here we all know how windy the stripped areas are. Has the industry ever even tested the winds on the abandoned strips?
These industrial turbines will still be in our neighborhood, if sighted on the strips, which is fine. But they would be placed on marginal land instead of in our forest. We would have renewable energy, our forest and our streams.
13 April 2007
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