A prominent political organization has come out against the proposed industrial wind plant in Potter County, arguing that it will adversely affect the state’s only official dark sky preserve at Cherry Springs State Park.
However, a spokesman for the energy giant plotting the wind project argues that the concerns are premature and probably unfounded.
P. Edward Murray, northeast regional director for the “AlGore.org” group, this week issued a statement of support for the Cherry Springs Dark Sky Preserve.
“Cherry Springs State Park is a natural treasure,” Murray said. “The view of the night sky that it gives us, unencumbered by man-made light, is part of our human heritage that must be protected. Therefore, we oppose the construction of any large wind farm.”
AlGore.org is an independent political organization, claiming tens of thousands of members who support the candidacy of Al Gore for President in 2008. Based in San Francisco, Calif., the group is not officially allied with Gore.
Members of Save God’s Country, a Potter County organization formed to fight the wind plant, welcomed the AlGore.org statement and shared it with area media.
Bob White, project director for AES Corporation, said he is investigating any impact his company’s project would have on the skies around the park.
“Our closest turbine is 11 miles, with the bulk of them being 13 to 15 miles from the park,” White said. “The lights will be red and are not very intense.”
White confirmed that his company plans to build upwards of 80 massive wind turbines on ridgetops in Potter County. He asked residents to be open-minded and patient as AES goes through the multifaceted approval process.
The 400-foot-high turbines would be built along a wide swath of high-altitude farmland in Ulysses and Hector townships. AES is making arrangements to lease hundreds of acres on which to build the turbines. Save God’s Country has called for county officials to put the brakes on the wind plant.
“There is time to act on an ordinance that puts this project on hold,” said group spokesman Arthur Kear. “No permits have been issued or even applied for, so an immediate act would stop this tragedy from happening.”
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.
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 off Rt. 46 in Shippen Township, between Emporium and Smethport.
Other areas of Potter County – including a section of Hebron Township north of Coudersport and the Dutch Hill area between Coudersport and Austin – are also being investigated by wind energy companies.
28 April 2007
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