CENTRAL CITY – A local environmental organization is calling for an independent study of surface and ground water on land where Gamesa Energy USA is proposing to erect wind turbines.
In a three-page position paper, the Mountain Laurel Chapter of Trout Unlimited said the proposed Shaffer Mountain project could adversely impact the Piney Creek watershed and wants a water study done.
The turbines would be placed in Shade and Ogle townships.
“We’re not opposed to the project per se,” said Len Lichvar, stream improvement chairman for the chapter.
Lichvar also serves as a board member for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and is manager of the Somerset Conservation District.
“We are concerned about the placement of wind turbines in an exceptional value watershed,” he said Friday.
An “exceptional value” waterway is one determined to have the highest water quality. Somerset County has few waterways with the designation, and Piney Creek maintains a vibrant population of fish life.
“There is wild brook trout and high-quality water,” Lichvar said.
“It’s the best of the best.”
Gamesa officials did not immediately respond to questions regarding the potential impact that its project could have on the watershed.
Gamesa is planning to construct 30-plus wind turbines that would generate electricity along the Somerset/Bedford county line.
The company also is constructing up to 90 turbines on the ridge running between Portage and Allegheny townships in Cambria County, and into Juniata and Greenfield townships in Blair County.
That project ““ the largest in Pennsylvania ““ is expected to be completed in late 2007.
By Patrick Buchnowski
4 May 2007
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