A major energy company is eyeing the mountains surrounding Noxen Township, Wyoming County, as a potential location for its next wind turbine facility.
BP Alternative Energy is in discussions with Tunkhannock-based Deer Park Lumber. According to Deer Park manager Jeff Nichols, the discussions are in the preliminary stages and South Mountain is one of the areas around Noxen being considered.
“All we’re doing is talking right now. Nothing is concrete,” Nichols said.
A meeting to discuss the possibility of a wind park will be held at 6 p.m. today at the old Noxen School. Nichols said the meeting will give residents a chance to ask questions and clear up any misunderstandings about the talks with BP.
In regards to Deer Park, which owns South Mountain, Nichols said the company is not concerned the wind park would hamper its timber production or other activities on the property.
“One doesn’t preclude the other,” he said. “My understanding is there’s nothing that stops people from using the property for hunting, fishing or anything else.”
Tom Nalbone Jr., chairman of the Noxen Township board of supervisors, said tonight’s special meeting will allow supporters and opponents of a wind park to state their cases followed by a question period for the public. He said there hasn’t been anything submitted to the supervisors by BP or Deer Park regarding wind turbines.
Nalbone said the board has had an ordinance drafted that would regulate the placement and operation of wind turbines, but a vote has been put on hold.
“There were some concerns it may wind up costing us in legal fees,” Nalbone said. “BP said they aren’t prepared to discuss it (ordinance) at the meeting, so this will strictly be a fact-finding session for the public on wind turbines.
“The ultimate idea here is rather than wind up in legal fights, to have both sides come together on an agreement and ordinance.”
Representatives with BP could not be reached for comment.
According to Nalbone, BP is evaluating the South Mountain property to determine if there is enough wind to justify a turbine facility. He said it’s unlikely the supervisors can prohibit a wind park, but they can regulate it to protect the township and environment.
“My biggest concern is with storm-water runoff,” Nalbone said. “Anybody who drove through our town last June saw the problems we have with it. If you clear-cut the top of a mountain and put roads in, we’re going to have runoff issues.”
By Tom Venesky
22 May 2007
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