Residents of the Coudersport and Emporium areas who think the wind turbine issue does not affect them had better think again.
That was the message of Save God’s Country (SGC) members during a sometimes heated public meeting at the Crandall Hill Community Building in the village of Hebron Wednesday night.
Wind energy interests are looking into placing the massive white structures throughout a broad expanse that includes high ground in several Pennsylvania and New York State counties.
Most recent advances include the Hebron and Dutch Hill areas, north and south of Coudersport, and an area in Cameron County off Rt. 46, between Emporium and Smethport.
SGC was formed by northern Potter County citizens to battle a plan to place 79 industrial wind turbines in that area. At Wednesday’s session, SGC members at times found themselves on the defensive.
Stanley Goodwin, who owns property on Dutch Hill, challenged the group’s findings.
“As far as I’m concerned, these turbines are an asset,” Goodwin said. “I’m definitely thinking of putting them in . . . I’ve paid taxes and maintained that property for years. I think that gives me some rights.”
Herb Miller, who was among four SGC members to speak, said the turbines would ruin the region’s aesthetics, endanger public health and drive down real estate values.
“You obviously feel very strongly, but so do we,” Miller told Goodwin. “We have a very passionate, strong point of view.”
SGC is already fighting a proposal by international energy giant AES Corporation to string about 80 of the 400-foot-high turbines along a wide swath of agricultural and forest land in Potter County’s Ulysses and Hector townships.
One new development revealed by Miller was the plan for an Alternative Energy System Seminar somewhere in Potter County on Saturday, July 28. Specifics are being pieced together, but the daylong session will examine woody biomass, solar energy, small-scale wind energy generation, native grass utilization, geothermal resources and other forms of energy.
“This is big,” Miller said. “If we do this right here in Potter County, we could sustain ourselves in terms of our energy needs and not just throw power into the grid, which is all the wind turbine plan will do.”
Miller challenged the argument that wind power will lessen the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.
“Only three-percent of our electricity is generated from oil,” Miller said. “Save God’s Country does believe in alternative energy, but this is not the answer.”
He labeled the wind energy projects “tax subsidy schemes .
. it’s an epidemic, and the reason is
hese government subsidies.”
Save God’s Country cited a clinical study documenting “wind turbine syndrome,” a series of health ailments linked with exposure to the noise, vibration and shadow flicker.
SGC’s Art Kear repeated his call for county officials to enact an ordinance prohibiting structures taller than 250 feet and requiring a setback of at least 4,000 feet from non-participating landowners and public roads.
“Any high ground is a potential target,” Kear said. “What we call God’s Country today could be referred to as ‘formerly God’s Country’ if these turbines are built.”
26 May 2007
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding