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Winds of change worry College leaders  

College Township leaders are worried that a commercial wind turbine operator could try to put giant windmills on Mount Nittany.

No one is interested yet, council members said at a meeting Thursday night, but they believe Mount Nittany is one of the few places in Centre County where winds are strong enough to attract alternative-energy entrepreneurs.

A half dozen commercial wind farms are operating in Pennsylvania–along the Allegheny Front, in the Pocono Mountains and off Lake Erie.

The ordinance draft that College Township council began looking at Thursday might limit the locations for commercial wind turbines to land that is zoned agricultural.

Up to 10 percent of the township’s land is zoned agricultural, perhaps enough to satisfy the Pennsylvania Municipal Planning Code’s requirement that municipalities make land available for all legitimate uses.

David Wasson, council chairman, said he did not want commercial wind mills to be permitted on land zoned forest or rural residential, on Mount Nittany itself or its foothills.

He said the big wind turbines – they can be a couple of hundred feet tall with blades the size of airliner wings – could spoil one of the state’s most beautiful mountains.

But councilman David Koll said there will never be a commercial wind farm in the area “because this is State College.”

“We all want to be clean,” he said, in a slightly mocking tone, “but, my God, we can’t ruin Mount Nittany.”

Koll added that there’s just not enough space – the needed hundreds of acres – for the commercial end of wind power.

“But I do see a lot of people wanting to be carbon free,” he said.

The Thin Man

8 June 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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