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Open state land to wind turbines?  

Wind-energy companies continue to zero-in on Potter and Cameron counties as possible sites for their massive turbines.

Last week, the brewing battle took on a new element, as a state official confirmed a plan to open up state forest land to private wind-energy companies.

Michael DiBernardinis, secretary of the Pa. Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources, said a decision will be made later this year. DCNR lacks legal authority to allow wind development on public lands, but could seek authorization from the legislature.

Members of Save God’s Country (SGC), a Potter County-based citizens group formed to fight one company’s plans to build almost 80 of the turbines in the farmland of Ulysses and Hector townships, were quick to respond.

They’ve maintained that the plan made public by international energy giant AES Corporation for the northern Potter County ridgetops is literally the tip of the iceberg.

Citing wind-energy plans on the drawing board for Cameron and Tioga counties, as well as at least two additional Potter County sites, SGC members said DiBernardinis’s announcement demonstrates the far-reaching plans that energy companies have for remote sections of northern Pennsylvania.

“This is no longer a case of ‘not in my back yard’,” said SGC member Herb Miller. “It’s very clear that we are facing an attack on our beautiful countryside that would involve multiple counties.”

The wind turbines proposed by AES Corp. would be more than 400 feet tall. Other companies are also investigating wind-energy plants in the region.

SGC has detailed its concerns over the environmental, public health and aesthetic impacts during public meetings. AES is expected to address those issues in the coming months through the state permitting process.


9 June 2007

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