The citizen’s group opposing an impending wind farm project in Tioga and Bradford counties is planning a meeting at the fire hall June 20.
The Tioga Preservation Group will hold a public educational meeting to discuss the issue, said organizer Frank Piccolella, who lives in Lycoming County but owns a business with his wife in Wellsboro.
The Piccolellas also were active in efforts to stop the Laurel Ridge Wind Farm project, which was denied by the county zoning board and its decision upheld by a state court judge last month.
Now, the Piccolellas, along with several Tioga County residents, are fighting AES Corp. of Arlington, Va., a global wind energy company planning the Armenia Mountain Wind Farm in Bradford and Tioga counties.
About 40 people belong to the citizen’s group, according to Piccolella.
“People approached us for help because of our experience with the previous project,” he said.
The organized meeting next week will present some of the disadvantages to having wind turbines in the area with different members of the group speaking, he said.
“The most detrimental thing is the ill effect on the quality of life to the surrounding residents and health problems associated with it,” Piccolella said.
“They target an area because of their desire to make a profit and disrupt the entire community,” he added.
Tioga County’s lack of zoning may make it easier to locate a wind farm there, Piccolella said, “but the county already has a very good subdivision and land use ordinance that is on the books and the planning commission is authorized by the state to enforce that salvo, and that would be enough to keep wind farms out,” he added, referring to section 103 of the subdivision and land use ordinance, which can be viewed at www.tiogacountypa.us.
Click on county departments and then planning commission, he said.
Across the county line in Bradford County, AES will be in Troy later this month to talk with the public about the project, according to Robert J. White, vice president of AES Armenia Mountain Wind LLC.
AES will hold a project presentation at 7 p.m. June 26 in Troy Area School District’s Memorial Auditorium, White said.
Last month, AES held an open house in Mainesburg, a village in Sullivan Township, on the project.
“We are still putting the details together on the format of this meeting,” White said. “It may be a little bit of both an open house and presentation with time for questions and answers.”
The 79 wind turbine project is planned for Armenia Mountain in Armenia Township in Bradford County and Sullivan and Ward townships in Tioga County.
A number of studies are under way and are in various stages by TRC Consulting, including bird and bat studies, a shadow flicker analysis and a timber rattlesnake survey.
Construction would start in the spring.
According to AES, the project would produce about 150 megawatts of electricity, enough to serve about 47,000 homes.
It notes that property tax payments would be more than $200,000 per year to all taxing municipalities involved and lease payments would be about $700,000 per year to the 70 or so landowners participating.
The project, encompassing about 9,000 acres southeast of here would provide 80 to 100 construction jobs and 12 operations jobs, with improvements to some local roads, according to AES.
AES is one of the world’s largest global power companies with 25 years of experience developing, constructing, financing and operating power projects with operations in 26 countries and 123 generation plants, according to its Web site.
By Cheryl R. Clarke
11 June 2007
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