I’m responding to Tim Vought’s article, Gamesa responds to windmill opponents; Daily American, July 12.
Mr. Vought, in opening your article you site Newton’s third law of motion – “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. And so it goes with Shaffer Mountain Wind Farm.”
Well, finally there is something that we both agree on – Newton’s law – but not much else in regards to you and Gamesa Energy’s devious plans to destroy the ecosystem of Shaffer Mountain, Windber Area Authority’s watershed as well as the Piney Run wilderness area with two exceptional value trout streams.
On June 21, 2006, you personally came to my home in the hopes of “selling” me on Wind Energy. You wanted to lease lands owned by me in Ogle and Shade townships. You stated that other land owners – my neighbors – had already signed leases and that this “Wind – Farm” – as you referred to it was literally a “done-deal!”
Aside from the fact that you stated I would receive $5,000 per year, per wind turbine placed upon my land, I felt that there was a sense of “intimidation.” You stated that Berwind Natural Resources Corporation had already leased all of their vast land holding in the area to Gamesa for wind development! You stated that in the Piney Run area, which would encompass all lands owned by me there would be approximately 30 Wind Turbines built the next year (2007). You also stated that approximately 30 more would be built the following year (2008) with other phases to follow!
I asked many questions of you in regards to this project. One being, how can you possibly obtain all the permits necessary to do this project. I’m sure there are many federal, state, and local permits that would be needed for this project to become a reality, in light of the land being a watershed and a pristine wilderness area.
You stated, this was not a problem, because Gov. Ed Rendell and DEP Secretary Kathleen McGinty were “pushing” wind energy and with the vast land reserves of Berwind Corporation under lease, it would definitely materialize.
When our conversation ended, you left in my possession a 25-page Gamesa Lease and Easement Agreement, information about Gamesa, but most importantly – two colored maps. One map was an aerial photograph with superimposed names and boundary lines of landowners, while the other was a topographical map also with names and boundary lines. These maps – Gamesa’s maps – gave me a greater knowledge of where these wind turbines would possibly be placed.
I sent you a two-page letter dated June 29, 2006. I expressed my answer in no certain terms! Quote from letter “Well, Mr. Vought, you now have my thoughts in regard to the project. Now, let me make it clear – beyond a doubt, there is no room on that particular section of the “Mountain” for any type of Wind Development – PERIOD!
That being said, I then stated in the letter, “Also, I and others will organize a grassroots campaign to inform and enlighten the general public as to what is being proposed or “spearheaded” in regards to the Wind Industrialization project in Shade and Ogle townships. We will “Save The Mountain!”
Since then, we have met on quite a few occasions. We have confronted one another at Ogle and Shade meetings, a meeting with Somerset County commissioners, as well as public wind forums in regards to the Shaffer Mountain Wind Project.
The first “battle” fought in this ongoing war took place on July 3, 2006. Myself and others of “Save The Mountain” brought this project before the Ogle Township supervisors at their monthly meeting. We asked that information being presented, be considered in drafting a Wind Ordinance for Ogle Township. There was television as well as press coverage. That was a Monday – on Thursday of that same week, I and others of “Save The Mountain” appeared before the Shade Township supervisors and asked the same of them in regards to a Wind Ordinance for Shade Township. The Media coverage continued – “ ‘Save The Mountain’ was off and running!”
Yes, that was over a year ago. Although that was not “the shot heard round-the-world,” it was the “shot” you, Gamesa, Gov. Ed Rendell, as well as, others chose not to hear. You and the others thought this public outcry, this movement, Save-The-Mountain would only be a “flash in the pan” at best! We have informed, educated, and enlightened the general public in not only what is proposed on Shaffer Mountain, but throughout the state of Pennsylvania!
People ask me why? Why Shaffer Mountain? Doesn’t the governor know about this? Doesn’t Gamesa realize what they are trying to destroy?
My response – Shaffer Mountain is a “battleground” with very broad-based ramifications that will be felt statewide. If Gamesa is successful in having DEP grant a permit for the destruction of Shaffer Mountain, it will then have set the standard for wind development throughout the entire state of Pennsylvania! Gamesa and other wind companies will capitalize on the decision by DEP. This will be their “license” to place wind turbines anywhere and everywhere in our state.
Also, Gov. Rendell is well aware of what is going on with Shaffer Mountain, I personally had conversations with his top aide, which the governor had sent to a township meeting at Napier Township, Bedford County. I also gave this aide volumes of information to take back to the governor. To date, I have had no feedback from either the governor or his aide. Let’s not forget the head of DEP – Secretary Kathleen McGinty traveled to Spain to cut a deal with Gamesa to line the ridges of Pennsylvania with wind turbines, with the blessings of Governor Ed Rendell!
Yes, Gamesa knows full well what they are doing.
That being said, Mr. Vought, I cannot understand your or Gamesa’s rational and persistence in trying to give the entire wind industry in this state, as well as ,the country a “black-eye.” Do you realize that by continuing with this Shaffer Mountain Project you, are digging the “hole” deeper and deeper in regards to ill-conceived and ill-placed wind energy!
Remember I have said it “time and time” again, I’m not against wind energy per say – I’m against wind energy that is ill-conceived and ill-placed!
Also, as I draft this response, I have just received confirmation that the Public meeting and Public Hearing for NPDES Permit No. PA 105560700 1; Proposed Shaffer Mountain Wind Farm, Ogle and Shade townships, Somerset County and Napier Township, Bedford County will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 28, at the Shade-Central City High School. I’ll be there – will you?
In closing, in regards to your mentioning Newton’s third law of motion, I would add this – “Desperate people do desperate things” and so it goes with the industrialization of Shaffer Mountain. Desperation on your and Gamesa’s part, Tim Vought! We will “Save The Mountain!”
Joseph J. Cominsky
“Save The Mountain”
1 August 2007
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