CAIRNBROOK – Opponents of the Shaffer Mountain turbine project pleaded with Shade Township supervisors on Thursday to go on record opposing it.
They walked away disappointed.
Supervisors opted to remain neutral.
“We can’t decide these things based on how we feel,” Supervisor Chairman John Topka said at the supervisors’ meeting at the township building.
Opposing the plan could someday be used against the supervisors by companies seeking to put up windmills, Topka said.
“My opinion is, we should remain neutral,” he said.
About 30 residents turned out, including representatives of a local watershed and a sportsmen’s club who repeatedly urged supervisors to officially oppose the plan, which they say would damage the environment.
“We’re concerned about the EV ‘exceptional value’ streams,” said Larry Hutchinson, president of the Shade Creek Watershed. “If they go away, they can’t be fixed.”
One man said the supervisors lack the fortitude to oppose the plan.
Spain-based Gamesa Energy USA is proposing to build 30 electricity generating wind turbines on the ridge between Somerset and Bedford counties.
Grassroots opponents claim the turbines, partly through erosion, could damage Piney Run and Clear Shade Creek, two of only 28 “exceptional value” trout streams in the state.
The state Department of Environmental Protection has scheduled a public meeting and hearing on the Shaffer Mountain turbine project at 6 p.m. Aug. 28 at Shade-Central City High School.
Gamesa has said the project will have no impact on the trout streams.
By Patrick Buchnowski
3 August 2007
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