The Grant County commissioners focused much of their attention at their recent public meeting on taking action to address the concerns of residents in the mountaintop region of the county related to road damage and threatened water resources.
Commissioner Jim Cole said that the residents have had their patience pushed to the limit during the last few months.
“Their water supply has been threatened by Wolf Run’s application for a mining permit and they have had to wait hours with the roads blocked while equipment is transported to Grassy Ridge by NedPower/Shell WindEnergy,” he said.
The county commission has gone on record opposing the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection granting a permit to Wolf Run. However, the commissioners noted that they need to continue to do whatever else is necessary to ensure the residents have safe, potable drinking water.
Cole called for a letter to be written to Stephanie Timmemeyer, secretary of environmental protection, re-questing assurance that if the Wolf Run permit is approved, that the Mountain Top Public Service District water supply will not be affected adversely.
Commissioner Charlie Goldizen agreed and, along with Commission President Jim Wilson, they voted to send a letter to the DEP.
Cole said that he has had numerous complaints of extended waiting times on the blocked and torn-up roads that are hard on residents’ vehicles in the Grassy Ridge area. He added that there have been demands to have the road repaired when the project is complete.
NedPower/ShellWindEnergy had already agreed that the company would be responsible for the complete repaving of Grassy Ridge Road when the project is complete, according to Tim O’Leary of Shell, during a recent public officials tour of the project.
Cole said that while he supports economic development and considers the wind farm project as such, he doesn’t support it to the “detriment of our citizens.”
Cole wanted to send a second letter to Paul Mattox, secretary of transportation, and urge that travelers be advised of extended wait times, either by posted notice or a telephone call and that Grassy Ridge Road be monitored and routine maintenance performed to avoid vehicle damage.
Goldizen said that the state road officials are already aware of the road problems associated with the wind farm project and that the issues are being addressed. He added that only one complaint had been filed concerning damage to a vehicle.
O’Leary said recently that Mortensen, the contractor on the project, has a complaint process through which residents can file claims.
By Mona Ridder
8 August 2007
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