Noxen Township will hold a special meeting tonight to discuss changes suggested by BP Alternative Energy officials to a proposed wind park ordinance.
“BP’s solicitor took our ordinance and picked it apart and told us what wouldn’t stand up in a court of law. … We already had an ordinance ready to be adopted. They came in and said they didn’t like it and asked if they could make some changes,” township Supervisor Carl Shook said. “They said this wouldn’t stand up in the court of law, but we took this ordinance from another municipality that already went through this.”
BP Alternative Energy, part of the former British Petroleum, hopes to construct as many as 90 turbines on South Mountain, which encompasses more than 100,000 acres. The potential site is called the Mehoopany Wind Energy Project, but will likely cross three townships, including Mehoopany, Forkston and Noxen.
Much of South Mountain is owned by Tunkhannock-based Deer Park Lumber Inc., though the South Mountain Landowners Association also retains some rights, according to Wyoming County planner Paul Weilage.
BP questioned the legality of several portions of the ordinance, including permitting fees and sections that allude to contractual obligations rather than licensing requirements, and suggested an example ordinance that it approves.
Shook said some of the company’s suggestions seem valid and might be incorporated, but he questioned the company’s motives for fighting the expense of permitting fees when it’s willing to pay handsomely to acquire land.
“They’re willing to pay these land owners big bucks, but they’re griping over a few thousand dollars,” he said.
A BP representative did not return a call for comment.
A new supervisor also will be approved at the meeting to replace Harry Creasing, who died recently, Shook said.
The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. today at the old Noxen School.
By Rory Sweeney
22 August 2007