CAIRNBROOK – About 45 individuals have signed up to speak their minds to state officials on a proposal to build 30 turbines in Shade and Ogle townships.
The hearing is tonight on a state permit application for Gamesa Energy USA’s proposed Shaffer Mountain Wind Farm.
“We have had public meetings concerning contentious issues before,” said Helen Humphreys, spokeswoman for the southwest region of the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Humphreys could not recall another wind project that has drawn so much outcry in DEP’s 10-county southwestern Pennsylvania district.
Gamesa representatives spent Monday afternoon polishing a half-hour presentation for the hearing and 6 p.m. public meeting at Shade-Central City High School.
“We were one of the people who asked for the meeting,” said Ellen Lutz, development director for the company’s Atlantic region.
“We felt it was important to have the facts of the project presented in a forum with a professional facilitator and moderator.”
The company and project opponents both have held meetings on the proposal.
To deny the wind-energy company a permit, regulators would have to find their application inadequate or incomplete, Humphreys said.
Opponents have pleaded to DEP, saying the application is incomplete; that it does not appropriately address bird, fish and wildlife impacts; that it provides inadequate treatment of wetlands and fails to identify off-site runoff.
Lutz said much misinformation has surfaced about the project.
“We welcome the opportunity to get the information out in the public,” Lutz said.
The company submitted a preliminary National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit application in April.
The DEP requested more information, and Gamesa officials plan to resubmit the application by Oct. 28.
If you go
What: Public meeting on Gamesa Inc.’s proposal to erect 30 wind turbines in Shade and Ogle townships.
When: 6 p.m. today. Gamesa reps also will hold a 5:30 p.m. session so visitors can review plans and talk one-on-one with company officials.
Where: Shade-Central City High School.
BY KECIA BAL
August 27, 2007
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