Using giant turbines to catch the wind and use it to produce electricity has been a key element of Gov. Ed Rendell’s strategy to promote alternate and renewable fuels.
But some residents and property owners in areas of the Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania are saying wind energy isn’t the panacea that supporters claim. They fear it could lead to deforestation of trees in the mountains, the killing of bats and birds such as eagles and hawks, and the spoiling of scenic views that increase tourism.
Two dozen residents of Somerset, Blair, Fayette, Dauphin, Tioga and Potter counties came to the Capitol today to protest the planned construction of dozens of 400-foot high wind turbines along the Allegheny mountaintops where the wind is generally the strongest.
Terry Doran of Central City, Somerset County, said seven large, 400-foot turbines have been proposed around his small, scenic area. He said he’s not opposed to wind power per se but “it’s really a siting issue,”and mountaintops are not appropriate.
John Hanger of Penn Future stood on the Capitol steps, outside that press conference, to urge legislators to support wind power. He said it’s far less environmentally damaging than coal.
“We want to make sure the good news about wind power is told,” he said. “It’s clean and produces zero water or air pollution.” He said Denmark gets about 20 percent of its electricity from wind while Pennsylvania gets only 1 percent now.
The Legislature opened its special session on alternate forms of energy today.
By Tom Barnes
17 September 2007
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