PSC denies permit at Jack’s Mountain
On June 22, 2007, when the WV Public Service Commission denied Liverty Gap Wind Force’s application to construct a wind turbine project on Jack Mountain in Pendleton County, all the citizens, property owners and friends of the county who treasure its unindustrialized scenic beauty exhaled a collective sigh of relief.
When public notice of Liberty Gap’s intentions first appeared in the Pendleton Times on Nov. 19, 2004, the response was dismay. That quickly changed when it became known that the county commissioners had agreed secretly to use their power of eminent domain to facilitate Liberty Gap’s acquisition of transmission line rights-of-way. The public uproar that ensued led to the creation of Friends of Beautiful Pendleton County (FOBPC), and to its intervention in the proceedings of Liberty Gap’s application. Little did we realize what a long, involved, expensive struggle that intervention would become. As a footnote to the initial uproar, one of the county commissioners has since been turned out of office, and another will get his turn in the 2008 election cycle.
With victory, it would be pleasant now to think that the PSC’s ruling, by denying a siting certificate for a wind power project, after having previously approved four others, represents a major shift in the PSC’s attitude toward industrial wind power projects. It does not, and the PSC made that plain in its ruling.
Friends of Beautiful Pendleton County didn’t win the case so much as Liberty Gap lost it, by filing a woefully deficient application. FOBPC made the most of those deficiencies and the PSC took notice, ruling against Liberty Gap because lack of information in certain areas made it impossible for the PSC to judge how to balance or weigh the competing interests. The PSC even went to far as to include a recommendation to future applicants on what they need to do to avoid the fate of Liberty Gap.
By Arthur Hooton
Friends of Beautiful Pendleton County: www.hushhushrushrush.com
(Via Friends of Blackwater Canyon: saveblackwater.org)
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