This letter is in response to the letter from J. Gibbons on Oct. 6, concerning who owns the proposed windmill property, and questions on recent articles placed in the papers about the Shaffer Mountain Wind Project.
The majority of the Shaffer Mountain Project is proposed for land owned by Berwind Corp. of Philadelphia, the largest land owner in Shade Township. This is the same mining and development company who has given Central City the largest acid mine drainage sites in the state of Pa. The largest site is behind (Central City Fire Hall).
Now that Dark Shade is polluted, Berwind will be happy to accept approximately $150,000 per year from a fellow Philadelphia-based company, Gamesa, to destroy the rest of our environment.
Berwind Corporation is slated to receive approximately $5,000 per turbine each year. That figure would be for a 30-turbine industrial site, or phase 1. Now do the math for phase 2 and phase 3 which equals 90 turbines on Shaffer Mountain.
Recent articles, stated the project will enhance the water quality at this site. Also, Gamesa states that protecting natural resources and wildlife is a “shared priority” with the community.
If this is so, then why was there a rattlesnake study of the area done in November (when snakes are hibernating)? Why did Gamesa do a study on bird migration in July, when bird migration doesn’t start until late August, September and October? How does bringing in large equipment to clear-cut the forest and building new roads improve water quality of streams that are already of the highest quality in the state?
With the above in mind, Gamesa has leased approximately 10,000 acres from Berwind and a lot of that land is reclaimed stripped land. At a recent meeting with the 18-member, PA Citizen Advisory Council (CAC) to the PA Dept. of Protection, Gamesa stated, the construction on stripped land would cost too much. Even though in most cases there are easy access roads, power lines, and no clear cutting of forest needed, and probably less complaints.
Gamesa feels that cutting a 1,000-foot road from Mount Carmel Drive and Summit Drive along Crum Ridge would be more profitable. The reason for this highway, is to gain access to the ridge behind the historical Crum cemetery of the 1800s. This road would be 60-feet wide. Now Crum Ridge will have to be leveled, or you will have a huge highwall on the upper side of Crum Ridge. If you picture, a small logging road, cut into the side of a mountain. You can see the destruction. Gamesa needs a straight road to transport the massive turbines to a 4 to 5 acre staging area.
For approximately 30 turbines, you would have approximately 18 miles of new roads and approximately 18 miles of new transmission lines and approximately 170 acres of clear cut land.
These roads and power lines would start at Poders Rocks and follow the ridgeline, ending, at the top of Easy Camp Hollow. Tim Vought, from Meyersdale, is Gamesa’s top Project Developer. He states that these roads will enhance the wildlife, because of the specially blended lush grasses, produced from these roads. Tim Vought also stated, that Gamesa can enhance the water quality of Piney and Shade Creek, thus improving the Windber and Central City Watershed!
I’m sure the natural creator of these streams, mountains, and watersheds, would be greatly impressed!
Now what about all the noise from these turbines? That whooshing sound surely won’t enhance my spring and fall turkey hunting. These ridges have always been the breeding and nesting grounds, for our turkeys and grouse. Has anyone considered that fact?
Now, getting back to the proper locations of these turbine sights. Two other wind companies are putting turbines on reclaimed land. They are Airtricity, using the former PBS land near Reels Corner. The other company is Ever Power Renewables Corporation of New York, using the former Cooney Bros. land near Dunlo.
Gamesa is a Spanish company who originally had plans to locate in wide open Texas, until Gov. Ed Rendell went to Spain and invited Gamesa to easy access to our ridge tops. A lot of the funding for these wind projects are made possible, because of our tax dollars, in one way or another are used to lighten the load for Gamesa. With that in mind I asked for Gamesa to get out from under Berwinds spell and show the people how environmentally sensitive you really are! Use all of Berwinds reclaimed land and put these turbines in the proper area.
John Kott and Friends of Shaffer and Lambert Mountain
20 October 2007
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