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Plans for windmills cause controversy  

A group interested in building windmills on the Laurel Mountain ridgeline in Barbour County faces opposition from people who say they’re worried the windmills will destroy the environment, and the beauty of the historic Laurel Hill Battlefield.

BELINGTON – “I’m dressed like this because this is what a well-to-do person would wear during the civil war,” says Art Dodds, a member of the Laurel Mountain Preservation Association.

Art and Pamela Dodds are Civil War reenactors. They say if windmills are built above the Laurel Hill Battlefield, the reenactment experience will not be the same. That is because the windmills would be visible from the battlefield, which is the site of a Civil War battle that was important in the formation of West Virginia.

“This is a very sacred ground. And to put up something that is really taking away from the authenticity of the area is something that is not going to help with the reenactments and it’s not going to help people have a personal experience,” says Pamela Dodds, a member of the Laurel Mountain Preservation Association.

AES Laurel Mountain, LLC, the company that wants to build the windmills along the Laurel Mountain ridgeline, says they will create a clean source of energy. Some of the main components of the project include up to 65 wind turbines, an underground electrical collector system which would conduct electricity from the windmills to a proposed substation, and a permanent weather tower to measure wind conditions.

The Dodds are hoping to drum up support to resist the proposed windmills. They say the windmills are not as environmentally friendly as people think, and they will ruin the historic feel of the Laurel Hill battlefield.

“They’re going to be very, very visible. And the noise that they’re capable of creating will be distracting except during the battle,” says Art Dodds.

AES is now asking the West Virginia Public Service Commission for a siting certificate so they can begin construction on the wind mills.

The Dodds say they will continue to fight the windmills and say they hope to educate people about the realities of the windfarm.


6 February 2008

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