While the Potter County Commissioners delay action on an ordinance to regulate the location of industrial wind turbines in the county, state officials have released a study finding that a proposed turbine facility in northern Potter County will not adversely affect the Dark Sky Preserve at Cherry Springs State Park.
DCNR Secretary Michael DiBerardinis said the study was commissioned to assess the project’s impact on the state’s only Dark Sky Preserve and “identify any mitigation measures that might be desirable or possible.”
DCNR chose Clanton and Associates of Boulder, Colo., to conduct the study based on the recommendation of the International Dark Sky Association.
The company estimated the “worst case skyglow impact” from the federally required lights on the proposed Headwaters Wind Energy project proposed by energy company AES Corporation in Ulysses and Hector townships.
In addition to determining the project’s impact would be unnoticeable, the study said there would be “very minimal, if any” line of site impact from the Cherry Springs observation field.
Clanton and Associates also identified some outdoor lighting fixtures at the nearby Denton Hill Ski Area that could be adjusted and some opportunities on other public and private properties in the area that would make the dark skies even darker.
DCNR agreed to conduct the study after the Pennsylvania Outdoor Lighting Council and numerous astronomy enthusiasts contacted the department.
AES was cooperative and responsive during the review, DiBerardinis said. The company retained its own lighting consultant and shared detailed project information and its own analysis.
A Potter County Planning Commission ordinance proposing regulations that affect the location and operation of industrial wind turbines has been under review by Commissioners Doug Morley, Paul Heimel and Susan Kefover since April.
The commissioners recently said they are “very close” to subjecting the county’s proposed ordinance to the required public review process prior to adoption.
21 June 2008
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