June 24, 2009

Holyoke eyeing wind turbines on Mt. Tom; City to investigate effects on plants and animals

Lynn Barry, WWLP, www.wwlp.com 24 June 2009

Holyoke is considering placing wind turbines on Mount Tom in order to generate energy for Holyoke Gas and Electric Company. However, concerns over the well-being of native plant and animal life might stop this idea in its tracks.

Jody Casper of Easthampton regularly enjoys the beauty of Mount Tom, whether hiking through it or simply looking up at it.

She lives at the foot of the mountain and said she’d have no problems with windmills being placed on Mount Tom.

“I would be very excited about it. We’re very much into alternative energy, and that would be a great thing to see developed along here. So, we’d be glad to have it,” said Casper.

Holyoke Gas and Electric Company recently bought 200 acres on the mountain.

Mayor Michael Sullivan told 22News the city is studying the idea of putting 8 wind turbines on the property.

Included in the studies are environmental investigations into the impact on native plants and animals on the mountain.

The Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, under the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, must conclude no endangered plant or animal species are affected by any project before it can begin.

There has been some talk that the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program may be opposed to the wind project.

Late Wednesday afternoon Lisa Capone, a Spokesperson for the Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs, told 22News that there have been initial discussions between the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program and wind project proponents over rare species on the mountain.

Capone said it is too early to say what impact there would be from the wind project.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2009/06/24/holyoke-eyeing-wind-turbines-on-mt-tom-city-to-investigate-effects-on-plants-and-animals/