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Windmill lawsuit settled  

Credit:  Kathy Mellott | The Tribune-Democrat | Jun 6, 2010 | www.tribdem.com ~~

A civil trial scheduled in Blair County for July has been canceled after both sides in a lawsuit over wind turbines in the Route 164 area overlooking Portage Township was settled.

Parties involved in the May 2008 lawsuit filed by a Blair County doctor and his wife would not comment on the case nor discuss terms of the settlement.

“The matter’s been resolved,” was the only statement Pittsburgh attorney Bradley Tupi would make Friday.

He refused to discuss terms of the settlement.

Tupi filed the civil suit on behalf of Todd and Jill Stull of Juniata Township about two years after the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm went into operation. The turbines are located in Portage Township in Cambria County and Juniata and Greenfield townships in Blair.

Gamesa spokesman Kurt Knaus said the company had no comment on the settlement.

The farm was developed by Gamesa Energy USA and later sold to Babcock & Brown.

The Stulls live on a farm about a half mile from the closest windmill.

They alleged that the turbines create noise similar to aircraft.

The noise has caused sleeplessness, anxiety and stress, they said in their lawsuit.

Much of the civil battle has been over allegations of what Gamesa representatives may have said regarding noise levels when

working with municipal officials in developing a siting and operation ordinance.

While Portage Township Supervisor Kenneth Trimbath could not provide any details about the settlement, he said it involved no financial commitment from the township.

“The settlement had nothing to do with us,” Trimbath said.

However, the lawsuit did create some expense for township residents.

In 2009, at the suggestion of township Solicitor C.J. Webb, the Portage supervisors hired Blair County attorney Walter Wall to represent the municipality and keep it from being pulled into the litigation.

“It was about keeping us out of it,” Trimbath said. “We provided a lot of minutes. We provided a lot of information. We had legal fees and secretary time.”

Wall was paid less than $500 for his services, township officials said.

A decision on the settlement was filed at the Blair County Courthouse by Tupi with no details.

Source:  Kathy Mellott | The Tribune-Democrat | Jun 6, 2010 | www.tribdem.com

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