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Ridgeline protection ordinance passed in Tazewell County, but controversial wind turbine farm still planned for East River Mountain

A debate that started in late 2008, and raged through 2009, seemed headed to a long-awaited conclusion in early 2010 when the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors adopted their so-called ridgeline protection ordinance. The measure was passed on 3-2 vote with the board members divided over the wind turbine project. Board chairman and Northwestern District Supervisor Seth White, and Western District Supervisor John Absher, cast a vote against the ridgeline ordinance and in support of the wind turbine farm. Eastern District Supervisor David Anderson, along with Northern District Supervisor Jim Campbell and Southern District Supervisor Mike Hymes all voted in support of the zoning ordinance and against the wind farm.

However, officials with Dominion said the project will move forward. In a letter submitted to the Daily Telegraph on April 1, David A. Christian, the chief executive officer of Dominion Generation, said the company remains convinced the wind turbine project will create jobs, income and economic opportunities for Tazewell County.

Dominion, along with BP, purchased 2,600 acres of land high atop East River Mountain in 2008 for the purpose of developing a large-scale wind turbine farm. “We can say with confidence that wind turbines along East River’s ridgeline would deliver new jobs and economic opportunities for the residents of Tazewell (County),” Christian said in the earlier letter. “And they would provide millions of dollars in revenue for the county – money that could be put to good use in improving the quality of life for everyone.

Dominion announced in late December that it was acquiring full ownership of the East River Mountain property and that it will be the sole developer of the proposed Bluestone River Wind Farm. Dominion said BP will no longer be a part of the project. The amended property deed was recorded in late December at the Tazewell County Courthouse.

Members of the Mountain Preservation Association, a citizens group formed to fight the wind turbines, vowed to continue their fight against the project.

[excerpted from “2010: Somber, turbulent” – rest of article available at source]