I couldn’t sleep last night thinking of the wind turbines on Jack’s Mountain.
I was born and raised in California. I have seen Mt. Whitney at 14,495 feet and have been to the top of Mammoth Mountain at 11,060 feet. From the top of Mammoth you can look down into Death Valley with the lowest point in the continental U.S. and northwest to Half Dome which rises from the Yosemite Valley. You feel like you are on top of the world and for me, closer to God.
When I moved to McVeytown, I would say that these are not “real” mountains (not like what I was used to). Locals would respond in a very loving manner saying that they may not be as tall but they are “very old,” very beautiful, and they are our mountains. I have since come to love these mountains as much as those who were born here. I have crossed Jack’s Mountain during the winter when crystals are on the branches and the sun makes them shine like diamonds. I have seen the progression from light green to the rich dark green of summer. I have witnessed the reverse with the colors of fall starting at the top and working their way down the mountain. I have seen bird watchers at the altar on Jack’s Mountain Road, and men who take their hang gliders, who love to soar like eagles from the top. There are people and families who just like to come and look at Big Valley and Ferguson Valley and enjoy the quite peaceful time.
Now comes “progress” in the form of up to 90 wind turbines over 400 feet tall and the short-sighted exploitation of the environment. Former State Legislator Franklin Kury said, “We uglified our world and called it progress.” Is that what we will be doing to Jack’s Mountain? Will we cut 100 feet or more off the top of the mountain, build roads and cement platforms and make it ugly?
On the coastline of New England some wind turbine companies want to build out into the ocean. When the time comes to take them down, the sea will recover and perhaps there will no longer remain a trace where the turbines had been. When the turbines on the flat lands of the Midwest are taken down, the farmers can heal the land with new crops of corn and wheat.
What will we do with our mountain whose top has been destroyed? Can it be recovered? Those who love progress and want the turbines, please tell me how? Tell me how you will make the mountain whole again. Tell me if the hawks and eagles will still fly here, or will they all have been killed by turbine blades? Tell me, will the farmer’s crops be plentiful without the benefit of bats?
Section 27 of Article 1, in the Pennsylvania Constitution declares “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic, and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all of the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.” This section of the constitution certainly applies to Jack’s and Stone mountains. This is why I am so passionate about protecting the mountains for future generations.
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