Whoa! In your Christmas Eve’s edition there was an article about a Chowan couple’s petition to revoke Apex Clean Energy’s conditional use permit for the proposed Timbermill wind turbine project in Chowan County. It looks like the petition has merit.
The article states that there were reports of environmental studies by Apex that were not submitted to Chowan County officials as part of the application for the conditional use permit. It states the reports were presented to officials with the N.C. Division of Coastal Management that included a bird and bat study and other studies related to wildlife and human health. Was one of the other studies the monitoring of the channel catfish in the Chowan River? Will the catfish play the role of the canary in the coal mines? Will the pouring of concrete into the water table cause it to rise?
There are too many unanswered questions for a project of this magnitude to go forward. What’s needed is a pause so there can be a thorough investigation of the project’s impacts on property values, the Chowan River Fishery and the public’s drinking water.
The newspaper quotes the attorney providing legal services to Chowan County officials as saying that in addition to the county permitting process for the wind project “there are multiple layers of protection by multiple agencies.” The protection the attorney was referring to apparently includes that offered by the Department of Environmental Quality. He noted that the kind of review offered by DEQ was beyond the county’s resources and expertise.
But guess what? That does not relieve commissioners of their duty to protect the public’s health and the local economy. Not providing the information for a complete application borders on negligence if there end up being damages from a successful lawsuit.
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