Wind turbines may be coming to the Shaffer Mountain area of Ogle and Shade townships, despite the protests of opponents.
In November, Chicago-based energy company Invenergy submitted plans to the Somerset County Planning Commission for three meteorological towers on properties owned by Berwind-White Coal Mining Co. – two towers in Ogle Township and one in Shade Township.
The towers are used at potential sites for new wind turbines to assess wind speed, wind direction and other weather.
Ogle Township Supervisor Harvey Weyandt Jr. said he hasn’t heard anything else about the towers or Invenergy.
“If they do put in a farm, it will have to come through the township for permitting,” he said.
He said some people are upset by the possibility of new wind turbines in the area and have fought wind farms in the past.
A plan by energy company Gamesa, of Madrid, Spain, to install turbines in 2006 in the same area was stopped when a colony of Indiana bats was discovered at the site. The bats are a federally endangered species.
The area is also home to hawks and golden eagles, according to Save Our Allegheny Ridges President Laura Jackson. SOAR is a nonprofit organization that fights to protect forested mountain ridges in Pennsylvania.
Weyandt said the Ogle Township supervisors plan to meet with their solicitor to learn more about the project and review the township ordinances.
“We’re still finding out more ourselves,” he said.
Invenergy could not be reached for comment.
Joe Cominsky, a Paint Township resident and owner of property near the site, has sent letters to the Shade and Ogle Township supervisors in an effort to stop the turbines.
He fought the turbine construction in 2006 and said Berwind has a vendetta against him now.
“They say you can break the back of a snake, but if you don’t chop its head off, he’ll come back and bite you,” Cominsky said.
Cominsky said he is fighting the farm because he doesn’t want to be impacted by turbine noise, turbine flicker and turbine shadow. He also said turbines create an inaudible noise that causes depression.
He is afraid the turbines will lower property values.
“Is it right that someone who worked their entire lifetime and put a lot of money in their home, paid high taxes for decades – school taxes, heavy taxes – and Berwind can automatically devalue their property by 50 percent?” he said.
Berwind officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.
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