For years, I’ve heard that our natural resources and their beauty are this region’s greatest asset. Tourism in Cambria and Somerset counties is growing because of our vast outdoor recreation opportunities – hiking and biking trails, hunting and fishing, kayaking, canoeing, camping, skiing and snowmobiling to name a few.
In many cases, outdoor recreation is the only reason people from urban areas such as Pittsburgh come to Cambria or Somerset counties. But now, the Greater Johnstown Water Authority wants to put a massive industrial wind turbine farm right in the middle of our greatest natural resource. This will no doubt have a negative impact on the tourism industry we’ve worked so hard to develop.
The water authority is undermining efforts of local leaders who are promoting tourism. The water authority is claiming it will make $210,000 a year, but at what cost? How much will hotels, restaurants and other businesses that depend on tourism stand to lose?
In addition, hundreds of property owners who live near these wind turbines will see their property values drop. This drop will not be limited to Upper Yoder Township, but will have a snowball effect on the entire region that is already reeling from declining property values.
This project should be put on hold until we can carefully study the economic impact that these gigantic wind turbines will have on property values, tourism and the quality of life in Cambria and Somerset counties.
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