In Cambria County, the Upper Yoder Township Supervisors meeting was packed tonight and most, if not all, in attendance are against a proposed wind turbine farm which could go up on Laurel Mountain.
“The lease was approved in July. It was signed, they went to court and after the fact they held a meeting to discuss it with the public,” says state Rep. Frank Burns. “That is what the public has a problem with and that is what I have a problem with.”
In a letter to the chairman of the Greater Johnstown Water Authority, Burns requested they end its lease agreement with Competitive Power Ventures to construct wind turbines on Laurel Mountain.
Thursday, both Burns and other residents voiced multiple concerns which they have since the beginning. Now, reaching out to the township to see if there is anything they can do to stop the project from moving forward.
“It’s the fact that our property values are going to drop as much as 40 percent and very close to the turbines to close to 10 percent it will have a snowball effect across the whole region,” says resident Allen Smith.
In a brief conversation 6 News had with the water authority Thursday, they say they are hoping the windmill project would raise around $250,000 a year. They tell us, while it is only a small portion of the funds needed, the money from the project will help fund dam improvement projects that are expected to cost nearly $25 million.
But residents are asking is the money worth it?
“Let’s say they get zero money from the state and they have to fund this solely off the rate payers,” says Burns.
“It would be 83 cents a month on a water bill. Now I know 83 cents is a lot of money to some people, but it is not worth putting windmills on our mountains and we have got to look at the cost. Property values are going to go down if these windmills go up and the water supply could be in jeopardy,” Said Burns.
There is some hope for residents. City Ordinance 220, which prohibits using the land for commercial or industrial establishments. But, the water authority or CPV could challenge the ordinance saying it is exclusionary to the company, which has happened before.
The next water authority meeting is Jan. 10 and all Upper Yoder Township meetings are held on the third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m.
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