Area residents are urging Nesquehoning to do its homework on a proposed wind turbine project on the Broad Mountain in Packer Township.
Maria Stank and Frank Colangelo, both of Packer Township, and Rose Arieta of Nesquehoning approached Nesquehoning Borough Council last week about their concerns about the Broad Mountain Wind Project.
The project being proposed by Liberty Power of Ontario, Canada, calls for constructing a $125 million, 80 megawatt wind farm featuring 21 turbines along the Broad Mountain in Packer Township. Of the 21 turbines, 16 would be 656 feet in height, while the remaining five would be 452 feet high, the project summary states.
Stank said that there are many negative concerns about the project that the company is brushing off or not fully addressing.
She said that there would be a shadow flicker from the turbines when the sun is shining over the mountain, creating a strobe light effect; 40 red blinking lights that would be seen nightly across the mountain; noise pollution from the turbines that could affect the health of residents from sleep disturbances, kill off bats and scare animals away; and the project would decrease property values.
In addition, Stank said that there could be other hazards, including blades breaking and getting thrown hundreds of feet, possibly into the valley, environmental hazards and disruption in Wi-Fi, cell signal and internet.
“When you need to dial 911 in a dire emergency, will you be able to?” she asked.
In addition, the flight path of medical helicopters is directly over the Broad Mountain and could cause problems for landing during an emergency response.
“The people of Nesquehoning, you need to get loud,” Stank said. “Spread the word because none of it is good.”
Arieta echoed Stank’s concerns.
She said that she heard the project location has been moved from the original proposed sites closer to Nesquehoning to try to appease the people of Packer Township.
Rob Miller, project manager for the project, said that is not the case.
“The 26 locations of the pads have not changed, and it is still a 21 turbine and 80 megawatt project,” he said via email, noting that the project map is located on the project’s website.
Arieta also said residents were told at the last hearing for the project that “we won’t hear anything,” but added that videos she watched online of other wind turbines shows otherwise.
“They were very loud,” she said. “I think these turbines are a bad idea, a real bad idea.”
She pointed out that the Broad Mountain has a lot of water on it and questioned the amount of deforestation and drilling that would need to be done to install the turbines.
“Think about where that water will go,” she said. “All that vegetation removed from the mountain, there will be nothing preventing the water from rolling down the mountain, erosion and mud and hitting the homes.”
Councilwoman Mary Fox said that residents of Lake Hauto have already started circulating petitions because the last three turbines in the project sit right above the private development.
“They’re worried,” she said.
Colangelo said that even though the project isn’t in Nesquehoning, the residents will be affected.
“(These turbines) are proposed to be the largest turbines in the United States,” he said. “It’s going to be quite an affected area.”
Council said that no formal plans, which include a transmission line through the borough, have been submitted as of the meeting.
They also said that an informational meeting on the project is tentatively planned for June 25 at a time and location to be determined.
The fourth zoning hearing on the project is scheduled for 6 o’clock tonight at the Weatherly Area Middle School.
“I think the people in this town should get a vote,” Arieta said.
For more information, visit https://broadmountainwindproject.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Liberty Power field office at 866-591-5005 to schedule a visit with a representative at 202 Carbon St., Weatherly.
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