I recently read the letter from Joe Totani regarding the Broad Mountain Power Project (Times News, July 23, 2019). I agree with Totani that there is a tendency by people to fear change and oppose what we don’t know or understand. However, that is human nature.
I also agree that noise is probably not an issue, especially since the turbines are unlikely to operate more than 30% of the time due to the nature of wind power. My concerns are related to what I do know.
I am a degreed engineer, licensed as a professional engineer in Pennsylvania and Virginia. I have 30-plus years of experience in the operation, maintenance, siting and construction of power generation projects (none wind power). I spent three years on the siting and licensing project team for a proposed new nuclear power plant, so I am obviously not opposed to progress.
My concerns relate to:
• The clear cutting of 200-plus acres of standing timber. Does the air pollution reduction from the wind power offset the pollution reduction that the trees provided?
• The impact on quantity and quality of recharge to the well fields of the Lansford-Coaldale and Nesquehoning Water Authorities. These well fields are located at the base of Broad Mountain on the south side. A major source of recharge for these well fields is the Broad Mountain. What is the impact of excavation for and installation of 30-foot deep reinforced concrete foundations in 21 locations?
• The significant increase in heavy, oversize and overweight truck traffic on Route 54 during the construction period. This traffic will have to travel through Nesquehoning Borough, or more likely through Rush Township. The intersection of Routes 309 and 54 in Rush Township regularly experiences significant delays and congestion from normal traffic.
Totani compares the opposition to the Broad Mountain Power Project to the opposition to the existing cogeneration power plant when it was being built and seems to imply that the cogeneration project somehow was a source of the exponential increase in property values at Lake Hauto. The exponential increase in property values was a result of people from out of the area buying up existing houses, usually 1950s and 1960s vintage cabins, tearing them down, and building McMansions. If anything, the increase in property values was in spite of the cogeneration plant.
In summary, the Broad Mountain Power project is not some sort of benign giant. It will have very definite and long-lasting impacts on the environment, and quality of life for area residents. The 24-story PPL building (322 feet tall) in Allentown has long been a visible landmark in the Lehigh Valley. The Broad Mountain Power Project will be installing 21 structures taller than the PPL building, with most of them more than twice as tall.
Stephen J. Daderko, PE
Lake Hauto Club Member
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