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Community concern voiced over potential wind farm

A major project could mean environmentally friendly energy in Carbon County, but not everyone is on board with the idea. Some are taking issue with how it could affect their community.

Clean, renewable energy versus the damage that would take place in order to bring a potential wind farm to Carbon County. That’s what’s spurring public comment and concern to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

An energy company wants to build an 80-megawatt wind farm in Packer Township and Nesquehoning Borough in Carbon County, but Broad Mountain Power LLC has to get approval first from the DEP for construction. Concerned citizens say the more-than-290 acres of cleared land alone would cost their community.

Primary concerns were voiced about high-quality waterways in the area that must legally be protected to varying degrees and the potential runoffs that could threaten different species of plants and animals in the rural communities. While the land is privately owned, the scope of the project does mean it must go through a lengthy process.

“We want to hear from residents–their concerns about wetlands, stream crossings, erosion and sediment control and issues like that,” said DEP spokesperson Colleen Connolly. “It affects their everyday lives so it’s good to see so many people come out.”

Once recorded and compiled, the DEP will issue a report addressing all concerns before any approval is given to the project. There are some in the area who are excited about the potential of clean, renewable and low-maintenance energy. They say the reward far outweighs the potential damage.

“They spend a lot of time concerned about the environment because it is an environmentally friendly source of energy,” said Panther Valley High School engineering coach Stephen Goodale. “It would be contradictory to throw it up where somebody is going to get affected adversely.”

Broad Mountain Power LLC did send their chief project engineer to the public hearing but he was not authorized to give comment. They have, however, gone on record before saying that they want to be a contributing part of this community.

The DEP’s comment response report does not have a set timeline. That report and further investigation will determine whether the Broad Mountain project would be clear to proceed.