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Hegins board to hear from wind turbine company; township receives $25K grant from Williams

VALLEY VIEW – The Hegins Township supervisors granted approval to Clean Air Generation LLC to make a presentation before the township zoning hearing board, at a date to be determined.

The supervisors on Wednesday voted for the energy developer to have a public meeting with the zoning board about the company’s anticipated $300 million Anthracite Ridge wind farm project.

Nicholas Cohen, principal of Clean Air Generation and president of Global Energy Generation LLC, said Friday that the company plans to submit an application for the development and wants to show how the project meets the requirements of the township’s wind energy safety ordinance.

He said the scope of the project hasn’t changed from last year.

Clean Air’s proposed project could include a maximum of up to 83 wind turbines with 40 possible on mountaintops in Hegins Township, and the remaining possibly in Porter, Tremont and Frailey townships.

The turbines would be 499 feet or shorter in height, and would be placed on about 12,672 acres that the company acquired through a land lease and wind easement agreement with Rausch Creek.

On March 23, 2020, Clean Air petitioned the Schuylkill County Court of Common Pleas for what Cohen called “site-specific relief.” The company believes it’s entitled to place the turbines on the mountaintops, where they would be the most efficient.

The company had previously submitted a “substantive validity challenge” to the township, asserting that the township’s former zoning ordinance was deficient because it did not address where wind energy development could occur.

Since then, Hegins adopted its own curative amendment to the ordinance, listing where commercial wind turbines would be allowed and rejecting Clean Air’s curative amendment suggestions.

Cohen said there are many state and federal regulations and permits that must be obtained and cleared before any project advances, in addition to the project meeting the township’s requirements.

“Our wind project will be one of the biggest investments in the area and it will utilize mined-out coal fields, enabling the mountains to give back once again. The new tax revenue and investment in people and businesses will positively be felt through the valley,” Cohen said on the project’s website, anthraciteridge.com.

In other matters, Williams, the company building a natural gas compressor station in Hegins Township, on Wednesday gave the municipality a $25,000 grant.

Michael Atchie, Williams’ manager of public outreach, presented a check, which was accepted by supervisors Chairman Douglas Lucas. David E. Feidt, another Williams representative, also attended the presentation.

Supervisors plan to use the funds for improvements and upgrades to the municipal building at 421 S. Gap St. in Valley View.

Williams is building a 31,000 HP gas turbine-driven compressor station off Deep Creek and Bridge roads as part of the Leidy South Expansion project.