Although I am not a person of standing in the upcoming lawsuit concerning the Rocky Forge construction of wind turbines on North Mountain, I am a certified water monitor and have worked on soil and water issues for 20 years. I’m also aware of the huge amount of destruction an industrial (not a “farm”) project of this magnitude can do to mountain streams in a karst area.
There are many above-ground problems that were outlined in your recent article, but I am puzzled by your depiction of a turbine sitting on top of the ground as if it has no need for support. In fact, each 619-foot turbine weighs over 499 tons, requires a clearing of over 110 acres and a concrete/rebar platform of over 50 feet, 6 to 30 feet deep with deeper shafts needed for stability (National Wind Watch). Imagine that amount of concrete on a mountain ridge, the amount of blasting needed, the destruction of a rare, sensitive area that is recognized in the Virginia Outdoor Plan. Of course, after a life cycle of 20 years, the machines might be recycled; however, for sure the concrete would remain, as would the polluted streams and a fragmented forest, while the mountain ridge is gone, caves gone, birds and bats gone, wildlife habitat gone, bankruptcy declared, investors gone.
There is a good reason so many of those with standing in the court case are from Rockbridge County: the turbines will essentially sit on the county line between the two counties. All that blasting and concrete will also have underground effects in a karst geology where there is no county line. Considering the environmental deconstruction along with the construction, installation and operation of the turbines, the small amount of energy that can be produced cannot come close to balancing the destruction and will actually add to the problems of global warming.
Clearly, there are appropriate places for wind turbines. North Mountain is not one of them.
Sandra Stuart, Rockbridge County
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