Monday, June 06, 2016

Va. county says neighbor ignored it in consideration of proposed wind farm near county line

Residents in a rural Virginia county are concerned about a proposed wind farm just over the county line that they say will be a noisy eyesore that will negatively affect their economy and environment, Laurence Hammack reports for The Roanoke Times. John Higgins, chairman of the Rockbridge County Board of Supervisors, said in a letter to state regulators that Botetourt County proposed the 550-foot tall turbines that “essentially sits on the county line" without providing Rockbridge citizens the benefit of public notices and meetings that were made available in Botetourt. (Wind Energy in Virginia map)
"The May 31 letter was submitted as part of a public comment session required by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, which is considering an application by Apex Clean Energy to build up to 25 giant turbines on top of North Mountain," Hammock writes. "After taking written comments through Monday, Apex will forward them to DEQ. The Charlottesville company has already submitted reports detailing the wind farm’s effect on natural resources to DEQ, which will have 90 days to decide whether to grant the state permit. Having won local approval from Botetourt, Apex still needs to satisfy the state’s concerns about environmental issues and the federal government’s oversight of aviation traffic before it can start construction on what could be the first commercial wind farm in Virginia."

Higgins, who said the wind farm would hurt Rockbridge County's tourism industry, said in the ltter that "constructing the turbines will entail blasting and logging that could clog surrounding streams with sediment, and their spinning blades could strike down golden eagles from the sky. Another fear is that noise from the wind farm will be not just annoying but potentially damaging to the health of nearby residents." Apex, which is expected to begin construction in 2017, "said that electricity generated by its wind farm could power up to 20,000 homes, a projection that opponents say overstates the project’s actual output." (Read more)

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