Tuesday, September 18, 2007

SOAR Press Conference in Capitol Rotunda

Wind-farm opponents rally at Capitol
BY KECIA BAL, The Tribune-Democrat, September 18, 2007

A group fighting the Shaffer Mountain Wind Farm in Somerset and Bedford counties rallied Monday in the state Capitol for more-aggressive regulation of wind-energy companies.

Laura Jackson, chairwoman of Save Our Allegheny Ridges, joined concerned citizens from nine counties, including Somerset, in Harrisburg to urge legislators to pass siting regulations for turbines. No state or federal guidelines are in place regarding where turbines can be located.

The group of about 15 SOAR members met with legislators including Rep. John Eichelberger, R-Blair County, who Jackson said was sympathetic to their cause and offered his advice...

Full story: The Tribune-Democrat
HT: National Wind Watch

Turbine Malfunction Sparks 68-acre Wildfire

Whitewater Canyon blaze blamed on windmill

Firefighters have fully contained a 68-acre wildfire in the Whitewater Canyon area about 1.5 miles north of Interstate 10, according to CAL FIRE.

Fire officials expect to have the blaze under control by 8 a.m.

Saturday. Whitewater Canyon Road has reopened to traffic.

The Alta Mesa fire, reported at 6:19 a.m., is not threatening homes, spokeswoman Jodi Miller said."It's in a pretty remote area," Miller said.

It was caused by an undetermined problem with a wind turbine, according to CAL FIRE.

Source: TheDesertSun.com, September 14, 2007

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Shocker: PA Biological Survey

Wind Power Development on Public Lands – It Isn’t Worth It

By the Pennsylvania Biological Survey

The environmental benefits of wind energy development, in the mid-Atlantic area in general and on Pennsylvania state lands in particular, are small relative to the negative consequences...

The Pennsylvania Biological Survey is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to increase the knowledge of and foster the perpetuation of the natural biological diversity of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Our membership includes scientists, representatives of state and federal agencies concerned with natural resource management, and representatives of non-profit conservation organizations.

PABS technical committees serve as official advisory committees to several natural resource agencies in the state, including the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Game Commission, and Fish and Boat Commission.

After reviewing evidence on the environmental costs and benefits of wind energy, PABS is opposed to wind energy development on Pennsylvania natural resource agency lands.

We are aware of the serious environmental costs of fossil fuel energy sources, including the threats of global climate change to Pennsylvania’s natural biological diversity. We therefore support the responsible development of alternative energy sources, including properly sited wind energy development.

However, because wind energy development has associated environmental costs, wind energy development should only be instituted on state lands if the environmental benefits can be demonstrated to exceed the environmental costs.

Based on the available evidence, it is our conclusion that wind energy development is not suitable on state-owned lands where natural resource conservation is a major goal (i.e., primarily lands owned and managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission).

The reason for our opposition is outlined below but can be summarized as follows:

The environmental benefits of wind energy development, in the mid-Atlantic area in general and on Pennsylvania state lands in particular, are small relative to the negative consequences, which include habitat fragmentation and mortality to birds and bats.

The primary environmental benefit of wind energy production is that it offsets the use of fossil fuels, thereby reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas.

The Department of Energy projects that by 2020, wind power will meet 1.2 to 4.5 percent of the country’s electricity generation, and will thus offset emissions of carbon dioxide from electricity generation by 1.2 to 4.5 percent. Since electricity generation accounts for 39 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, wind power will offset between 0.5 and 1.8 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions (National Research Council 2007).

The National Research Council (2007) concludes “Wind energy will contribute proportionately less to electricity generation in the mid-Atlantic region than in the United States as a whole, because a smaller portion of the region has high-quality wind resources than the portion of high-quality wind resources in the United States as a whole."

Thus, it is apparent that wind energy development in the mid-Atlantic will offset a very minor portion of future carbon dioxide emissions.

Because Commonwealth Natural Resource Agency Lands make up only a fraction of land in Pennsylvania, the contribution of wind energy development on these lands to future energy needs, as well as any offset of carbon dioxide emissions, will be negligible.

Energy conservation, on the other hand, could considerably reduce the demand for energy and thus reduce carbon dioxide emissions. For example, residential home energy consumption in 2020 could be feasibly educed by over 1/3 using existing technologies (Bressand et al. 2007).

The environmental impacts of wind energy are considerable… [complete article published in the PA Environment Digest here]

Monday, September 10, 2007

Press Conference in Capitol Rotunda

Groups Across Pennsylvania Speak Out Against Industrial Wind
Projects on Forested Ridges.

Folmont owners are welcome, and transportation can be provided.

A Press Conference has been scheduled for 12 noon on Monday September 17, 2007 in the rotunda of the Capitol in Harrisburg to protest the statewide push by the Rendell Administration to turn hundreds of miles of Pennsylvania's forested ridge tops into industrial wind facilities. Groups from across the state will be addressing the various concerns that wind power facilities pose to Pennsylvania's wild areas, wildlife, tourism, historical resources, and viewscapes.

Concerned citizens from a number of Pennsylvania counties (Bedford, Blair, Somerset, Fayette, Lycoming, Tioga, Dauphin, Northumberland, Potter) have formed a Wind Truth Coalition to push for more stringent siting requirements. While these groups recognize that wind power is renewable energy, they maintain that it is not a clean or green energy when the turbines and associated infrastructure pose grave harm to wildlife, or historic and natural areas. Coalition members want fellow Pennsylvanians to understand that both state and federal regulations are necessary to protect our natural environment from industrial wind turbine projects.

The Press Conference will follow Gov. Rendell's address to the joint session of the Senate and House at 11:00 a.m. The special session will consider "funding for renewable energy." Past funding measures have supported several wind projects in the Pennsylvania. PPM Energy received a state grant of $150,000 to help develop a wind project in Somerset County which was partly located on reclaimed strip mine areas – habitat that is much better suited for wind development than forested ridges. A more controversial use of taxpayer's money was the PEDA grant of $360,295 for Harrisburg's mayor to conduct a wind feasibility study on the ridges of St. Anthony's Wilderness, the largest roadless area in southeastern Pennsylvania.

The threat of global warming should make preservation of our natural areas even more critical. Our forested mountains are key to species' preservation and form an integral part of greenways that are being recognized by conservation groups as critical resources for humans and wildlife.

P.O. BOX 178 EVERETT, PA 15537
Laura Jackson
Save Our Allegheny Ridges