Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Commercial Use of Folmont Lot 45A?

Lot 45A is under contract to be sold to New Baltimore Sportsmen’s Club and a Windber lumber company, jointly, with closing scheduled for November 1, 2008. Lot 45A is on the south side of Blueberry Way, the second lot westward from the intersection with Hawk’s Nest Road. The southern boundary of Lot 45A abuts land currently being logged and developed by the New Baltimore Sportsman's Club's for its wind turbine project.

Upon learning of the contract, FPOA sent letters to the seller, Olive O’Mara, and the buyers, citing Folmont Covenants making it illegal to lumber Folmont lots, to use Folmont lots for any commercial purpose, and to use Folmont roads for access to anything other than Folmont properties.

When neither the seller nor buyers replied, Ron Sehn, representing Folmont’s Architectural Committee, spoke by telephone with both buyers, Martindale Lumber and New Baltimore Sportsmen’s Club. Both buyers acknowledged they were aware of Folmont Covenants and said that Lot 45A was not being purchased for logging or access from Route 30 to NBSC lands, but being purchased for “investment purposes”, (without differentiation as to residential or commercial purpose).

Without additional info, we can only speculate how the buyers intend to use Lot 45A. But the prospect of their clearing Lot 45A and/or putting that lot in the service of NBSC’s windmill project, using Hawk's Nest Road for wind turbine service vehicles, is an ugly prospect indeed.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Email Remarks for the Record

On July 16, 2008, Allegheny Township's Board of Supervisors held a public hearing regarding the permitting of wind turbines on forested ridge top land owned by the New Baltimore Sportman's Club. Numerous homeowners voiced objections over the prospect of property value degradation and environment degradation due to noise.

Terry Doran offered remarks on behalf of the Folmont Property Owners' Association, which can be viewed here.

The Board is allowed 45 days from date of this hearing to grant or deny Airtricity E.ON its permit for this project.

Supervisor Costello will be accepting your remarks for insertion into the record if emailed on or before July 22, 2008. Your emails can be directed to the board secretary, Nancy Metzgar, at nmetzgar@shol.com

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Final Allegheny Permit Hearing - Airtricity

Final Public Permitting Hearing on Wind Turbines

Please plan on attending the Allegheny Township Public Hearing on Wind Turbines on Wednesday, July 16 at 6 PM.

There is a wind turbine project planned for the area immediately adjacent to Folmont. Four wind turbines may be erected on the New Baltimore Sportsman’s Club land in Allegheny Township. Additional wind turbines are proposed for the Swallow’s Farm area (behind the old Buckhorn Inn in Shade Township) and in the strip mine area in Stonycreek Township.

A public hearing will be held on Wednesday, July 16th at 6 PM in Allegheny Township. It is very important that your opinions be heard and placed on the official record. This record could support property owners adversely affected by the construction and operation of the wind turbines.

Wind energy in Pennsylvania will provide little usable electricity and is a taxpayer subsidized venture. Wind power might be viable in the Mid-west and along the coastal areas, but at great cost in subsidies to the federal and state governments.

The ordinance passed by the township allows for the construction of turbines on land less than 1500 feet from an occupied residence. Wind turbines are huge (400 feet), noisy and destructive to the forested ridge tops of Pennsylvania.

Please plan on attending the meeting at Allegheny Township. The township office is located on Route 31 across from the Mt. Zion church and the Glen Savage Ranch Sign. This is your only chance to express your thoughts and opinions on this project. Please make every effort to be there at 6 PM on Wednesday, July 16.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

More ESA Suits Planned Nearby

Groups sue wind project to protect bats, birds

Eleven citizen and environmental groups in West Virginia and Maryland have filed a 60-day notice about their intent to sue a wind power project.

They say the huge turbines from the NedPower Mount Storm project would kill endangered bats and squirrels near the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area.

The groups also will sue corporate owners Dominion Resources and Shell Wind Energy for violating the Endangered Species Act, according to Judy Rodd, director of Friends of Blackwater Canyon, based in Charleston.

Rodd said wind power companies are ignoring the “huge number of birds and bats that will be killed each year by the project,” including eagles that will be “decapitated as they try to return to their winter homes near Mount Storm Lake.”

Threatened species include the West Virginia northern flying squirrel, Indiana bat and Virginia big-eared bat.

In their 60-day notice, the 11 groups ask NedPower to provide them with a formal Habitat Conservation Plan evaluating and predicting threats to endangered species.

The groups also sent letters expressing their concerns to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the West Virginia Public Service Commission about threats to bald eagles, golden eagles and other migrating birds protected by existing federal legislation.

Full story: WindWatch.org

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Stull vs. Gamesa: Blair County Nuisance Complaint

Stull vs. Gamesa Energy USA LLC and Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm, LLC
May 1, 2008 by Bradley S. Tupi and William Haberstroh

Todd and Jill Stull filed a complaint for damages and injunctive relief against Gamesa and Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm LLC (Babcock and Brown) due to excessive noise, flicker and other nuisance that are causing irreparable harm to the Plaintiffs and robbing them of their enjoyment of their property. A portion of their filing is detailed below. The full filing can be downloaded from the link at the bottom of this page.

In the common pleas court of Blair County, Pennsylvania



14. Some of the industrial wind turbines are as close as 2,400 feet from Plaintiffs' home.
15. Before the wind turbines were erected, Plaintiff's property was a quiet, rural location where the predominant sounds were those of songbirds and leaves blowing in the wind. Defendants' wind turbines have destroyed the peaceful environment formerly enjoyed by Plaintiffs and their neighbors.
16. During windy conditions, the mechanical turbines become extremely noisy. The turbine blades make a "whooshing" sound almost like jet aircraft, except that the sound is cyclical, alternating louder and softer over short intervals. The turning of the industrial wind turbine hub housings to face the wind (or otherwise) makes a piercing, screeching, metal-on-metal noise.
17. The noises from the turning turbine blades can last many hours or even days. The noises from the turning of the hub housings are of shorter duration. The noises occur during daytime and nighttime. The noises are unpredictable and are generated without notice to Plaintiffs. The noises are audible inside Plaintiffs' home, even with windows closed.
18. The turbine noises interfere with Plaintiffs' sleep. Since the operation of the industrial wind energy facility began, Plaintiffs have not been able to sleep with their windows open, and even with windows closed Plaintiffs use an indoor fan to create "white noise" in a vain effort to cancel out the noise of the mechanical turbines outside.
19. The mechanical turbines also generate disturbing, low-frequency vibration that adversely affects the Stulls and their property. Both the audible noise and the vibrations, either individually or collectively, make Dr. Stull so uncomfortable that he often cannot sleep at night. Sometimes he goes down into an unheated cellar to try to find a quiet place to sleep.
20. Dr. Stull has experienced stress, anxiety and frequent disruptions of his sleep as a result of the noisy wind turbines.
21. The turbines' noises have a negative effect on Plaintiffs' enjoyment of their property and quality of life. The noises disrupt Plaintiffs' efforts to entertain guests on their property. The noises disturb Plaintiffs' use of their property for all outdoor family activities including hiking, hunting and other recreation.
22. Upon information and belief, the turbines' noises have diminished Plaintiffs' property value.
23. The turbine blades also create a disturbing "flicker" effect as they turn in the light of the setting sun. This also adversely affects the Stulls and their use and enjoyment of their property, including watching birds and wildlife, and hunting.
24. In order to induce state and local officials to grant permits and approvals necessary for construction of the industrial wind project, Defendants Gamesa and Allegheny represented that the wind turbines would be quiet. Those representations were false.
25. Plaintiffs relied upon Defendants' misrepresentations inter alia, by declining to oppose permits for the industrial wind energy project, by declining to appeal various local and state approvals of the project and by declining to sue to halt the project.
26. After the industrial wind energy facility was constructed, Plaintiffs complained about the turbine noises. Defendants offer various unsatisfactory explanations. Sometimes Defendants asserted that there simply were no noises. On other occasions, Defendants said that the turbine blades were defective and needed to be replaced. Defendants allegedly replaced the tape on the blades in January 2008, but the noises continued.
27. At various times, Plaintiffs have measured the noises from the turbines on Plaintiffs' property in excess of 70 decibels.
28. Defendants' conduct is ongoing, and Plaintiffs' harm is ongoing.

Count VII Injunctive Relief

55. The averments of the preceding paragraphs are incorporated by reference.
56. Plaintiffs seek injunctive relief to abate the nuisance and violations caused by Defendants' design, construction and operation of the wind turbines.57. Plaintiffs are likely to prevail on the merits.58. Plaintiffs are suffering immediate and irreparable harm, including ongoing personal injuries, anxiety, and emotional distress.59. Money damages or other remedies at law are inadequate. Money damages cannot restore the peace and quiet Plaintiffs enjoyed on their property before the industrial turbines were built, and cannot free Plaintiffs from the constant anxiety and physical and emotional distress they suffer as a result of Defendants' conduct. Plaintiffs should not be forced either to continue to suffer these invasions or to move out of their home.60. A balancing of the equities weighs in Plaintiffs' favor because, inter alia Defendants obtained permits for the industrial wind project based upon misrepresentation that the mechanical turbines would cause no noise.61. A balancing of the equities weighs in Plaintiffs' favor because Plaintiffs relied upon Defendant' misrepresentation, inter alia, by declining to oppose permits required for the industrial wind energy project, by declining to appeal various local and state approvals of the project and by declining to sue to halt the project.62. Consideration of the public interest weighs in Plaintiffs' favor because, inter alia, Defendants obtained permits for the industrial wind power plant complex based upon misrepresentations that the mechanical turbines would cause no noise. The industrial wind power plant complex not only affects Plaintiffs, but Plaintiffs' community.63. Consideration of the public interest weighs in Plaintiffs' favor because Art. 1, Sec. 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution provides that "The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural scenic, historic, and esthetic values of the environment." Defendants' conduct has robbed Plaintiffs of the natural scenic and esthetic values of their environment at Pine Springs Farm.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs demand injunctive relief against Defendants to abate the nuisance caused by the offending industrial wind power turbines, together with costs and such other and further relief as the Court deems just.

Bradley S. Tupi, Esquire
William Haberstroh, Esquire

Attorneys for Plaintiffs,Todd and Jill Stull

Download File(s):StullvsGamesa.pdf (236.46 kB)

Courtesy of Industrial Wind Action Group.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Nuisance Suit Filed Against Gamesa

Couple goes to court for windmill distress
Atoona Mirror, By Kay Stephens
POSTED: May 2, 2008

HOLLIDAYSBURG — The Juniata Township couple seeking relief from noisy wind turbines has taken their complaint to Blair County Court.

Todd and Jill Stull, in a lawsuit filed at the courthouse, accuse Gamesa Energy USA LLC and the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm LLC of destroying their quality of life and damaging their health. They’re seeking an injunction ordering the noise to be reduced.

Ever since the wind turbines were built on acreage spanning Blair and Cambria counties, the Stulls say they have endured excessive noise and vibrations, causing loss of sleep, emotional distress, inconvenience and loss of property value.

“Defendants’ wind turbines have destroyed the peaceful environment formerly enjoyed by plaintiffs and their neighbors,” the lawsuit states.
Representatives for Gamesa Energy and Babcock & Brown, which owns the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm, said Thursday that they had not yet received the lawsuit and declined comment.

In April, Juniata Township supervisors commissioned a study to determine if the turbines exceed the noise level allowed by township ordinance. Solicitor Michael Routch said the information is needed if the township is to force action to reduce noise at the request of residents.

Pittsburgh attorney Bradley S. Tupi said the Stulls’ lawsuit is based on nuisance laws applicable when a property owner uses his property in a way that interferes with how others use theirs. These laws historically surface in noise disputes between airports and neighbors, with rulings often reflecting who was there first, Tupi said.

The Stulls have lived on their 100-acre property since 1992.

Complete article here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Legal Action Against Gamesa

Saying wind power plan endangers bat, groups notify company of intent to sue
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
By Don Hopey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

...The groups -- Sensible Wind Solutions, Mountain Laurel Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Allegheny Plateau Audubon Society -- yesterday served the Spanish-owned wind power company, Gamesa Energy, with a notice of intent to sue under the federal Endangered Species Act.

According to the notice, the site where the 404-foot tall turbines and 18 miles of service roads would be built on 22,000 acres of leased land is confirmed habitat for the Indiana bat, listed as an endangered species since 1967.

The formal 60-day notice is required by the federal law as a precondition for filing a lawsuit against an alleged violator.

The proposed turbine site, along the eastern edge of the Allegheny Plateau, has attracted widespread opposition because it's in the watershed of two of the state's "exceptional value" trout streams and is a migratory pathway for numerous raptor species, including the golden eagle. It's also located in a Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Area of Exceptional Significance.

Gamesa officials yesterday declined comment.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has informed Gamesa that if it intends to proceed with the project it must file for an "incidental take permit," which, if granted, would require the company to meet tough legal conditions. They include demonstrating that there are no feasible alternatives to killing endangered species and preparing a habitat conservation plan.

Gamesa has not filed such a permit application. Instead, the company has asked that it be allowed to go forward with the project based on its assessment that the project will have "low effect" on the species.

But the federal agency is concerned about the cumulative effects on the Indiana bat of this wind project and others, and told the company those effects could be significant.

"We believe [Gamesa] is proceeding with plans to construct the project and if it does will be in violation of the Endangered Species Act," said Eric Glitzenstein, a Washington, D.C., attorney representing the environmental groups. "This notice gives the company an opportunity to comply with the law and if it doesn't, puts us in position to proceed with litigation."

Pennsylvania has no regulations for siting wind turbine projects or assessing their impacts on wildlife. Instead, it relies on unenforceable voluntary siting "guidelines" negotiated by the wind power industry and the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Complete article here.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

MD bans Turbines in State Forests

Maryland 12 Apr 2008 ~

Wind farms to be barred: Governor will reject proposal to clear state forests for turbines
, Baltimore Sun

Gov. Martin O’Malley plans to announce today that his administration will prohibit the construction of wind turbines in Maryland’s state forests and parks, according to administration sources. The decision ends a hotly protested proposal by a Pennsylvania company to clear about 400 mountaintop acres in two Western Maryland state forests to build 100 wind turbines. O’Malley is ... Complete story »

HT: National Wind Watch

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Blue Knob Turbine Noise Like Jet Circling

Concerns aired over wind farm proposal
March 27, 2008 by Cori Bolger in Centre Daily Times

A jet circling overhead, a neighbor's thumping bass or a train's brakes squealing as it rounds a curve. These are scenarios Todd Stull and Clair Chappell use to describe how the noise of spinning wind turbines have shattered their once idyllic life in the mountains. "We cannot escape the noise," Stull said. "This issue cannot be trivialized. It's nothing short of a pollution problem." Stull and Chappell, who live next to the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm in Blue Knob, warned borough residents not to chose a similar fate during a public forum Wednesday in Tyrone. ..."This project swooped in, and we didn't have the foresight to see it coming," Chappell said. "Tyrone needs to do their homework and find out if it's the right thing to do ... and keep in mind that you don't have to do it today."

HT: Industrial Wind Action Group

Friday, February 29, 2008

Video: Wind Turbine Explodes

On February 22, 2008 in Denmark, high winds caused a wind turbine to explode, sending debris more than 500 meters away. It was captured on video here and here.

Periodic malfunctions and ice throws are a threat to public safety. Accidents such a this put public regulatory officials on notice that public safety requres setbacks of 2,000 feet, at a minimum.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Senate Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development

Available now, a directory of membership with fax, phone and links to email and postal data:

Senate Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development

PA Biological Survey: Benefits Small Compared to Negative Consequences


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... Pennsylvania Biological Survey, PA Environment Digest, September 14, 2007