State Agency Taking Protests on Windpower Project

By Frank Young

A large windmill facility (wind farm) is proposed for Backbone Mountain in Tucker County. The permitting process for the project appears to be on the fast track. The West Virginia Public Service Commission (P.S.C.) is accepting protests about this proposed facility until September 15th.

The President of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy is asking the P.S.C. to conduct an independent Environmental Impact Study and to conduct a formal hearing on the project before approving the application.

This wind generation facility is proposed along a major route to the tourist regions of the Potomac Highlands. It is projected to have giant wind turbines along a seven mile corridor on a ridgetop just a few miles north and west of Blackwater Falls State Park, Blackwater Canyon (nominated for National Park status), and Canaan Valley State Park.

This windmill farm has the potential to produce a significant visual blight on a large part of Tucker County. The large blades and supporting tower assemblies will loom over 100 yards (the length of a football field) in height. They would be seen for miles.

If you want more public inquiry into this proposed facility, you may write to: Sandra Squire, Executive Secretary, West Virginia Public Service Commission, P.O. Box 812, Charleston WV 25323, before September 15th.

Refer to Case number 00-1209-E-CN, the Backbone Mountain Windpower Project.

You can ask for a public hearing, an independent Environmental Impact Study by the P.S.C., or make any other comments.

It is important, however, to style your comments as a PROTEST of the application, whether or not you actually oppose the project. Otherwise, unless protests are received by the P.S.C., the commission may waive formal hearing and grant the application without study.

For further information you may contact Frank Young at (304) 372-3945 or e-mail .