Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Windmills in Highland County?

A simmering debate in our neighboring county to the west has been the windmill proposition that was brought to the table a couple of years ago. Visit Highland County and ask the residents how they feel about wind turbines coming to their area ... and you will stir up a hornets nest. Overwhelmingly, they are not happy. But that doesn't seem to get through to those who want to push the windmills on this peaceful, sparsely-populated county.

Highland New Wind Development wants to build 19 windmills on two ridges -- unsightly eyesores that would bring in needed revenue for the county but scar the beauty of the mountains.
Those supporting the project say it would create power and revenue for the county, enough power for 10-15,000 homes. Opponents say the enviromental damage and loss of bucolic scenery would far outweigh any benefits.

Highland New Wind Development, represented by Harrisonburg lawyer John Flora, went before the State Corporation Commission yesterday to face rising concerns about the welfare of birds and bats that would be at high risk of death from the turbines. The developer felt the state's request was too expensive and offered their own proposal.

In the recent hotly-contested 24th District primary race, candidate Scott Sayre said he would be able to offer alternative means to the county for raising revenue. When appearing at the Highland Maple Festival in March he heard plenty from county residents who did not want windmills coming to their area.

Tucker County, West Virginia, has wind turbines and is being used as a model for what could occur in Virginia.

Are windmills really a good idea for Highland County?

Backbone Mountain, W. Va

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