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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Public Meeting On Wind Turbines Tonight At 7PM

WFRM NEWS: The County Commissioners will host a meeting tonight in the Potter County courthouse to receive public input on the county’s proposed wind turbine ordinance.

Anyone wishing to present testimony will be given up to three minutes to address Commissioners Doug Morley, Susan Kefover and Paul Heimel.

As time allows, individuals will be able to present additional testimony prior to adjournment.

The hearing will be held from 7 pm to 9 pm.

A record of the testimony will be kept so that the commissioners can review the comments as they consider amendments to the Potter County Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance. A handful of townships have considered ordinances for their municipalities—some deciding to hold off until the county adopts its own rules and regulations even though township measures trump anything adopted by the county.

In addition to dealing with windmills, townships are also faced with problems resulting from the oil and gas boom currently underway here in the northern tier.

Commissioners Doug Morley and Paul Heimel recently attended teleconferences about the boom. Heimel said several township representatives expressed concern over the damage being done to their roads by heavy drilling equipment.

Water quality was another issue discussed at the teleconferences and Heimel said a couple of experts will be in Potter County next week to discuss the impact of the drilling on water supplies Jim Clark and Bryan Swistock of Penn State Cooperative Extension will present a program next Thursday afternoon in Coudersport.

Chairman Doug Morley said he came away from his teleconference concerned about landowners who may be unduly encouraged to sign away their rights. He said it is important to educate landowners to their opportunities.

First Citizens National Bank is hosting a leasing workshop for landowners September 24 at 7:00 p.m. in the Coudersport Area High School auditorium. A panel of experts will be on hand to provide information.

21 comments :

Anonymous said...

Attended this meeting and am glad for it.

After looking around the court room I think our County Commissioners are now "aware" of the many business people in the area that are concerned with these strigent regulations they are considering.

I think the feeling of imposing a "sound"/ "noise" regulation on an industry at the db's stated in Potter County will not be welcome.

Paul Heimel stated it did not mean 5db's as stated...make your regulations clear Paul. Comprehension of an ordinance is very importment

We have far to many businesses that have been in place in Potter County for years that this could hinder if this regulation is placed on the books...they need to think long and hard before they make this decision.

I left the meeting with the feeling that now they realize they had better base their final ordinances on FACTS and SCIENTIFIC reports not EMOTION.

Janene McAteer said...

I was at the meeting last night. I sat right in the front and really paid close attention to everything that everyone said. Here are my thoughts.. The farmers who are no longer making any money from farming have had "sweet nothings whispered into their ears" from some crooked company who is promising these farmers the world, but instead are doing what big companies do and are telling farmers it's raining, while pissing down their backs.... It's scary to see/hear how the farmers are convinced that these things are the best thing since sliced bread!

I didn't get up there and say anything.... I got chicken shit.... but, next week I am going to try to get an appointment to meet face-to-face and have a sit down with one of these commissioners. Doug Morley mentioned how he likes sitting around a kitchen table. He is certainly more than welcomed to sit around my kitchen table. Mr. Morley, consisder this your invitation. The commissioners seem to be (now) more willing to lesson the restrictions that had been drafted. I do believe that the commissioners are leaning more in favor of what the farmers want, as opposed to truly considering every property owners best interests!

As I was driving home last night and a thought popped into my head.... (true, what I'm about to say...) If I can hear a humming bird when it's about 10 feet away from me and I can also hear the feathers on a crow moving/the wind passing through the crows feathers when one flies over my head at a height of about 20 feet, can also hear the wind through feathers when a flock of geese fly overhead (low flying) then how the hell do these people really believe that the blades from these 420 ft tall wind mills, and the blades are like 175 feet long, aren't going to make any noise????

And, since there really isn't any wind around here.... what are these big things going to do without any wind???? The only way they produce electricity is when they're moving.... If they are hooked to a system/grid each turbine is supposed to contribute to the power level of that grid. Also, these grids need to maintain levels to prevent power flucuations. Nice to keep things on an "even keel" so to speak. Again, I'm going to say this again, because it's really important, a turbine's blades must be moving (duh) the only way they're going to be able to do that is if there is wind. If no wind, then they are powered by a fossil fuel and/or an alternate electricity source.... so, what's the point???!!

I was mad at myself for not getting up in front of everybody last night and (basically) just ask questions.... the "forum" wasn't to ask questions, per se... it was more to state your opinion about "draft" ordinance that Potter County already has drawn up. The farmers all think that the draft ordinance is soooooo strict that it will prevent wind turbine companies from ever being able to get any windmills erected. Non-Participating property owners are asking that the set backs be even greater than one mile. I believe that the way the ordinance reads now is that there is only a 1/2 mile setback. The commissioners now have the task of going back to tweek/rewrite what they have done so far.
You could definately tell that the commissioners were more interested in what the farmers had to say then what the "non-participating" land owners had to say. (my feeling)

These things are absolute monsters.... I have seen a wind farm and I'll bet that I was at least 10 miles away (actually, I'll bet we were further away) and they are just absolutely huge.... really erie, kind of.... I've seen them across the United States, during a trip out West and I've seen them down the southern part of PA....

They are going to totally change the landscape of this area.... going to cheapen it (if you know what I mean...) certainly going to take away the "rural/country look." These huge, very industrial looking, very industrial (period) things are going to pop up wherever these farmers can get approval for the company/ies to put them up. And, again, the biggest kick in the balls is that once they're up, they aren't going to be able to do what they're designed to do.... produce electricity by utilizing wind! THERE ISN'T ENOUGH SUSTAINED WIND SPEEDS THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE STATE OF PA!!! There are some really cool maps that can be found on different web sites....

The farmers want this because they are going to be signing leases with this wind farm company.... these leases are being drawn up by the company(ies)... the farmers aren't drawing up their own leases... that, right there, is awfully scary. The thought that these farmers are truly trusting enough to believe some big company is going to be drawing up lease agreements that are in favor of the farmers well being and personal well being is frightening! These desperate farmers will be making money that they no longer make because they either no longer farm on their land and/or because there just isn't enough money in farming anymore for them to sustain their family farms! I see both sides of this argument, I really do.... I'm offering this suggestion to the commissioners: that if the farmers need something else to farm, other than organic materials.... why don't they look, instead, to a solar power company.... I'd much rather see a shit load of "way lower to the ground" solar panels than I would these huge (can see them from a million miles away) wind turbines! These companies target areas that are poor and oppressed and depressed.... you'll never convince me that they don't!! These farmers are literally grasping at straws (well, in this case, huge turbine blades) to pull them out of their debt, to make their farms prosperous again....) I get that... And believe me, I'm actually on their side... Farmers are what have made this entire Nation!! Farming is what keeps the entire world going. No food, no life! I hope that the right decisions are made.

Anonymous said...

It was clear at last nights meeting that the many pro-wind people(90% land lessors) were desperatly trying to down play the Health issues of the wind turbines.
They were mostly saying the same thing. "It is my land, I can do what I want with it,and the Heck with you." Many pro-wind speakers proved they did not know a thing about what they were willing to stand up and speak about. One man jumped up twice to speak on the noise restrictions proposed in the county ordinance, holding up a meter to measure noise. He completley missed the noise issue in the proposed ordinance but yet we was willing to speak twice on the issue.
The bottom line is that if there is no noise put out by the wind turbines, than there is no need to worry about the noise regulation in the ordinance.
As far as the set back restriction in the proposed ordinance, it has a waver of setbacks in it, meaning that if a
non-particapating land owner does not have a problem with the turbines he simply signs a waver and the participating land owner can have his turbine. If he is concerned about the turbine being to close to his home, he has protection. It is sad that those that spoke up with concerns about the turbines are listed as "anti".
All they all were saying is don't put these massive machines to close to our homes.

Anonymous said...

Comprehension of an ordinance is very important and the proposed ordinance is clear.

It says, "Audible sound from a wind turbine generator and/or wind energy facility, or addition of a wind turbine generator to an existing wind energy facility, shall not exceed 5 dB above ambient sound as measured at the boundary line of any non-participating property owner."

Ambient sound is the sound that already exists. The 5dB is the allowable increase from wind turbines according to the ordinance.

Another part of the ordinance reads:
4. Setback regulations of any federal or state agency as they relate to natural resources and/or protected areas shall supersede the setbacks required in this ordinance; provided, however, that such agency requirements or recommendations are greater in distance than that established herein.

One very educated person in the audience at last night's meeting took that clause to mean that the County was superceding the Townships on regulating industrial wind turbines. Once again, I would just say read the ordinance and it's pretty clear. If you don't understand the legalese find someone who does and ask a question about it before spreading misinformation or stating the ordinance isn't clear.

It's actually pretty clear compared to many I've read over the years.

Anonymous said...

I think most of us who were not
being 'paid' to speak last night,
found the forum very difficult.
Thank you for your wonderful post.
Many of us left last night with a terribly down feeling. It was not
an 'everyman' event.

Keep on keeping on.

Anonymous said...

Janene McAteer - I love you!

MAC said...

Hey, Janene! I love you, too!

Anonymous said...

For months the mantra has been there is no noise from these things, but now the noise part of the regs is too harsh. No noise no problem right. I wish they would make up their minds.

I was a little dissappointed to see the threat of "No Money Coming to the County" trotted out by a few minions, much like a carrot in front of a jackass or a piece of candy held in front of a child to get them to do something.

I suppose it's all about what god you worship.

Anonymous said...

"shall not exceed 5 dB above ambient sound as measured at the boundary line of any non-participating property owner.""

I guess you completely MISSES what the point of "ambient sound" as measured.

"Ambient sound is the sound that already exists."

You did not mention that the defination states;
Ambient sound is EXISTING ON ALL SIDES!

The meter reading was different at the same location when testing was done. That is a point that must be looked into. Ambient sound will not be at an even level EVER! Wind, planes, birds, leaves blowing in the wind, vehicles, farm machinery...and the list goes on and on, how are they going to come up with an ambient sound that is used as a base level to measure before they allow 5db's?

I have stood under wind turbines while they were running and the leaves blowing in the wind made more noise than the turbine blades. Should we remove the leaves as they are too noisy?

I would have no problem with the commissioners regulations if they made more sense than they do the way they are written.

If they are going to put this type of strict regulations on the books in Potter County in regards to the turbine's what will Save God's Country try to have over regulated next? The mufflers on cars and trucks. The idling of tractor trailers so their fuel does not jell in the winter months. The exhaust fans on the restaurants in towns, oops guess this will not be brought up!

Anonymous said...

"The farmers who are no longer making any money from farming have had "sweet nothings whispered into their ears" from some crooked company who is promising these farmers the world"

Guess you do not know the farmers that spoke last night, I do, and they are all working their land, harvesting their crops and are making money!
What a piss poor thing for you to say about them.

I'll tell you one thing darling, IF I had signed a lease 2 years ago with AES when there were NO ordinances in place and now they are trying to OVER regulate this industry I would not only sue the county I would cut off my land from future use from anyone!! These farmers you think so little of have opened up their land they have bought and paid for, for years so the visitors will keep coming back to hunt, hike and enjoy their hard earned investment. And while in town these visitors spend money at the local stores and restaurants.

Just like Mr Barnett stated he is a third generation farmer, why, because of his familys hard work and INVESTMENT not yours or mine!

Anonymous said...

"The farmers all think that the draft ordinance is soooooo strict that it will prevent wind turbine companies from ever being able to get any windmills erected"

Jerry Eckert said it best last night or maybe you do not understand how our government works!

There will be wind turbines and if Potter County does not welcome this new industry the commonwealth will step in and then there will be no money for the county. The state will allow this turbine wind farm to be placed on STATE owned land and all the money will go to Harrisburg for Fast Eddie to spend in Pittsburgh and Philly! He is very good at that as his track record has shown.

But then again, you probable do not know that every new tire a truck owner buys for his straight truck or 18 wheeler our great Gov. has imposed a tax on to be used for the public transportation in both of these cities in PA!

And when the State steps in and allows the wind turbines to be placed on state owned land your pissing and moaning will never be heard by the state level leaders, mark my words!

MAC said...

"I have stood under wind turbines while they were running and the leaves blowing in the wind made more noise than the turbine blades. Should we remove the leaves as they are too noisy?"

The noise of concern produced by wind turbines is projected out, not down. You won't hear it standing directly under, but it is heard up to a mile away.

"And when the State steps in and allows the wind turbines to be placed on state owned land your pissing and moaning will never be heard by the state level leaders, mark my words!"

If turbines are placed on state land, who would be living within a mile to complain? It's easy for people who don't live right on top of open farmland to poo-poo our concern. I live within shouting distance of farmland, so I'm on the firing line, and I'm worried about this big time.

Anonymous said...

If "Money for the County" is your drumbeat, you really miss the point of the argument.

Most good things in this world rise about the level of the dollar for most people, not corporations though.

And yes to save bandwidth, of course money is necessary

Anonymous said...

You are standing in the wrong place if you are standing UNDER wind turbine.

Anonymous said...

I'm getting sick of the misinformation being spread by people opposed to the Commissioners' proposed ordinance. The State has taken the official position of NOT putting wind turbines on state lands within the Pennsylvania Wilds. I wonder why that is? The state is allowing industrial wind turbine projects on some state land outside the Wilds, but they've decided to prohibit the development on their land within the Wilds. Folks please get your facts straight. We need a civil and factual discussion on this topic which is so critical to the future of our county.

Anonymous said...

"The state is allowing industrial wind turbine projects on some state land outside the Wilds, but they've decided to prohibit the development on their land within the Wilds."

And I guess the gas drilling the state is allowing to take place on state land is less distrubing to the PA wildes?

The Wind Turbine's will not make near the noise the gas rigs will.

I am for the land owners that are tapping into their mineral rights that they own along with their property, AND clean green energy that will come from the wind turbine's and NO I was not asked to sign a lease!

MAC said...

"The Wind Turbine's will not make near the noise the gas rigs will."

I'm not sure about terminology here. Aren't gas rigs only used during drilling? And doesn't drilling only take place during the daytime? If nothing's found, they close up shop. If supply is found, pipes are installed to bring the gas to the surface and connect the new supply to the existing gas system. I can't imagine there's much noise generated once drilling is complete. Wind turbines will be in place for years and years and years, operating both day and NIGHT. It's the night time noise that creates problems. We can all tolerate short-term noise, knowing that it will soon be over. It seems to me the oppressive part of turbine noise is knowing there is no hope of it ending, and it interrupts sleep. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture (do some research on torture techniques used on war prisoners) - and can lead to serious health problems.

http://www.sleep-deprivation.com/articles/effects-of-sleep-deprivation/
Sleep deprivation can have serious effects on your health in the form of physical and mental impairments. Inadequate rest impairs our ability to think, to handle stress, to maintain a healthy immune system and to moderate our emotions. In fact, sleep is so important to our overall health that total sleep deprivation has been proven to be fatal: lab rats denied the chance to rest die within two to three weeks.

Boonie Basher said...

T. Boone Pickens, the spearhead of the industrial wind movement, a certified Texas Billionare, with a capital B, says:

ITS ABOUT THE MONEY FIRST

IT WON'T WORK WITH OUT THE TAX BREAKS from John Q Public

IT DOES NOT WORK WITHOUT THE WIND because you have to supplement it with gas or coal for 24/7 generation

And in ultimate NIMBY fashion will not have them on his 68,000 acres ranch, because they are ugly

Yet the local Boonies & local wind salesman scream green energy.

I wonder who knows more about what this is all about. The smart money says T. Boone. A stone cold lock.

From Fast Company Magazine Interview.

Is that about money or the environment?
Money! First thing, it's about money. Of course, I'm also a good environmentalist. I can pass the saliva test. But I'm not going to go do a 4,000-megawatt wind farm for the environment first and money second. I'd rather go give money someplace else. You're talking about $10 billion.


And you'll do all this on your beautiful 68,000-acre ranch?
I'm not going to have the windmills on my ranch. They're ugly. The hub of each turbine is up 280 feet, and then you have a 120-foot radius on the blade. It's the size of a 40-story building.

So whose land is it going on?
My neighbors', mainly south of my ranch. They'll get royalties of 4% to 7% on the energy produced, an average per turbine of $10,000 to $20,000 per year.

What about when the wind doesn't blow?
[Pickens purses his lips and starts puffing.] That's the problem with wind generation. You've got to supplement it with a gas-fired or coal-fired source so whoever buys it gets continuous 24-7 generation.

What happens if Congress doesn't extend the $20-per-megawatt-hour Production Tax Credit for wind -- set to expire December 31? On a project this size, that's an $80,000 deduction every hour at full capacity.
Then you've got a dead duck. It would be hard to go without a subsidy. But they'll probably pass it.

Transmission is a major challenge for most wind projects -- getting the electricity to where the people are.
That's right. The hardest part is having rights-of-way and buyers someplace.

You put $1.2 million into the last Texas elections, didn't you?
I don't know. I don't keep track.

Where is Bob? said...

Why have I never seen Bob White of AES post his findings/research on this blog?

Anonymous said...

you really dont think Bob White would stoop to our level do ya?

Artz Fartz

Anonymous said...

Why dont you post your findings.
I dont have any, so give me something I can base my opinion off from.

wannabe