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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sweden Township Fails To Adopt Wind Ordinance

Members of the Sweden Township Board of Supervisors Tuesday night put the brakes on an ordinance that critics considered too accommodating to the wind energy industry.


By a split vote of 1-1, the board failed to adopt draft regulations that were based largely on the state's 2006 "model ordinance."

In Sweden Township's case, the setback requirements for wind turbines from neighboring properties were more favorable to the industry than those contained in the state model.
Supervisor Jon Blass abstained, admitting that he has a personal financial interest in industrial wind energy.

Supervisor Paul Haskins voted to adopt the ordinance.
However, Supervisor Toby Bova cast the critical "no" vote, citing objections that were voiced during the meeting by citizens from within and outside of Sweden Township.

Many citizens criticized the state's model ordinance as a political tool that had been heavily influenced by companies seeking to operate commercial wind energy operations in Pennsylvania.

Speaking out in favor of the more lenient standards was long-time Sweden Township resident Everett "Sonny" Blass, father of Jon Blass, who said the township would be missing out on substantial revenue.

Also supporting passage of the draft ordinance developer Mike Mulcahey of Port Allegany, who has been seeking properties in Sweden, Homer, Eulalia and Hebron townships for location of industrial wind turbines.

Homer Township passed an ordinance similar to the state's model earlier this year. Eulalia Township Supervisors have tabled action and will continue to monitor developments with the wind energy regulations still being drafted by the Potter County Planning Commission and Potter County Commissioners.

Next up is the Hebron Township Board of Supervisors meeting at 8 am Thursday, at which time that board is scheduled to consider adopting an ordinance very similar in nature to the Sweden Township proposal.

Please click on comments below to read many comments on this post.



28 comments :

LCG said...

Mike Mulcahey of Port Allegany, who has been seeking properties in Sweden, Homer, Eulalia and Hebron townships for location of industrial wind turbines.

Mike, from prior posts it appeared you were a just a concerned pottercountian. I did not know you were a developer of these. If it's true, it's kinda disappointing to think you had another undisclosed agenda. I was almost sold on wind until this. Who do trust anymore these days.

Anonymous said...

Seems there is yet another beaucratic roadblock to renewable energy that would bring in some much needed income and tax revenues to an area that is in dire need. Maybe Mr. Bova and other critics need to get out of the area for a while and see how things work in the real world. Fitting that some of the critics weren't even from Sweden Township but yet feel the need to complain. Good luck Mr. Mulcahey. Don't give up.

Anonymous said...

Seems there is yet another beaucratic roadblock to renewable energy that would bring in some much needed income and tax revenues to an area that is in dire need. Maybe Mr. Bova and other critics need to get out of the area for a while and see how things work in the real world. Fitting that some of the critics weren't even from Sweden Township but yet feel the need to complain. Good luck Mr. Mulcahey. Don't give up.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Bova is right where he needs to be if he helps to keep those horrible wind turbines out of Potter County. It's Mr. Mulcahey who needs to go somewhere else to cash in. Why is he not looking to push these things in McKean County where HE lives?

Anonymous said...

Thank you to Mr Bova for his courage & concern for the people of Potter County and the future of the County.

Anonymous said...

This was an excellent post. Well done!
Please ,everyone come to the hebron meeting tomorrow morning at 7:00AM. The meeting is just off Rt.44just before Conville at the township buildings.
The next important meeting is at the court house Sept. 11 at 7:00Pm put on by the county. If you have a concern, be there.

Anonymous said...

Potter County has no future without any viable businesses and renewable energy is exactly that. Maybe you would rather complain about high fuel prices and watch the unemployment rate rise as tax dollars fall. This is the small town narrow mind mentality that keeps people moving out of the area.

Anonymous said...

As for us in McKean County, where we know the world doesn't drop off sharply at the end of our driveway, we are trying to find room to squeeze wind turbines in among our many old and new oil and gas wells and oil refinery that are contributing to the energy production for our greater area and country. We don't have the same problem over here that Potter County seems to have....ANTI EVERYTHING!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Not only does Mr. Bova do a fine job on the roads here in our township, he has proven that he is concerned for the health, safety and welfare of the residents of
Sweden township. Thank you again, Mr. Bova!! Thanks Again.

MDH said...

The people of this county seem to be destined to be forever in the dark ages because of a few people's short sightedness and unwavering desire to keep progress out of Potter County. Some of you really need to get out of the area once in a while and see what's really out there in the rest of the world.

And just because Mike Mulcahey is interested in putting in turbines of his own should be no reason to slam him for being in favor of wind power. I wish I had the money to put one in my back yard. It sure would beat paying the $200/month that I do for electric now.

Anonymous said...

And McKean County isn't the home of

The first Dark Sky Park in Pennsylvania nor is it the home of

The Second INTERNATIONAL DARK SKY PARK!

So There!

P. Edward Murray

Anonymous said...

Many state how the wind turbines are going forward in helping the energy crisis. My understanding is that everything was done in total secrecy 2-3 years BEFORE anything was made public. WHY? Because the owners of enough property to personally gain from this brought it in.

If anyone can list the benefits for the county please do. It is also my understanding that there is no tax revenue for the county, wind turbines are considered farm equipment thus the landowner pays no taxes on them, all power generated goes out of our area and DOES NOT lower any electric bills locally. Why are we, because we are rural and have high areas, the provider to the rest of the country of these benefits??

Save Potter County said...

I also need to know exactly how wind turbines are going to generate income and jobs for Potter County. I haven't gotten a clear explanation of that from anyone so far. All I see is AES making money. As for Potter County being ANTI everything, that is so wrong, but we are (and will) fight to the finish to protect what natural resources we have.

erkseen said...

If these townships knew how the PA Model Wind Ordinance was put together they would throw it in the trash. It was a case of Ed Rendell giving the keys to the state away. It was written with major influence from the wind industry. PennFuture, a very pro wind enviromental group. Wind developers, Community Energy, FPL Energy and PPM Energy. FPL alone has 5 wind farms in PA with 87 tubines. Wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa even got in on it. Does anyone think they have the best interest of the people in mind?

Anonymous said...

Anti windmill are saving Potter County from what? As for how it benefits the county. As they are installed they will be using local equipment, gravel, fuel, and staying in local hotels. As for the taxes, do you not think landowners making money from these windmills will be taxed on that? Maybe you people think the county should run on all the unemployment money being paid to all the ex Adelphia employees. As for the dark skies, that worthless designation is doing a lot to combat rising energy costs. Besides, was it not decided that windmills would not have any effect on this great treasure???

Anonymous said...

I believe we are talking about "wind turbines" NOT wind mills. Wind mills are a decoration in someone's yard. Wind turbines are unbelievably HUGE structures. Until I saw pictures, I didn't understand just how big, ugly, and horrifying these things look. As far as using local equipment, gravel, etc. after they are installed, then what? What revenue will they generate with the exception of maybe tax revenue that does nothing to help me buy groceries, gas etc. All the wind turbines will do is to lower my property value because they will be right in my back yard. I don't think so!

Anonymous said...

The best way to make a pro-wind farm person, a anti wind turbine person is for him to learn that a turbine is going in 1000ft from his home. Believe me when I say, that is the intentions of the wind companys. A turbine on every hill.

Anonymous said...

"Wind turbines are unbelievably HUGE structures. Until I saw pictures, I didn't understand just how big, ugly, and horrifying these things look."

Let me guess you viewed the picture at the corner dinner in Ulysses?!

I did not view "pictures" I saw them, TRIED to HEAR them and felt NO vibrations. Please do not base your opinion on a 'viewed picture'.

Anonymous said...

Exactly!
I would like to know how many of these so called "experts" in this area and how many of the people that are complaining have actually seen one of these turbines. I'll bet not too many because that would mean getting out of that little bubble they live in.

Anonymous said...

Learn all you can, do some research, go see and listen to some wind turbines! Don't jump on the negative wagon without using your intellect. Why are people so afraid.....of change? Did this happen when telephone poles were erected or electric power lines, or gas pipelines threaded through out county? A thousand electric poles - a mile of high power lines - what's the difference?
Maybe a country that doesn't need to send all of it's money to a foreign county for it's energy.
Are you for America or Foreign Oil?

Anonymous said...

Have lived in "Potter" since the day I was born,and still can't belive the number of times the people of this area have had opportunity come knocking only to have those in charge do about everything they could think of to make it hard for anything to locate here.The "Wind Turbine" thing has a multi billion dollar funding from the Federal Gov. The safety issues and planning for the wind farms have been studied and regulated by people a whole lot smarter than our elected officals.They are experts in their field and know what they are talking about.Let's quit acting like we know about something that we are clueless about and get this ball rolling!It's money people,Big Money!,and a bunch of it will be spent here.If the whole thing turns out to be a wasted effort like so many people want us to believe,so what!The next generation will get those Federal billions again to tear them all down!I want one in my back yard,and if it is a problem I will close the blinds and turn up the tv just like I did with all of Adelphia's noise and light pollution when their projects annoyed me!!!!A minimum wage Call Center helped to stave off the Sherrif for a short time for those in a bind,but "The Beast" is hungry and wants his due.

Anonymous said...

"My understanding is that everything was done in total secrecy 2-3 years BEFORE anything was made public. WHY? Because the owners of enough property to personally gain from this brought it in."

Owning your own personal property does not mean you have to make YOUR personal decisions public!

If a private land owner is contacted by a clean green energy company or anyone else to lease out their land there is no need for it to be PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE.

If the commissioners do not ease up on their strict regulations as far as the wind turbine industry ordinances I hope all of the private land owners fence, gate and cut off THEIR personal private land from anyone using it as far as snowmobiles, 4 wheelers, dirt bikes, nature walkers and sports mens using it! A lot of you have done a whole lot of bitchin' as far as personal property so I hope the land owners take action if this industry does not become welcome in Potter County!

And anyone in Potter County that has enjoyed the private property of others over the years...If you do not back them in this matter you will have no one to blame but yourselves IF and WHEN they decide enough is enough!

Anonymous said...

I sympathize with the land owners who could really use the money from leasing their land. And, I sympathize with the township supervisors who want this as a source of tax revenue. While I suppose the landowners might receive lease income for the entire length of the lease (who's to say that AES lawyers won't find some way to minimize lease payments), the township will only be able to tax based on the amount of eletricity produced. There is not enough wind in Sweden Township to keep these things running; certainly not enough to amount to much - no electricity and no taxes. And, if the infrastructure (all the power lines that feed into the electric grid - which, by the way, don't even exist yet - wait till they start tearing up the hillsides to build more power lines) can not handle the erratic bursts of electricity these turbines produce (spikes due to more or less wind), the power company can require the turbines be shut down - no electricity and no taxes. Even though their ordinance does not include a provision requiring AES to pay taxes, Sweden Township is hoping to be able to negotiate a deal with AES (good luck with that!), and they hope that this revenue will eliminate local use taxes for township residents. Assuming AES is willing to negotiate (and even if they do, who’s to say their legal eagles won’t find a way to squirm out of paying), tax revenue for the township would be a good thing - but when people hear this, they think ALL their taxes will be eliminated and that's not true. Only the LOCAL USE TAX would be eliminated. The bulk of our taxes are paid to the Coudersport School District, which we will still have to pay.

Anonymous said...

How is it possible that you know there is not enough wind in Sweden Township? There is a test tower on Sweden Hill as we speak so you must know more that the companies actually conducting this research.

I too was born and raised in Coudersport and have seen too many narrow minded people force out opportunities for others. The nice part about this is if the landowners sign these leases, AES will have the property "tied up" and many of the regulations (such as setbacks) will not really matter because the property is already leased.

Hopefully the people of Sweden Township ban together, sign leases with AES and show the Township that they can pass all the laws and ordinances they want but when it comes down to it, landowners still own the land, not government.

Anonymous said...

"When in doubt, don't."
Benjamin Franklin

Anonymous said...

I heard those Sweden Hill test towers have been in place for 2 years, and that the results indicate there is insufficient wind. What are they waiting for? Some huge storm to come through so they can average their results? Corporations are masters as manipulating statistics to distract and confusion. Do your own research. Maps are available from the US Department of Energy, showing what parts of the country are viable for wind power development. Potter County ridge tops and almost all of Pennsylvania are listed as "poor" to “marginal.”
http://www.eere.energy.gov/windandhydro/windpoweringamerica/wind_maps.asp

Anonymous said...

The test tower I am speaking of has only been there a matter of months. Must be a different location. People are doing research as I have. Seeing wind turbines up close and listening to them where towns are smart enough to realize there has to be a better way than transferring our nations wealth to foreign countries. You are basing your decision on one Government website instead of visiting existing facilities. And the Governement has never manipulated statistics before.

MAC said...

Visiting communities where wind power already exists is a great idea. Has anyone who has visited spent several nights inside homes less than 1/2 mile from a turbine? Seriously, I want to know. In my research, i'm finding information that shows sound directly below turbines is fairly insignificant, but the more problematic noise is projected out, not down. And, homes that are too close (less than 1 mile) actually act as a resonator. The noise is actually louder inside the home than outside.