Allegheny Treasures comments on West Virginia Public Service Commission siting approval for Mineral County, WV.

First, a disclaimer.  Allegheny Treasures, while supporting the philosophy of groups opposing industrial wind as a viable source of the country’s energy needs, has no direct relationship to any citizen group.  This blog is an amateur effort formed simply to offer information that, until recently, I felt lacking in the reporting of the regional newspapers.  One of our regional papers has emerged recently as the leader in solid reporting of both sides of the discussion on this, and other issues of interest to our citizens.  It is refreshing.  I spoke of the reason for this blogs formation in an earlier post which you can read about here – Allegheny Treasures blog – why bother? – no reason to bore you with that again.  So, just to confirm, what I post, while greatly assisted by several very knowledgeable, informed and dedicated people, is my view, my selection and my responsibility.

Several folks asked today what impact the WV PSC ruling, granting siting approval for the Pinnacle Knob wind plant planned for placement on the high Allegheny ridges above Keyser, might have on our efforts here at Allegheny Treasures.  To suspect we would be glib about the decision and laugh it off would be silly.  Equally silly would be to suspect we would sit back and sulk as though there was nothing else to be done.

The WV PSC decision was, in my view, merely a punch on the free ride ticket to approval wind developers might come to expect from the current political structure in the State of West Virginia.  Perhaps that is why I felt no surprise when the ruling was announced.  So, at least to me, to focus now on the WV PSC would be a waste of energy (no pun intended).  As with all good soldiers, the marching order is determined elsewhere.

While this state is not unique in it’s apparent politics over science mentality, one would certainly think it in a unique position to understand what results from the taking of its resources for the gain of outsiders.  The sad history of this state, and in fact the region, is to give away and remain poor.  Steve Earle said it best in his song “Mountain” – “they took everything that she gave now there gone.”  With history repeating itself, many in our current crop of politicians seem to believe somehow, this time will be different.  Perhaps!  But my money is on the huge corporations.  In fact, your money is on the huge corporations in the form of tax subsidies, alternative energy credits and incentives.  My belief is citizens should know how their money is being spent.

You see, folks who choose to oppose industrial wind are called names.  NIMBY (not in my back yard) is pretty popular.  We have some locals in the press who prefer to label us as backward thinking obstructionists with no view of the future.  That will certainly send us running for cover.  Our friends at Wind Concerns Ontario provided an excellent post called “How to Spot Propaganda Techniques of the Wind Industry and guess what number one is?  Yep! “NAME CALLING or STEREOTYPING”  Take a look, you might find the playbook somewhat familiar.

What amazes me is that our detractors believe that we would somehow fight against a truly effective, low cost, reliable, emission free, job creating fountain of revenue that does no damage to the surrounding environment, will not harm bats and birds, will not negatively impact property values, have no adverse effect on our health or quality of life all the while weaning us from fossil fuel and the evil empires that hold us hostage to oil and threaten our children, our children’s children and even their kids kids!  And why?  To simply to agitate them?

No, it’s a lot less complicated than that for me.  The contraptions don’t perform and they cost the taxpayers a fortune.

But I’m pretty flexible.  I’m more than happy to be proven wrong.  Frankly, I’m easily persuaded so I’m simply asking that my friends on the other side do so.  No, don’t send me more to read.  I can almost quote the stuff myself.  After all, every community receives the same AWEA boilerplate so we don’t need more of the same.  What I’m more interested in is performance.  A lot of statements were flung about when this particular project was sold to the public.  They include the ones I listed above … you know, the list I’m too “backward” to appreciate.

So, here’s what we’ll do.  How about we measure the performance to the claims made.  Not some hypothetical formula based on some study.

  • The operator should make available individual turbine performance records and their contribution to the grid so we can see if the renewable energy credits New Page and the University of Maryland secure are not simply to establish their “green cred” or serve as some medieval indulgence purchased to appease the green gods.
  • How about allowing full access to accredited members of the “NIMBY” group to survey, for as long and often as they wish to insure that Golden and Bald Eagles and other flying creatures are not sliced and diced by the turbines situated in the Appalachian migratory flyway.
  • Maybe the plant operator could even confirm the developer’s claim that this installation will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and close fossil fuel plants.  Don’t know how?  Then I guess the developer shouldn’t have made the claim, should they?  You see, the folks sitting in Charleston believed them.
  • How about a list by state, of the temporary employees hired for construction jobs.
  • Maybe someone could even confirm the testimony of the two witnesses who claimed the millions would be rolling in to the state.  They told the Commissioner at the hearing that there was really no way to look back later to prove what they were predicting would actually happen, but gee, shouldn’t someone have to?  After all, this is real life, not some theoretical discussion in a WVU classroom.
  • I’d personally like to know the US content value of the purchased components, how much of the support material, fuel etc. is sourced in Mineral County, or even WV.

See, these are a few of the things that won the folks from Charleston over to the wind side.  They bought all this hook, line and sinker.  It seems to me that, since construction will be putting the theoretical into practice someone would want to be ramming the results up my big NIMBY nose.  I know I sure would!

So, back to the original question … what impact will the WV PSC ruling, granting siting approval for the Pinnacle Knob wind plant planned for placement on the high Allegheny ridges above Keyser, have on our efforts here at Allegheny Treasures?  None!

We’ll just continue to plod along hoping that someone might see something that interests them here that makes them question industrial wind.  When they do, maybe they will begin to see behind the curtain.  They won’t be angry at the developers … they’ll be long gone.  They won’t even remember the rubber stamp of the PSC.  They’ll be questioning the elected officials who allowed their hard earned money to be wasted on a fairy tale adventure.  They will be challenging the stewardship of our historic sites by such organizations as the WVSHPO and the lack of response of the Governor and his staff to the concerns related to the sale of intrusion into 18 historic sites in Mineral County; the total lack of concern for similar sites impacted by Pinnacle in Maryland; and the potential desecration of Camp Allegheny due to the weakened credibility of the same agency.

The wind industry made claims, the politicians, many of whom perhaps received generous contributions from the industry, have leaned in favor of industrial wind projects.  We citizens simply get to pay for it all.  And I happen to be one citizen who thinks we should find out where the money was spent, and what we’re getting in return.

But then, that’s just me talking.

This entry was posted in Allegheny Mountains, Camp Allegheny, WVSHPO and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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