Just as attempts are ongoing to revitalize the Dan’s Mountain wind project in Western Maryland, which apparently will include an effort by the developer to modify an ordinance passed some time ago to protect local citizens, word comes from nearby West Virginia that some 23 federal lawsuits have been filed on behalf of 38 Keyser residents against a local windfarm, alleging the sound of the turbines caused mental and physical health problems and the proximity caused homes to lose their value.
The developer of the Dan’s Mountain Wind Force LLC project , Laurel Renewable Partners LLC was, until recently, called US WindForce LLC which, coincidentally, was the developer of the Pinnacle Wind project which is named in the lawsuit.
This lawsuit is not the first health related problem the Pinnacle project has faced. In December 2011, shortly after the turbines were fired up, folks who had actually welcomed the project began to experience difficulties to the extent that one individual was quoted in several venues stating, “The noise from these windmills is so great that it is impossible to live near them.”
The noise issues were taken to the WV Public Service commission to no avail.
After months of back and forth concerning Pinnacle noise, with no public statement regarding the details of the resolution, the conversation between the wind project owners and the complaining party suddenly became very quiet. Obviously though, based on this new lawsuit brought on by 38 Keyser residents, the 23 massive turbines have not become quiet.
Now to the Dan’s Mounatin Wind Force LLC project.
Dan’s Mountain Wind Force LLC was recently successful convincing the Maryland Public Service Commission that they needed an extension of the deadline imposed some time ago, citing as one reason, financial problems with Edison, the financially strained energy company and current owner of Pinnacle and their planned partner at Dan’s Mountain.
The MD PSC was informed that Excelon has replaced financially troubled Edison as partners on the project. Interesting choice perhaps, as Michigan’s Huron Daily Tribune noted in an article this week that some members of the Huron Board of Commissioners has reservations about the participation of Excelon in wind projects there.
And we now learn that that Dan’s Mountain Wind Force LLC sees the extension as an opportunity to to work on “restrictive Allegany County zoning rules and any court action that might be required,” according to the Cumberland Times-News.
Yes, the developer will be using the extension, at least in part, to try to get around the safety measures put in place by local officials. But any attempt to modify the restrictions put in place by authorities in order to protect citizens, especially in light of the health related lawsuit at neighboring Pinnacle, should be met with great skepticism.
There can be no clearer example of the risk faced by the neighbors of the proposed Dan’s Mountain wind project than what is actually happening just a few miles away at the Pinnacle project, which was developed by the very same individuals responsible for Dan’s Mountain.
If there is any doubt about the risk, perhaps Maryland citizens could speak with their West Virginia neighbors. I suspect Dan’s Mountain Wind Force LLC is hoping that you won’t.