Supremes toss wind turbine appeals

Virginia's first proposed wind farm blew away some unhappy neighbors Friday when the Virginia Supreme Court dismissed their appeal of a lower court ruling.

Finding that the Highland County Circuit Court never should have allowed a trial, the state's highest court, in what will clearly be derided by project opponents as a technicality, rejected the appeal because the landowners sued "Highland County" instead of suing "the Highland County Board of Supervisors."

In its opinion, the Supreme Court pointed to state code when it declared "The terms 'locality' and 'board of supervisors' are not synonymous or interchangeable." In a second case, the Supreme Court rejected another neighbor's claim that challenged the county's planning commission.

Two years ago, the Highland supervisors, after amending the rural area height restrictions, voted to approve the 400-foot-tall ridgetop array. The 19-turbine electricity generation facility proposed by Highland New Wind Development LLC still faces a regulatory hurdle in the form of the State Corporation Commission which is expected to rule later this year. In March, an SCC hearing examiner recommended conditional approval despite claims that the turbines could be lethal for bats and migratory birds.

#

9 comments

Madge is right. Wind may produce renewable energy devoid of carbon emissions, but wind power in this region will always exploit those who cannot afford to keep their property by challenging it in court. Having grown up in Appalachia, I know all too well of the exploitation of natural resources to the detriment of those living there. I know of people living on tens of millions of dollars of natural gas but cannot reap the benefits because gas companies signed 100-year mineral rights contracts with the land's previous owners during the Great Depression. Natural gas seems cheap and clean to those living in an urban environment, but it's a source of misery to those affected. I'm sorry to inform all of you, but destruction is always a side-product of energy creation. But go ahead and have your wind power so you can feel better about your contributions to ending global warming; after all, who cares about "those people" living on the land.

I don't want to hear people complaining about "whooshing" sounds or other side affects from wind turbines while people in our own country are suffering daily for the nation's energy needs.

In the Appalachian region, and yes, even in Virginia, people who live near coal mines are forced to live within 300 feet of explosions that are blowing up our mountains for so-called "cheap energy." Entire tops of mountains are removed to access thin coal seams beneath. As a result,communities are covered by dust from the blasting and trucking of coal, water sources are undrinkable due to nearby mining and the air is thick with pollution from coal-fired power plants.

It's called mountaintop removal.
It's called "cheap electricity."

And it will be the death of the Appalachian Mountains unless we can embrace wind turbines and other clean, renewable energy sources OTHER than coal.

Check out what people are living with in the video section of www.wind-watch.org
What do these people have to gain by sharing their story?

Madge, right now we're living off of energy which is produced in other countries at a tremendous detriment not only to the local environments, but also to our national security and economic growth.

It's time that we take responsibility for our own energy demand, and accept that we have to start producing it at home.

Wind has a few drawbacks, but also many advantages. Yes, it's cheap compared to other alternatives, and it's clean. It has the capacity to increase the value of farmland by producing on that land not only the primary foodcrops, but also large quantities of valuable power.

It seems to me that any projects to develop alternative renewable energy sources should be fast-tracked. If ever there was a cause where eminent domain should seize the day, this seems to be it. God, can you imagine the years of study that would be required by the local government if Charlottesville were in a windy location?

If you drive through the California desert between LA and Palm Springs, you'll see thousands of turbines. At first it seems almost alien - it definitely disrupts the view. But it's clean and it's really, really cheap to produce.

Music Lover, you are so right there would be studies and it would take time to do it RIGHT. Because it should be done right. There are too many people in other states in the country living in the nightmare of the mistakes of wind energy done WRONG.
Desert between LA and Palm Springs. How many people per square mile? Exactly! That is were wind turbines belong not next to homes.
It is not really, really cheap to produce. First there is the tax incentives, the loss of taxes when property values go down, the surcharges to customers and the higher electric prices due to the cost of wind. They only people this is cheap to are the Limited Liability Investment companies that develop the wind turbines and then sell them. Companies sell these developments like kids trade ball cards or toys and leave the problems with the citizens.

These companies also do secret back door dealing in communities.

Interesting how people that don't live near the 400 to 500 foot industrial machines are the ones that think it is a great ideas. So who is the real NIMBY? The people that don't have to live with the nightmare.

Carpe chalupa.

Just for being such crybabies, tear out the windmills and replace them with a nuclear plant.

Examing Madge's reaction will tell you exactly why you will never see any wind mills in Albemarle County. People there complain even about towers used for aviation, saying "Let them crash! I can't see around it for looking." Of course, if you live in the city, you can not stand looking at cell phone towers. Oh my. They all look interesting to me. I also like looking at the symmetry of solar panels. They are just as lovely as those man-made columns we see on so many government buildings.