To the editor:
I am writing in response to the letter of Feb. 6, from Dennis Stout, Wind farm developer for E.ON Climate & Renewables North America. In his letter he states "The local infrastructure (roads, schools, hospitals, fire, etc) has benefited greatly from the presence of our wind farms. Local residents and businesses have benefited as well, both directly and indirectly. Ultimately the community wins, landowners win, America wins, and the developer wins."
I submit that, No. 1, I would like proof that homeowners win. Having a 400-foot wind turbine in my backyard is not a win for me. My husband is hard of hearing and from what I have learned these people suffer more from the noise of the turbines, even though they may not hear the noise. Also, I would not purchase a home with a turbine in the backyard or a view of such turbine; therefore, I could see where my property value would decrease-not a win for a landowner.
No. 2. The community wins? OK, for a short time a few local businesses may have more business due to employment of the builders, however, once built, these jobs go away. The community will lose as tourists decide that visiting a valley with 400-foot wind turbines is no longer picturesque, rural and quite. The community will lose -not a win.
No. 3. Roads win? Sure, they will improve the roads after they have damaged them with large trucks logging miles up and down Jack's Mountain hauling building supplies, dirt, etc. It could easily take 25 truckloads just to carry the concrete needed for each turbine foundation. What about the noise and traffic these vehicles are going to create? Not a win.
No. 4. Benefit local schools, hospitals, etc.? In an article published in The Daily Star, Oneonta, N.Y. on Jan. 25, "The turbines, each featuring three 179-foot blades, would have the capability to generate 18.45 megawatts of power. The developer has estimated that the project would produce some $4 million in revenue to town, county and school budgets over its lifetime"
Four million dollars is a large sum of money and it really sounds great. Per a letter from a resident of Monticello Hills (Oneonta, N.Y.) the following is a breakdown of their $4 million amount. "Over 25 years that comes out to $160,000 a year. When this is divided between two school districts and at least two towns and two counties, that's about $25,000 each. Of course their website information is all theory because these wind turbines will have to be pumping out 18.45 megawatts every single day, which is totally unrealistic. Just look around at those places that already have wind turbines. Most of them are just standing there earning nothing for the towns that allowed them to be built."
Being from California, I can testify to seeing wind turbine projects not operating at full capacity in a very, very windy area of the desert, some not working at all. Maybe Mifflin and Huntingdon counties will not be sharing the "windfall of $4 million" since the wind turbines being suggested will probably not be operating at full capacity and since no figures were given for income to the counties, what exactly are we looking at? I think E.ON should provide documentation as to what amount of realistic money the counties are looking at, and documentation showing where property value has increased by having wind turbines located on or near a residential property. In my opinion there will be a decrease in property value across the county.
In closing, I would like to request all residents of Mifflin County to really consider the pros and cons of having wind turbines on Jacks Mountain and Stone Mountain, their impact on Big Valley's rural setting, beauty and uniqueness. Remember that they will be taking off many feet from the top of the mountains to level the ground in order to build. These mountains will never, ever be the same for thousands of years to come, for what purpose? A 25-year wind development (that benefits E.ON and Volkswind) and a possible income of unknown amount to the community. This is not a positive effect or win for surrounding communities.
Mifflin County residents need to get involved and let their feelings be known to their county representatives and supervisors.