STATUS: In progress, with opposition
OPPOSITION: Local residents; Defend Our Watershed; Save Crystal Lake
BACKGROUND: Energy Unlimited’s proposed project would install 34 turbines with a maximum capacity of 54 megawatts, enough electricity for 16,000 homes. The developer has had the rights to 835 acres of land since 2003, but has endured a long legal battle with the township and a local environmental group over zoning issues.
Energy Unlimited’s original plan was rejected with two dozen conditions the company had to satisfy. Before the company could submit a revised plan, the township passed a stricter windpark ordinance and said the company’s new plan would be required to follow the new ordinance. The company argued the new ordinance made its plan impossible. Energy Unlimited then petitioned the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas to force the township to review its new plan using the old ordinance.
Opponents worry that the project will have a negative environmental impact and create uncertainty about the use of county-owned land by a private company. The location of a wind farm around the lake is a "betrayal," according to Hank Smith, a local environmentalist who was a vocal advocate for the government purchase of the land around Crystal Lake. A board member of Defend Our Watershed, said he is "gravely concerned that placing windmills in the direct watershed of our water supply is in obvious conflict with the original stated purpose of buying the land, which was to protect the watershed.”
As of December 2009, Energy Unlimited has made numerous appeals but continues to face opposition and rejection of its proposal.
SOURCES: The Times Leader: http://www.timesleader.com/news/Windpark_plan_rsquo_s_future_a_divisive_topic_05-23-2008.html;
Environmental News Network: http://www.enn.com/sci-tech/article/10026;
Industrial Wind Action Group: http://www.windaction.org/news/8615;
Citizen Voice: http://citizensvoice.com/news/wind-turbine-farms-provide-ecomomic-boom-to-region-but-still-draw-controversy-1.502477
Last updated November 24, 2010