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Construction of Wind Power Generation Facilities

     The Blue Highlands Citizen Coalition is very concerned by the impact which the installation of a major wind power generation facility will have on our community and on our local environment.

(to view construction photos of a wind facility in Oklahoma, click here.)

     Our community consists of a unique blend of provincially-significant wetlands and ANSIs ( i.e. , areas of natural and scientific interest), deer-wintering areas, the Niagara Escarpment and associated features like the Gibraltar Moraine, rolling hills, idyllic open spaces and significant forest cover. Our area also serves as the headwaters for the Blue Mountain watershed, and includes significant numbers of springs, streams, swamp areas and other watercourses.

     We have conducted extensive research as to the locations of large-scale North American wind power generation facilities, and we are not aware of any existing large-scale North American wind power generation facility which is in a location which features the type of environmental sensitivities which are present in our community. Indeed, as we demonstrated at our August 24, 2003 public information meeting in Feversham, North America's twenty largest wind power generation facilities are nearly uniformly located in areas which are characterized by low population density without any obvious landscape, wildlife, bird habitat, wetland or other environmental sensitivities. The Blue Highlands Citizens Coalition does not consider our community to be an appropriate test site for experimentation as to the impact of a major wind power generating facility in an environmentally-sensitive area.

     The proposed Blue Highlands project is at an early stage in the development process. As a result, it is not possible to ascertain with any certainty exactly what scope of disruption to our community's ecosytems will result from the proposed construction and subsequent operation of a major wind power generation facility. However, there can be no doubt that the disruption will be significant. Any such construction project will involve much more than the simple installation of a large number of +400 foot tall structures. Access roads, transformer stations, transmission lines and other infrastructure components of the project will all be necessary. Tree-clearing for access road construction and for the sake of minimizing turbulence factors in the vicinity of turbine towers can also be expected to be material. Stream and other watercourse disruption due to access road/culvert construction and maintenance will also have negative impacts.

     Some guidance as to the scale and scope of construction activity on top of Blue Mountain which can be expected during the installation of the proposed “Blue Highlands” 100 MW project can be obtained by reading the report posted on the U.S. Department of Energy's website in respect of the construction of the 80 MW “Top of Iowa” wind power generation facility in western Worth County, Iowa. To read that report, please click here.

     While the Blue Highlands Citizens Coalition recognizes the emissions reduction-related benefits of a wind power project, we are concerned that, to date, the public debate over the proposed “Blue Highlands” wind power generating facility has been too narrowly focused on the emissions reduction-related benefits, and has not taken into adequate account the many environmental sensitivities of our community which so many of our residents and other concerned citizens have for so long strived to protect and which we firmly believe merit very careful consideration.

Copyright, The Blue Highlands Citizens Coalition, 2004, 2005.  All rights reserved.

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