Sunday, March 27, 2011

Industrial Wind Turbines: Potential Spoilers of the Blue Ridge

A response to a Roanoke Times Op-Ed (Friday, March 25, 2011- Contributing to a good view) by Mark McClain, past chairman of the Roanoke Valley Chapter of FRIENDS, “2006-2008.”

Our Blue Ridge Mountain community has recognized for years that we might provide more opportunities for economic development through serving visitors; by becoming a Blue Ridge Destination for Rest & Reflection. During 1997, Bent Mountain actively participated in Roanoke County’s Comprehensive Plan “Vision 2010”.

So how can it be, that an entire community of nearly 900 “most directly impacted” residents, and nearly 30,000 others, in Roanoke County alone, should be marginalized and ignored for seeking to preserve, plan, and provide for their future?

Early this year, our community realized that by preserving, protecting and enhancing our naturally scenic landscape, repurposing our attractive school building to become The Bent Mountain Center, and forming a Bent Mountain Chapter of FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway, we could realize new parkway-oriented service opportunities.

We do not support Mr. McClain’s affinity for “blind-folding,” or “averting views” as acceptable mitigation of view impact, particularly when considering how many turbines would be required to produce as much electricity as the Glen Lyn Coal Fired Plant; one for each ¼ mile of the entire 479 mile length of the Parkway. Mitigation has become a corporate spin for “look the other way” in the interest of corporate profit.

END to Roanoke Times

The Blue Ridge Parkway hosted, at least, 8 million visitors through our area last year. That number of travelers, which is increasing due to people seeking more affordable adventures and discoveries closer to home, have needs and services that our community can provide. I don't think we should allow the wind industry to invade our Blue Ridge Mountains with its first strike on Poor Mountain in Virginia, without first proving that the verifiable benefit over an extended term of years, exceeds the environmental loss and reduced opportunity for peaceful enjoyment of our lives.

It certainly is the time to evaluate the effectiveness and viability of these mass electrical generation devices and their environmental degradation, to further service a physical electrical and communications grid that continues to industrialize our landscapes.