Cohocton Wind Watch: Charges against wind companies upheld
Cohocton Wind Watch is a community citizen organization dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life in Cohocton, NY and in surrounding townships. Neighbors committed to public service in order to achieve a reasonable vision for a Finger Lakes region worthy of future generations.


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Monday, March 30, 2009

Charges against wind companies upheld

HOLLIDAYSBURG - A Blair County judge has upheld all but two civil charges brought against two wind companies by a Juniata Township couple, who have complained that 40 wind turbines on Blue Knob Mountain are noisy and cause light to flicker in their home.

Unlike Don Quixote de la Mancha, Dr. Todd Stull and his wife, Jill, are not simply "titling at windmills" in their ongoing lawsuit against Gamesa Energy USA and Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm, Judge Daniel Milliron said.

In a lengthy opinion, Milliron dismissed negligence and conspiracy claims against Gamesa, the Spanish company that produced the windmills installed two years ago in Juniata and Greenfield townships in Blair County and Portage Township in Cambria County.

Milliron refused to strike a charge of fraudulent misrepresentation against Gamesa and a similar charge, plus others, against Allegheny Ridge.

One of the Stulls' attorneys, Bradley S. Tupi of Pittsburgh, said the charges that were dismissed will not prevent the Stulls from presenting their case.

The next step will be for Allegheny Ridge and Gamesa to answer the Stull lawsuit.

Milliron ruled the crux of the Stulls' civil case is against Allegheny Ridge because it involves the operation of the wind farm as opposed to the construction of the wind turbines.

Allegheny Ridge once was va subsidiary of Gamesa, but in 2007, Allegheny Ridge was sold to Babcock & Brown, an international investment group.

According to the lawsuit, Gamesa and Allegheny Ridge made assurances during the planning stages for the wind farm that the turbines would not be noisy and that a 2,000-foot setback requirement would be enough to protect home owners against intrusion.

The Stulls say the resulting noise, vibrations and flicker have caused them to lose sleep and to suffer anxiety and emotional distress.

Allegheny Ridge denies the noise from the wind farm is excessive.

The civil case is important because state and federal energy programs emphasize the development of wind energy, but wind energy brings with it environmental damage to streams, and wetlands and animals, Tupi said.

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