Proposed Liberty Gap Project
Pendleton County, WV
Last Update: 23 February 2007
This page is dedicated to information specifically applying to the Liberty Gap project proposed by US WindForce for Jack Mountain in southern Pendleton County, WV. In addition to concerns about this project on its own, there is reason for concern that it will set the stage for extension down the ridge line into Highland County. The Pendleton County group opposing this plan has established a web site. It is our goal in Highland County to complement their efforts.
Pin-back metal buttons, 2¼" in diameter, with the image shown at left are available from Protect Pendleton. The WV Public Service Commission is holding two hearings in Franklin to receive public comment on the Liberty Gap project, 4 May 2006 at 1:30 and 7:00 p.m. at the Community Building. I attended part of the evening session and found the testimony to be much like that at the SCC hearings in Monterey. There was no sign-up list so the hearing examiner called on people who raised their hands. Thirty-three had spoken at the afternoon session and he promised that the evening session would continue until everyone who wanted to speak had done so. It looked like it would be a long evening. Tom Matthews of Liberty Gap described the project and a representative of the Building Trades Council [union] supported it. Attorney James McNeely, represnting Friends of Beautiful Pendleton County, spoke in opposition, stating the Liberty Gap had not complied with PSC requirements. He also quoted a person who said, Were right fond of our raggedy little mountains just the way they are. The floor was then opened for public comments. The first six, including myself, spoke in opposition, then Steve Conrad spoke in favor. He seems to be Pendletons version of Jerry Rexrode, saying that most people are in favor of the project but dont want to speak out and that those who do speak are against virtually everything that comes along. A break was called shortly after nine oclock and I left for home. I have not heard about the final count of speakers or any highlights.
At a meeting of FOBPC in Franklin on 10 February 2006 it was announced that the deadline for comments to the PSC had been extended to 17 February. I have submitted a letter to the PSC and urge others from Highland County to do likewise. The address and case number are shown in this letter.
Since Pendleton is doing a pretty good job on this we have not been keeping up with developments. Here are a few recent reports from The Recorder:
- Jack Mountain project delayed Wind developer failed to give notice; vote put off until June 15 December 2006, p. 1, 7.
- Liberty Gap seeks federal permit Wind energy company wants PSC to abstain from wildlife discussion 15 December 2006, p. 7.
- W. Va. wind proposal found lacking Liberty Gap may not have met burden of proof, says [PSC] engineering division 8 December 2006, p. 4, 6.
- PSC to reconsider Liberty Gap wind project 8 September 2006, p. 5
- Wind company asks state to reconsider 4 August 2006, p. 2. Liberty Gap appeals PSC decision.
- Jack Mtn. wind project nixed by state West Virginia agency dismisses Liberty Gap project application 28 July 2006, p. 1, 6
- PSCs surprise decision: What happened? 28 July 2006, p. 6
- Pendleton wind hearings reflect Highland opposition 12 May 2006. PSC hearings in Franklin on Liberty Gap.
- Sidebar: A quick look 12 May 2006. The essential features of the Liberty Gap project.
- West Va., Liberty Gap debate wind application 7 April 2006, p. 6-7
- Show us the money, PSC says 7 April 2006, p. 6-7
- Pendleton wind developers disappoint 10 February 2006, p. 5 Liberty Gap developers give canned answers to some questions but refuse a dialog with citizens.
- Liberty Gap officials answer written questions 10 February 2006, p. 5-6 Summary of Liberty Gap answers.
- Sidebar: A quick look 10 February 2006, p. 6 Summary of local wind proposals.
- Who do they think theyre kidding? 10 February 2006, p. 21, 23 Editorial regarding the USWF stonewall in Pendleton County.
- Group seeks to dismiss wind application 3 February, p. 4, 6 Friends of Beautiful Pendleton County seeks to block USWFs Liberty Gap project on Jack Mountain.
- Will U.S. Wind extend Liberty Gap project into Highland? 3 February, p. 4 Their application to PJM includes such a proposal.
- Friends of Pendleton gear up for battle U.S. Wind Force still lacks t-line leases 25 November 2005, p. 6
- Jack Mtn. wind plan to be filed in W.Va. 11 November 2005, p. 5
It has been reported that the PSC has denied requests for a moratorium on wind development in WV while further studies are undertaken. If anyone has a reference to a published news account I will post it.
US Wind Forces Liberty Gap project as proposed consists of 50 turbines rated at 1.5 to 2.0 MW each on Jack Mountain from the state line northward for some six miles in Pendleton County. It had been simmering along largely unnoticed until it was approved by the County Commissioners without any public hearing or other notice to affected citizens, including an agreement to use eminent domain, if necessary, to acquire right of way for transmission lines. This blew the lid off the pot. The opposition quickly surfaced and the Commissioners withdrew from the right-of-way deal. Thats where it stands at this moment.
It was later reported that US WindForce has applied to PJM for an interconnection for 112 turbines at Liberty Gap, not 50 as has been reported locally. The implication is that they plan to extend their project south into Highland County and some simple arithmetic confirms it. Turbines are typically placed about 8 per mile. Jack Mountain, from its origin in Pendleton County to the gap at US 250 in Highland, is 14 miles long. 8 x 14 = 112. This confirms what we in Highland have feared all along it is not just the HNWD project. If that is approved more will surely follow.
It is interesting to note that there is more than one bad actor in this affair. Allegheny Wood Products is the major landowner on Jack Mountain that has leased land to USWF. About a year ago AWP purchased a large block of land in the Cheat River canyon from Allegheny Power, despite a higher offer from the state of West Virginia. The state wanted to buy this scenic and recreational gem and establish a state park. AWP is now building a road through the canyon and has begun logging on the steep slopes, which are the habitat of several endangered species. For more on this atrocity see The Charleston Gazette, 23 November 2004. [58 Kb]
This is US Wind Forces depiction of their Liberty Gap project. This view is looking south toward Highland County. Turbines will extend all the way to the state line and, if Highland gives approval, they could be extended further south. I believe that the peak in the far distance at upper right is Sounding Knob. The first 100 MW phase was scheduled for completion by January 2006 but that did not happen. They are now talking about 2008.
Photo from the US Wind Force web site.
Resources Document References and Links
Documents are listed below in reverse chronological order so the most recent materials are always on top. We also maintain a complete listing of wind articles in The Recorder, including those about Pendleton County. The Pendleton Times is covering this issue but they are unable to provide digital copies of their articles. I have scanned a couple of Times articles as an experiment. This creates rather large files. Please let me know if this is worthwhile. If so I will do more of them.
- Allegheny Power Rep Attends Meeting The Pendleton Times, 24 March 2005, p. 1, 4 reporting on a meeting of Friends of Beautiful Pendleton County.
- PSC Members Ties To US Wind Force Questioned Arthur Hooton, Riverton The Pendleton Times, 24 March 2005, p. 7
- Activist Shares Wind Power Concerns Linda Cooper, Citizens for Responsible Wind Power The Pendleton Times, 3 March 2005, p. 4
- PSC Green Lights Two Mt. Storm Wind Facilities The Pendleton Times, 24 Feburary 2005, p. 1, 8. The PSC has rejected a moratorium and will allow the erection of 366 turbines in Grant County. U.S. WindForce is expected to reapply for their Jack Mountain project in March.
- Reader Feels Its A Good Time to Adopt Zoning Arthur Hooton, Riverton The Pendleton Times, 10 Feburary 2005, p. 8. It is time we protect ourselves from unfettered development.
- Wind Facility Foe Shares Letter to Del. Michael Arthur Hooton, Riverton The Pendleton Times, 27 January 2005, p. 8. This link was broken but is now OK. Please tell me when something doesn't work!!
- County Is Beautiful, So Lets Keep It That Way Paulette Roberts, Moyers The Pendleton Times, 20 January 2005, p. 7.
- Thoughtful Discussions Need To Take Place in Pendleton County Daniel Taylor, Spruce Knob The Pendleton Times, 20 January 2005, p. 7.
- Protect Pendleton County is a new web site devoted to the issue of industrial wind turbines. It has a nice layout and quite a few photos a useful reference.
- New Issues Arise in Wind Facility Debate, The Pendleton Times, 13 January 2005, p. 1,5
- Taylors Letter Termed Disingenuous Bob Tuckerman The Pendleton Times, 13 January 2005, p. 4
- Big Profits, Big Tax Breaks Fuel Wind Project Tom Firor The Pendleton Times, 13 January 2005, p. 4
- Is Liberty Gap Preying on Greed? Teresa (Rader) Hannon The Pendleton Times, 13 January 2005, p. 4
- Resident Rebuts Last Weeks Letter to Editor Arthur Hooton, Riverton The Pendleton Times, 13 January 2005, p. 4 another reference to Daniel Taylors letter of 6 January. This link was broken but is now OK. Please tell me when something doesn't work!!
- EDA Asked to Go Slow On Wind Farm Proposal, The Pendleton Times, 6 January 2005, p. 1
- County Should Prosper from Wind Power Daniel Taylor, Spruce Knob The Pendleton Times, 6 January 2005, p. 8
- Future Retirees Say No to Giant Windmills Here Julie and Kelly Stephenson The Pendleton Times, 6 January 2005, p. 8
- Turbines an Eyesore, Writer Says Russell Bounds The Pendleton Times, 6 January 2005, p. 8
- Jim Balow in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, 29 December 2004, Wind firm delays Pendleton project [56 Kb]
- Letter from the WV Division of Natural Resources to the WV Public Service Commission requesting intervenor status in the Liberty Gap matter, 15 December 2004. [172 Kb] This is a rather fuzzy copy but it is readable.
- Opponents Discuss Wind Project, The Pendleton Times, 16 December 2004, p. 1,6. [211 Kb]
- Commission, US Wind Force Rescind Agreement, The Pendleton Times, 16 December 2004, p. 1,9. [93 Kb]
- Map of Pendleton County, courtesy of Dan Boone, showing where the strongest winds are. [114 Kb]
- PJM Generator Interconnection Request. [56 Kb] US WindForce has applied for an interconnection for 112 turbines at Liberty Gap, not 50 as has been reported locally. The implication is that they plan to extend their project south into Highland County. This confirms what we in Highland have feared all along If the HNWD project is approved more will surely follow.
- The Termination Agreement itself. [32 Kb] The original contract was signed on 16 November and rescinded by this document on 8 December.
- The Charleston Gazette, 10 December 2004, reports that the Commission has rescinded the contract under pressure from the citizens group, and that the PSC plans to take up to nine months studying the issue before granting a permit. [59 Kb]
- Commissioners Questioned About Wind Farms, The Pendleton Times, 9 December 2004, p. 1,4.
- Reader Objects To Commissions Action Eve Firor The Pendleton Times, 9 December 2004, p. 5.
- Resident Says Wind Power Project Will Negatively Impact Property Values Arthur Hooton, Riverton The Pendleton Times, 9 December 2004, p. 5. [9 Kb]
- The Charleston Gazette, 7 December 2004. [63 Kb] Reporting on the formation of the citizens group opposing Liberty Gap.
- Harrisonburg Daily News-Record, 3 December 2004. [82 Kb] Report on the County Commissions contract with USWF. This article contains an error [highlighted] in the last sentence on the first page. Each turbine would have a rated capacity of roughly 1.5 MW, not 70 to 100 MW, which probably intended to refer to the rated capacity of the whole project.
- Wind Farm Moves Ahead, Arouses Concern, The Pendleton Times, 2 December 2004, p. 1,7. Detailed report on the Liberty Gap project and the USWF agreement with the County Commission.
- US WindForce main web site, where information about this and other USWF projects can be found.
John R. Sweet, Mustoe, VA