Opponents of the Pantego Wind Farm ask Commissioners for Wind Ordinance | Eastern North Carolina Now

   At the Beaufort County Commissioner's General Meeting, December 12, 2011, there existed a contest of ideas and ideals as to whether the wind farm, designated for proposed construction in an area north of Pantego, and southwest of the Pocosin Lakes Wildlife Refuge, should have the right to be constructed. It appears that at the heart of this matter are the proponents of wind energy as a capitalist solution to our energy needs, and the proponents to protect the abundant waterfowl that use the natural watershed of that proposed construction site that, in part, drains into the Pungo River and Pantego Creek - both in eastern Beaufort County.

   The proposed location will be the home of 49 wind powered turbines owned and operated by Invergy. Their home office is in Chicago, Illinois.

   To wit, representatives of a developing opposition group to the project spoke in favor of Beaufort County Commissioners developing a restrictive wind ordinance, which would limit or stop construction of the project. Opposition representatives, Doris Morris, who spoke in the public Comments period of the meeting, and Larry Hodges, who spoke in the Agenda Items period, both represented that the constructed wind powered turbines would compromise the Atlantic Waterfowl Flyway to an extent that would seriously jeopardize the habitat of the Pocosin Lakes Wildlife Refuge.

   Additionally, Ms. Morris expressed that the indigenous bat population would be diminished due to the constant movement of the blade rotors. Mr. Hodges continued that a good number of these wind turbines, 14,000 by his collected data, have ceased operation and stand idle. Secondly, Mr. Hodges offered that his data suggested that wind energy at the proposed wind farm, was marginal at best. Both expressed a need for Beaufort County Commissioners to enact a restrictive Wind Ordinance.

   Invergy Representative April Montgomery countered that Invergy's proposed construction phase would need 160,000,000.00 in construction spending, and would create an estimated 100 construction jobs. After construction, Invergy would need 5 permanent jobs to continue operations post construction. Furthermore, Ms. Montgomery stressed that ongoing annual operation expenses would be around 1,000,000.00.

   Ms. Montgomery explained that before Invergy expends this level of funding, they will record data to qualify the site in terms of both environmental concerns and the project's ultimate economic viability.

   After her presentation, I asked two questions - the first concern: Mr. Hodges's allegation that 14,000 of these wind turbines were idled. Ms. Montgomery answered that she was not aware of this data, so I asked Mr. Hodges, could this 14,000 number be accurate, to wit, he replied, "the 14,000 number was in the low range of my collected data, but represents all sizes of windmills."

   After the meeting, I continued to press Ms. Montgomery, when she offered, "You know, now that I've had an opportunity to think about it, I do not believe that there are a total of 14,000 wind powered turbines currently in the United States."

   Also during the construct of the general meeting Ms. Montgomery added, "Currently, all of Invergy's Wind Powered Turbines, unless idled for maintenance, are in operation."

   I also stated that Wind Power Impresario T. Boone Pickens has called the corridor from North Texas through North Dakota the "Saudi Arabia of Wind", and then I asked: Why not build your wind farms there?

   Ms. Montgomery: "The power grid in the Midwest is presently inadequate, so Invergy is looking to build where the power grid is not overloaded, like here in Beaufort County."


   If one wishes to make the argument that eastern North Carolina is an inefficient location for Wind Powered Turbines, and they should, instead, be located in the corridor coined as the "Saudi Arabia of Wind," blame President Barack Obama and a Democrat Congress for ramming through an 800,000,000,000.00 stimulus package that was predominately a slush fund for Democrats, rather than building out essential United States infrastructure.

   If one believes that this Pantego Wind Farm is a potential environmental nightmare, in regards to waterfowl habitat, then seek redress with the regulatory agencies. They are many, and normally side with those more concerned with the environment than commerce.

   I say this with the firm belief that North Carolina county commissioners do not have the tools to properly stop undesirable commercial enterprises by virtue of overlay regulation. Our governmental infrastructure is non regulatory on this level, and we should not construct new additional layers of weaker authority as an overlay to existing stronger regulatory authorities.

   I would only favor a Wind Ordinance if it was enacted only to govern ongoing concerns, not to limit their development.

   I will, however, vote NO for any public assistance for this project, and since there is public opposition to this project, I would strenuously encourage my fellow Beaufort County Commissioners to vote NO as well on any corporate welfare for Invergy.
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Beaufort County General Meeting: December, 2011. County Commissioners, Government, Governing Beaufort County Washington City Council plans for the future


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