DEP STRONG ARMS RANDY RITCHEY
Some time during the week of August 13th, two white vans containing numerous DEP officials, including head DEP legal counsel Charnie Regenstein, DEP's geologist, DEP Watershed Management Manager Rita Coleman, and several other DEP "personnel" descended on Randy Ritchey's home on Gravity Hill Road. They were accompanied by Somerset Soil Conservation District Officer, Keith Largent. Mr. Ritchey was advised by the many DEP officials, in no uncertain terms, that Gamesa's destruction of the top of Shaffer Mountain would not affect his water and would have no effect on his trout farm. At the time, Mr. Ritchey was represented by legal counsel.
Soon after DEP left, Mr. Ritchey contacted his legal counsel and advised him that he no longer wished to participate in the lawsuit against DEP and Gamesa.
Tony Soprano would be proud.
Such intimidation tactics are unconscionable and illegal. Yet, this is the level to which DEP has degenerated since becoming a business partner with Gamesa.
IS GAMESA ABOUT TO PLAY THE "JOBS CARD"?
In their desperate attempt to destroy one of the highest quality, unfragmented wild areas remaining in the mid-Atlantic, Gamesa is about to play the "jobs card", where they will claim that the cancellation of the Shaffer Mountain project will lead to layoffs at the Ebensburg blade plant. This lie is insulting, not only to the people of the Windber, Central City and Shaffer Mountain areas, but also to the employees of Gamesa's Ebensburg plant. The truth is that Gamesa's order books are filled at least through the next two years. Click here for recent news articles confirming this fact. The Shaffer Mountain wind plant has no bearing on employment at Gamesa, as it is merely a drop in the bucket compared to the heavy world-wide demand for their product.
The people opposing the Shaffer Mountain wind plant have no quarrel with Gamesa's employees at their Ebensburg plant. Our quarrel is with Gamesa and their business partners, Ed Rendell and Katie McGinty, who have given Gamesa free reign to place their wind plants in our last remaining high-quality, unfragmented wild areas. Gamesa seems to feel that since they have brought a couple hundred jobs to Cambria County, they can place their wind plants in Natural Heritage areas - places of the highest environmental quality in Pennsylvania - even though thousands of acres of reclaimed surface mines lie nearby.
Word has it that Gamesa is requiring their employees to attend the public hearing using them as pawns. Come to think of it, Rendell did the same thing with state workers. Shame on you, Gamesa!
MORE GAMESA DECEPTION
The Letter to the Editor in today's (August 22, 2007) Johnstown Tribune-Democrat by GAMESA EMPLOYEE Joseph S. Satkovich (here it is) shows just how far Gamesa will stoop to try to fool the public. The Letter to the Editor did not identify Mr. Satkovich as a Gamesa employee. He is Gamesa's production manager at their Ebensburg plant. Yet more deception. They really think you are stupid. Their arrogance is unbelievable.
The fact is that Gamesa is now becoming desperate because public opinion is strongly AGAINST their Shaffer Mountain project. This is so even though they have DEP in their back pocket. Remember, Rendell and DEP Secretary McGinty brought Gamesa to Pennsylvania and will stop at nothing to see that they get to build wherever they want.
EARTH TO GAMESA - move the wind plant one mile south to the reclaimed strip mine. Here are some pictures.
Thought for the day
31% of the electricity produced in PA is sent out of state to New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and D.C.. Who, in turn, send us their garbage to fill up all the "open space" we have.
Electricity for trash - now that's what I call "Green."
WHEN: August 28th at 6:00 PM
IF YOU WISH TO SPEAK AT THIS HEARING:
WHERE: Shade High School Gym
WHO WILL BE THERE: PA DEP, Gamesa, opponents of the project, news media.
You must call Helen Humphreys of DEP at 412 442-4183 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will be given five minutes to tell DEP and Gamesa what you think about their plan to destroy Shaffer Mountain.
Please make sure to attend this most important Public Hearing.
Is WAA going to sell out it's customers for Berwind???
This position statement recently appeared on the WAA website. It is inaccurate in several important respects and contradicts what WAA solicitor James Cascio has said about WAA's ability to STOP THE PROJECT. Apparently it is an attempt to "warm up" WAA customers to the WAA approval of the industrialization of the WAA watershed. WILL WAA SELL OUT ITS CUSTOMERS??? Stay tuned. Lots more coming.
OGLE TOWNSHIP SUPERVISORS VOTE TO
TAKE CASH PAYMENTS FROM GAMESA
At their monthly meeting on August 6, Ogle Township Supervisors voted to take payments from Gamesa of $3,000 for each wind turbine built in Ogle Township. By doing so, the Ogle Township Supervisors are promoting Gamesa's plans to destroy Shaffer Mountain and destroy your property values.
The Ogle Township Supervisors are:
Harvey Weyandt - November 2007 term expires
John Zeglin - November 2009 term expires
Dana Sklinar - November 2011 term expires
Why would Gamesa pay the Ogle Township Supervisors for wind turbines when there are no wind turbines proposed to be built on Ogle Township property? By voting to take these cash payments, the Ogle Township Supervisors make it seem that Ogle Township wants wind turbines, even though wind turbines will harm property values and quality of life and destroy the fragile ecology of the mountain.
Harvey Weyandt is up for reelection in November 2007. Send a message. Are the Ogle Township Supervisors looking out for the best interests of the people of Ogle Township?
GAMESA HIRES "PAY RAISE BOB"
JUBELIRER TO LOBBY HARRISBURG
Gamesa has hired - "Pay Raise Bob" - Jubelirer to represent them in their on-going attempts to destroy the mountains of Bedford County. He tried to get us once with his pay raise. Now he's at it again. Maybe a little revenge for being thrown out of office?
Jubelirer is now employed as a lobbyist by the Philadelphia law firm of Obermayer, Rebmann, Maxwell & Hippel, LLP. Since May 2006, the Obermayer law firm has given Ed Rendell $68,500. Click here to see for yourself. Gamesa hopes to use Jubelirer and Obermayer's "influence" to sway political opinion in support of their plan to destroy Shaffer Mountain - a Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Site of Exceptional Significance.
Isn't it ironic that the man who claims to be responsible for the remodeling and redevelopment of Bedford Springs has been hired to help destroy the mountain ridges of Bedford county - ruining our natural vistas. Pay Raise Bob, who is going to want to come to a place where the ridge tops have been industrialized? Do you think the city folk who can afford to come to Bedford Springs will want to see this? Don't they come here to get away from the industrialization of the city?
Let Gamesa know how you feel about their attempts to destroy Shaffer Mountain. Call their Director of Development for the Atlantic Region, Ellen Lutz, at (215) 665-9810, ext. 304 and tell her yourself.
You can voice your opinion in person by attending the Public Hearing on August 28 at 6:00 PM at Shade High School in Central City. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection will be there to hear your comments on Gamesa's wishes to destroy the top of Shaffer Mountain. Please attend this most important meeting. You can also voice your opinions to your state representative, Dick Hess, at 814-623-9097 and State Senator, John Eichelberger at (814) 317-1753. Somerset County residents can call State Representatives Tom Yewcic (814) 536-8400, Bob Bastian (814) 443-4230, and Senators John Wozniak (814) 266-2277 and Richard A. Kasunic (814) 445-7675.
Budget sent to Houses for passage.
State Workers and their families spared.
The recent budget impasse was over Governor Rendell's insistence on yet another tax on electricity bills to pay off $850 million in bonds for production of alternate fuels. Much of this amount was to go to subsidize wind power development. Thank goodness enough of our legislators stood firm, the budget deadline passed, workers were furloughed one day, and then the Governor agreed to take the "Energy Tax" off the table. The Budget has gone to the Houses for passage.
The Governor has now called a special legislative session on the energy issue for September 17, although many legislators have stated firm opposition to the energy tax. It seems the "alternate energy by way of electricity subsidy" issue is now on the front burner.
Please contact your legislators (click here) and let them know that you oppose any tax on your electric bill to subsidize wind energy at least until specific siting criteria are established. Gamesa says wind energy will reduce your electric bill. Yet another untruth. Fact is that Rendell wants to increase your taxes to pay for Gamesa to destroy Shaffer Mountain - as well as much of the rest of little that remains of Pennsylvania's roadless ridgetop ecosystems. There are many places in Pennsylvania where wind plants can be built. Siting criteria are needed NOW or the anti wind storm that's brewing will become a hurricane.
Public comments available for review
Public comments were filed June 26,2007 with PA DEP opposing the issuance of a NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permit to Gamesa for this project. Here are the comments. They are supported by scientific opinions and clearly show the insurmountable problems with the siting of this project.
WE ARE ASKING DEP AND GOVERNOR RENDELL TO FOLLOW THE EXISTING SCIENCE AND ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS. IF THEY ARE FOLLOWED, THIS PROJECT WILL NOT BE PERMITTED.
DEP grants public hearing, states that streams and wetlands will not be impacted.
Political pressure mounts to push project through in ignorance of PA environmental regulations.
Here is the letter issued by DEP on June 26, 2007. Although DEP granted a public hearing on this project, they also stated that they will not require Gamesa to obtain stream and wetland disturbance permits. We are astonished. Although the Somerset Conservation District, on June 8, 2007, rejected Gamesa's permit application (click here to review deficiency letter) based, in part on the fact that Gamesa's plans failed to adequately delineate wetands and watercourses and limits of disturbance their new roads, etc. will cause, DEP claims that stream and wetland encroachment permits will NOT be required. HOW CAN DEP POSSIBLY TELL THIS WITHOUT KNOWING THE LOCATIONS OF ALL WETLANDS AND STREAMS AND THE EXACT LIMITS OF DISTURBANCE OF GAMESA'S CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITIES? Here is an expert's report on the Piney Run area. Read it. There is little question that Gamesa's wind plant will degrade and disturb Piney Run and wetlands in the project area. There is also little question that section 105 (stream disturbance) and Federal section 404 (wetland disturbance) permits should be required. Gamesa wants to avoid having to apply for 105 and 404 permits because they require in depth environmental assessments. This is one of the huge issues with this environmentally disastrous project. Is DEP trying to set the public up for DEP permit issuance without requiring 105 and 404 permits? Is DEP telling us that they will issue Gamesa a permit without requiring detailed plans from Gamesa? This is outrageous!! It is all political and IT STINKS.
Please contact your local state representative and senator at once. Let him know what is going on and that you are not going to stand for it. Direct him to this website to learn the facts. All we want is a fair shake. Click here for the contact info for your state rep and senator.
Another Water Authority Votes AGAINST Gamesa
Central City Water Authority votes AGAINST Gamesa's massive industrial wind plant in CCWA watershed. Last evening 6/27/07, the CCWA voted unanimously to oppose Gamesa's development plans. Several of the 404' tall wind turbines would be built within relatively close proximity to the CCWA well head and Berkibile spring and wetlands. There is a concern that such development could degrade the CCWA water supply.
CCWA joins the Windber Area Authority in opposing Gamesa's development. The WAA, on March 14, 2007 voted 5-1 to oppose construction of the wind plant in the WAA watershed. Windber Borough, Paint Township, Paint Borough and Scalp Level Borough have, likewise, all voted AGAINST the windplant. Trout Unlimited, SCRIP, Shade Creek Watershed Association and many other groups and organizations have expressed concern as well.
Gamesa tries to "sneak" turbines onto State Game land #228
In typical Gamesa fashion, it appears that, as part of their "precedent setting" project, Gamesa has tried to place a 404' tall industrial wind turbine, complete with clearcut and industrial road - ON STATE GAME LAND #228. Thankfully, the Game Commission is having none of it - yet. Here is the letter from the PGC - read for yourself.
IF YOU DO NOT WANT INDUSTRIALIZATION OF STATE GAME LANDS - SHOW UP TONIGHT AND VOICE YOUR OPINION BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE.
Lies you heard on June 20th
For those who attended Gamesa's meeting on June 20th here is a list of some of the lies and half truths you heard and the facts that relate to them. Especially interesting was the statement by Ellen Lutz of Gamesa that they do not use blasting on any of their projects. Well guess what - NOT TRUE. Here is a blasting permit for Gamesa's Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm. See for yourself.
What happened at Gamesa's meeting on June 20th
As predicted, Gamesa showed up at their meeting with a slew of "experts" who told everyone how wrong they are to be opposing Gamesa from destroying Shaffer Mountain. Gamesa's power point lasted 15 minutes - the same amount of time they would have had at Shade High School meeting where they refused to show. Then the questions and statements started which blew them out of the water. Of the 30 or so people who spoke - only one, a man who signed a lease with Gamesa, was in favor of the project. The discussion became extremely emotional at times and the police entered the meeting room to restore order at least once. When an irate citizen approached the Gamesa panel. Everyone was surprised at the total lack of support for Gamesa's project.
Citizens meeting a huge success!
227 attend Shaffer Mountain Citizens meeting - Gamesa a NO SHOW - Click here for full story.
Will PA DEP enforce environmental regulations for Gamesa's Shaffer Mountain Wind Project or is this a done deal?
Two bridges on Shaffer Mountain Road on the route that leads to the project sight are being replaced. They are being reinforced to increase the weight limit dramatically. These bridges were not in bad shape and easily accommodate the normal traffic in the area. Why would these bridges be reinforced unless the Shaffer Mountain Wind Project is wired for DEP approval in ignorance of state environmental regulations? The ugly political TRUTH is coming soon. Stay tuned.