WAA votes against project
WAA is doing what it can to protect your drinking water... For now.
On March 14, 2007, the WAA voted AGAINST Gamesa's wind plant development in the WAA watershed. Their vote is being ignored by Gamesa and Berwind, who frantically press on with the project. On May 4, 2007, WAA Director Walter Drzal set forth, in a letter published by the Somerset Daily American, exactly what Gamesa did to get WAA's conditional approval. Click here to read Mr. Drzal's letter. In December 2006 Gamesa gave WAA only general skeleton information to review - only five pages of Gamesa's full 673+ page plan. Based upon this skeleton information, the WAA gave a conditional approval in January 2007. The full detailed 673+ page project plan was not received by WAA until it was given to the WAA Directors by a private citizen on March 14, 2007. The full 673+ page project plan showed the true massive scope of the project which had not been disclosed by the 5 pages of information Gamesa provided the WAA in December 2006. Feeling "blindsided" by Gamesa, the WAA voted against the project on March 14, 2007. Click here to read the information Gamesa gave WAA in December 2006 to get their conditional approval.
Even though the WAA Directors were given only very basic, partial information on the wind plant, the WAA solicitor was quoted in news articles as saying that their vote AGAINST the wind plant is "largely symbolic" and has no effect to prevent the development. He also claimed that under the WAA/Berwind "LAND USE AGREEMENT", the WAA cannot prevent development in the watershed but can only take one of two actions - either
- approve the development outright, or
- approve it with conditions.
THIS IS INCORRECT.
The Pittsburgh lawfirm Tucker/Arensberg has reviewed the "LAND USE AGREEMENT" and determined that the WAA can stop any development in the watershed that will materially degrade their water supply. The WAA is not limited to approving the development outright or approving it with conditions. Read the Tucker/Arensberg opinion for yourself.
This only makes sense since Berwind would surely never want to degrade or pollute the water supply for 10,000 people. Certainly this agreement does not intend such an absurd result. The WAA has the legal right to contest the project.
At the WAA meeting of 5/9/07, the Tucker/Arensberg letter was presented to the WAA Board and was discussed at length. The WAA solicitor then agreed that the WAA could stop the development and that they will have the opportunity to do so once they receive Gamesa's final plans for the project. Read what he said here. He also agreed that the conditional approval WAA gave for the project was not final approval. When the WAA receives Gamesa's final plans for the project they will determine if the development could materially degrade the watershed and will have the legal right to stop the project.
The WAA can and should take action to keep this development out of their watershed which provides the drinking water for 10,000 people. They will have the opportunity to do so once they receive Gamesa's "final plans".
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