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‘Save Ice Mountain Coalition’ hosting wind farm public forum

As borough council members are still pondering a possible 10 to 15 turbine wind farm proposed by Spanish-based wind energy developers Gamesa Energy USA on the borough’s watershed property located atop Ice Mountain, a locally formed coalition wants to inform area residents of the impacts of industrial wind farms on people, wildlife and the landscape.
The wind farm public forum will be Wednesday, March 26, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., in the auditorium at the Tyrone Area High School.
The “Save Ice Mountain Coalition” consists of the Juniata Valley Audubon Society, the Moshannon Group of the Sierra Club, the Little Juniata River Association, and Save Our Allegheny Ridges. Over 1,400 Tyrone-area residents who have signed a petition against Gamesa’s proposal to the borough are considered part of the coalition and are helping coordinate the upcoming forum.
At the March 26 public forum, four experts in energy production, windplants, ecology and bird migration will make half-hour presentations, each of which will be followed up by question and answer sessions from the audience.
There will be tables set up outside the auditorium, manned by Save Ice Mountain volunteers, who will have informational sheets, maps, data, research papers, and other items of interest for the public to view and take home.
Juniata Valley Audubon Society President Dr. Stan Kotala, who has been at the forefront of the opposition against the Sandy Ridge Wind Farm, said the forum will be open to all, and municipal officials from Blair and surrounding counties are encouraged to attend.
“This will be the first such forum in our area,” stated Kotala. “Local residents will learn about the effects that the proposed Sandy Ridge Wind Farm will have on their daily lives, such as decreased opportunities for recreation on Ice Mountain, increased noise and aesthetic degradation.”
He added, “As well as the effects on Ice Mountain’s natural heritage, such as forest fragmentation, disruption of migration for golden eagles, and direct mortality to birds and bats.”
The speakers for the forum include: Dan Boone, an energy expert from Maryland; Kim van Fleet, an ornithologist who is the Important Bird Area Coordinator for Audubon Pennsylvania; Laura Jackson, an environmental educator and founder of Save Our Allegheny Ridges; and Dr. Stan Kotala, president of the Juniata Valley Audubon Society.
Kotala believes that many residents in Tyrone do understand the negative impact a wind farm would have on Ice Mountain, stating that “1,400 people from the 16686 ZIP code have signed the petition opposing the windplant.”
If anyone is interested in helping set up and/or assist at information and handout tables for the March 26 Save Ice Mountain public forum, contact Dr. Stan Kotala at 946-8840, or email him at ccwiba@keyconn.net.
Refreshments will be served. Much more detailed information will be available in the coming weeks.