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Borough voters voice their opinions on wind power development on Ice Mountain

Taking part in the survey Yesterday, registered voters in Tyrone Borough had the option of taking the non-binding windmill survey. Tyrone Councilperson Jennifer Bryan is shown overseeing a survey station, as an area resident casts her vote. (The Daily Herald/Kris Yaniello)

Yesterday’s Pennsylvania primary meant a little more to Tyrone Borough voters. After residents voted at the polls, an unbiased and impartial survey among registered voters within the borough was available for residents to check mark a “yes” or “no” answer to.
The survey addressed Gamesa Energy USA’s proposed 10 to 15 turbine wind farm on Ice Mountain, which is part of the proposed Sandy Ridge Wind Farm. A lot has been said about the project, from environmental and productivity concerns to monetary and noise issues.
There was a group of 30 young men and women from Tyrone Area High School who volunteered his and her time to watch over survey stations at all seven wards from 7 a.m. until noon. The students were from Mr. Todd Cammarata’s tenth grade civics class. Borough council members took over the stations after the students went back to school.
As borough voters exited the polling stations and commenced to the wind farm survey stations, some residents were very vocal with their opinions on the proposed wind turbine project.
Amy Elder of Tyrone voted “no” to the wind farm proposal. She wanted to voice her opinion because she felt that every voice counts. She said that if someone cares about something, then that person should speak their mind.
“If the majority of the people in Tyrone vote ‘yes’ for it, then oh well, that’s what council should do,” said Elder. “But if only 10 people say ‘yes’, then that speaks for itself.”
The results of the survey last night concluded that the majority of registered borough voters, by 55 percent, were supportive of Gamesa developing a wind farm on Ice Mountain.
Naomi Wertz, an 87-year-old registered borough voter opted to say “yes” on the survey for the wind farm proposal.
“It’s very different and I’m a nature lover,” explained Wertz. “I think it will be attractive to the kids. It’s a good thing.”
Mike Ellenberger, 29, a Tyrone native who lived in up-state New York for four years, said that windmills were a big issue where he lived, and he saw a lot of the windmills constructed in the area. He added that the wildlife was affected there due to the turbulence and noise of the wind turbines, and that Gamesa was one of the wind companies that were involved in the development.
Ellenberger voted “no” in the survey, stating his reason as “they really don’t attribute enough to the local economy and there’s not enough of a direct benefit to Tyrone.”
There were some residents who passed by the survey stations and were upset that they couldn’t take the survey. Some of the people weren’t registered voters, but they were borough taxpayers.
One such Tyrone resident had another difficulty with taking the survey – she was underage.
Lindsey Miller, 17, had recently become active in the PA National Guard and she will be turning 18-years-old next month. Miller’s knowledge and interest of Gamesa’s proposed wind farm wasn’t enough to partake in the survey, which disappointed her.
“I think they (borough council) should put up the wind farm, from what I think of them,” said Miller. “Yes, it will kill some of nature, but it will help a lot of nature – and it will give us money.”
The results of the survey are non-binding for Tyrone Borough Council, but council looks to use the results as yet another tool in making its decision on the proposed Gamesa wind turbine project on Ice Mountain.