The lawsuit, filed last December by Virginians for Responsible Energy and 14 residents of Botetourt and Rockbridge counties, asserts that the DEQ permit should be vacated because the agency cut corners in a process that ignored the adverse impacts of building turbines more than 600 feet tall along a remote county ridgeline. Friday’s hearing did not address the merits of the case, instead focusing on several defenses raised by DEQ and Apex on procedural grounds.
Articles filed under Legal from Virginia
Since announcing plans for the wind farm in 2015, Apex Clean Energy has seen a number of setbacks. The most recent came last month, when county zoning administrator Drew Pearson determined that Apex had missed a May 26 deadline for county approval of a site plan. The Charlottesville company did not qualify for an exemption passed by the General Assembly for some projects that were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Pearson ruled.
Apex Clean Energy Inc. continues working toward a day when wind turbines standing atop Botetourt County’s North Mountain might generate enough energy to power up to 21,000 homes each year.
"This is huge. This is a tremendous victory for national parks and public lands," said Pamela Goddard, senior regional director for the NPCA's Mid-Atlantic region. "The court has found that if anyone wants to build a major infrastructure project, they must follow the law. So it's a victory for our parks and public lands."
In truth, it is hard to imagine a worse factual record, a worse example of wasting ratepayer money and imposing ratepayer risk. For $300 million or more the company will receive only 12 megawatts of power and with the assumed operational efficiency of the turbines that will work out to 78 cents per kilowatt hour. Then a hurricane may wreck it.
The road that could lead to Virginia’s first commercial wind farm passed through a Botetourt County courtroom Wednesday without hitting a speed bump. Circuit Judge Paul Sheridan dismissed a lawsuit filed by five county residents that, at the least, had threatened to slow down plans to build up to 25 giant turbines on top of North Mountain, where they could begin converting wind to electricity by the end of 2017.
Filed last week in Circuit Court, the lawsuit challenges an ordinance passed in June by the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors in anticipation of a company’s plans to build up to 25 turbines on a ridgeline north of Eagle Rock. (Botetourt County Circuit - Civil Division, Case # CL15000415-00)
A proposal by Sen. Tom Garrett, R-Louisa, to protect birds and bats from wind turbines passed a committee vote Thursday and was referred to the full Senate. "I want to make this abundantly clear — and I’ll speak really slowly — this bill is in no way, shape or form designed to be an anti-wind bill,” he said.