State Supreme Court Clears Way For Wind Farm

September 14, 2007

The State Supreme Court cleared the way Friday for the development of Virginia's first utility grade wind farm in Highland County.

Neighboring landowners opposed the project, arguing that its 400-foot-tall turbines would ruin the scenery and endanger migratory birds. In their lawsuit, they claimed county officials failed to follow proper procedures in approving the project.

But the justices unanimously ruled that the lawsuit was improper because it only named the county, not the Board of Supervisors, as
a defendant. The court also tossed out a claim that a permit for the project was not in "substantial accord" with the county's comprehensive plan.

Proponents of the wind farm hail it as a source of clean energy that can help stem global warming and rising fuel prices. They also say the project could mean up to $325,000 a year in additional tax revenue for a 25,000-resident county that needs light industry.

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