Twenty 400-foot turbines would be distributed on high-elevation pastures in the Laurel Fork watershed, one of the most remote, undisturbed, and ecologically unique areas in Virginia. Concerns about potential adverse effects of the project have been raised by a broad range of agencies and organizations.
Va. Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries:
“. . . the Highland Project has passage rate indices ranging from 36-80% greater than comparable sites. These data demonstrate the importance of this site as migratory pathway for bats and birds . . . . We believe this may translate into the highest mortality rates in the east.”
Additional concerns about impacts to natural and cultural resources have been raised by: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Virginia Division of Historic Resources, The Nature Conservancy, the Virginia Society of Ornithology, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Parks and Conservation Association, the Valley Conservation Council, Scenic Virginia, and others.
Highland County is known for its scenic beauty and unique habitat that supports a diverse animal population. From the outset of the SCC process, HNWD has tried to provide as little information as possible in an effort to manipulate and limit the review process. DEQ, DGIF and DCR have all stated that the information submitted by HNWD was not sufficient for them to determine the impact upon wildlife but that the information that was provided indicated that there is a likelihood of significant bat and bird mortality. – from Post-Hearing Brief, Highland Citizens, 01/19/07