Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Environmental Quality
Department of Environmental Quality
Small Renewable Wind Energy Projects Permit by Rule [9 VAC 15 ‑ 40]
Action Establishment of permit(s) by rule for the construction and operation of small wind energy projects
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ended on 8/20/2010
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8/20/10  11:42 am
Commenter: Richard M. Laska, Laska's Grove

Circumventing of established regulations

The proposed rule, as written, appears to cicumvent the requirements of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).  Under that Act, the Commonwealth of Virginia is legally obligated to conduct a formal review of any proposed project which may significantly impact any site on the National Register of Historic Places.  Such a review, quite obviously, requires that a site-by-site survey be conducted prior to issuance of a permit. 

Such a survey could be considered unnecessary for projects which have very little chance of intruding on the historic values protected under NHPA.  However, 400-foot-tall industrial wind turbines can intrude on the viewshed for 20 miles or more.  Hence, a dsiciplined survey and review of each and every such historic site within the viewshed is required prior to issuance of any permit.  An adequate survey would be, de facto, incompatible with the type of autonomic permit issuance system envisioned in the proposed rule.

If the proposed Rule does not include adequate procedures to abide by the State's legal obligations under NHPA, then the proposed rule is fatally flawed.

CommentID: 14359