The Greater Roanoke Valley Asthma and Air Quality Coalition (GRVAAQC) has passed a resolution in support of Invenergy LLC’s proposed 15-18 turbine wind farm on Poor Mountain in Roanoke County. The full text of the resolution can be found here.
In the resolution, the Coalition cites the very real problem of asthma and other respiratory diseases currently facing residents of the Roanoke Valley, particularly children and the elderly. Ozone and fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) have long been air quality challenges for the Roanoke Valley, prompting action such as the 2004 Ozone Early Action Plan undertaken by local governments to come into compliance with EPA 8-hour ozone standards. A 2008 study by the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission highlighted the growing problem of PM 2.5 pollution and the likelihood of more stringent regulatory action on the part of EPA.
Coal-fired power plants provide 88% of the electricity consumed in our region and directly contribute about 50% of the particle pollution in the Roanoke Valley, and indirectly but significantly contribute to ozone through the generation of Nitrous Oxides (NOx), a precursor pollutant. Both PM 2.5 and ozone can contribute to pulmonary disorders or exacerbate existing disorder, including the triggering of asthma attacks. The Coalition believes that any effort to offset the emissions of coal-fired power plants with cleaner, renewable energy sources such as wind power can reduce the demand for, and emissions from, electricity generated by coal that have a direct impact on human health. The proposed Poor Mountain wind farm is projected to provide enough electricity to power 8,000 Roanoke County homes and is an important first step in establishing a broad range of healthier, less polluting energy sources in the region.
The Coalition’s support for this project is contingent on the proposal meeting all other appropriate regulatory and environmental reviews, including those by the FAA, EPA, Virginia DEQ, and others as required by law.
The mission of the Greater Roanoke Valley Asthma and Air Quality Coalition is to improve air quality and respiratory health for the Greater Roanoke Valley through education and partnerships with other organizations with similar goals. Formed in March 2000, our coalition is comprised of members ranging from Valley respiratory health professionals to interested individuals including people with asthma, pulmonologists, nurse practitioners, respiratory care practitioners, registered nurses, allergists, representatives of the Virginia Asthma Coalition, Virginia Department of Health, Virginia Society of Respiratory Care, RIDE Solutions, American Lung Association, and environmental groups.