Below is a copy of a Letter to the Editor that ran in this morning’s Roanoke Times by Coalition President, Jeremy Holmes. It is in response to an earlier Letter to the Editor that accused the groups who have come out in support of the proposed Poor Mountain wind farm of being “bought out” by the farm’s developer, though our coalition was not directly named. The publication of the letter has provided an opportunity for us to reaffirm our belief that renewable energy is an important part of the mix of technology and conservation efforts required to improve air quality and public health in the Roanoke Valley.
Coalition’s sole interest is valley’s air quality
As president of the Greater Roanoke Valley Asthma and Air Quality Coalition — a coalition of health professionals, air quality planners and environmentalists — I want to affirm that our coalition’s support of the proposed Poor Mountain wind farm is based entirely on our concern for the very real problems of air quality and related health impacts in the Roanoke region, and not on a relationship, financial or otherwise, with the farm’s developer, Invenergy LLC (“Turbines will harm people, environment” Nov. 1 letter).
In our Sept. 20 resolution, we laid out the basis for conditional support of the project: that coal-fired power plants contribute 50 percent of the fine particulate matter pollution in the valley, and indirectly but significantly to the region’s ground-level ozone, both of which have negative impacts on the lung and cardiovascular health of a broad swath of citizens. New ozone standards proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency suggest the region still has some progress to go in making our air healthier.
Wind energy is one of a number of technologies and efforts — including conservation, efficiency, reduction in vehicle miles traveled and others — that are important and necessary to improve air quality and public health.
JEREMY HOLMES, President Greater Roanoke Valley Asthma and Air Quality Coalition
The original letter, by Bent Mountain resident Kay Moore, can be found here.