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Reclaiming MTR sites for Alternate Power

Two West Virginia leaders who know a lot about energy and energy needs believe the state can use reclaimed mountaintop removing mining sites for other energy projects.

Both West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney and state Consumer Advocate Billy Jack Gregg think it would be a good idea to use the sites for things like wind farms and crops that contribute to alternate fuels.

Raney says, “You would have all of the energy there. It would be great and we are certainly looking around for the opportunities. You would have to go where the wind is blowing of course.”

Gregg says the problem with wind turbines is where to put them so a community will accept them. Gregg says maybe a reclaimed mountaintop removal site would be acceptable. “It would be nice to see the area after it was mined being put to productive use producing clean energy.”

Gregg says the siting of wind turbines will ultimately depend on how much wind blows in which particular area. He says not all areas are equal.

Raney says he hopes choices are made in reclamation to plant switchgrass, that can be used in developing alternative fuels and then build windmills on the same sites. “I think that can happen. You would have it right there. You’re doing biomass, you’re doing wind and the coal.”

Governor Joe Manchin made comments last week supporting using mountaintop removal sites as places to plant corn, soybeans and switchgrass.

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