Environmental group defends 20 MW Tuscan proposal

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Italian environmental association Legambiente has sided with local Tuscan government authorities in defence of the construction of a 20 MW wind plant in the hillside town of Scansano. Legambiente's backing places it against Italia Nostra, another Italian environmental association, that has gone to Tuscany's administrative court as it seeks to block the project. Italia Nostra frequently contests the construction of wind farms and says this particular project would damage an especially beautiful valley known for its red wines and housing an 11th century castle. Wine producers and other locals have also sought to halt the project, which is being constructed by Spain's Gamesa. They fear it could harm tourism and affect the microclimate for wine production. In supporting the project, Legambiente stresses the importance of wind power for reducing dependence on polluting energy like petroleum and coal. It argues that the installation wind turbines will not destroy the Scansano countryside since they are located in an area where there are already high-tension power lines of the same height. Gamesa has received all the necessary local government permits for the ten-turbine project. Construction is due to be completed in 2007.

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