Cohocton Wind Watch: August 2006
Cohocton Wind Watch is a community citizen organization dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life in Cohocton, NY and in surrounding townships. Neighbors committed to public service in order to achieve a reasonable vision for a Finger Lakes region worthy of future generations.

READ about the FIRST WIND Connection to the Obama Administration

Industrial Wind and the Wall Street Cap and Trade Fraud


Thursday, August 31, 2006

Senate Republicans give $1 million to fight power line project

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Republican state Senators are giving one (m) million dollars in taxpayer money to help several upstate counties battle a plan to run a 200-mile power transmission line across New York.

The money will help Oneida, Herkimer, Madison, Chenango, Broome,
Delaware, Ulster, Sullivan and Orange counties fight New York Regional Interconnect's plan to build the power line from Marcy to the lower Hudson Valley.

The Albany-based company says a new high-capacity line is needed to bring power from central and western New York to the New York City area.

But many residents and government leaders in communities along the possible route have come out against the plan, saying it will damage local economies and drive down property values.

G-O-P leaders in the Senate say the money to fight the project will come from discretionary funds that were included as part of this year's state budget.

Monday, August 28, 2006

WindFarm Prattsburgh EIS Response Group

August 26, 2006

WindFarm Prattsburgh EIS Response Group
Steuben County Industrial Development Agency
SCIDA, Route 54, Bath, NY 14810
(607) 776-3316


Thank you for sending me a copy of the EIS for the WindFarm Prattsburgh project. Below you will find my comments, which I believe you will find useful in your efforts to protect the rights of non-participating landowners who would be potentially negatively affected by the inappropriate siting of wind turbines. The focus of these comments is on setbacks. In my comments, I will at times also refer to the EIS Response submitted by Advocates for Prattsburgh, which provides relevant technical recommendations. Please do not hesitate to get in touch should you have any questions.


John G. Servo
11752 Black Lock Road
Naples/Prattsburgh, NY 14512
(585) 727-8819

Response to the WindFarm Prattsburgh EIS
The Setbacks Issue and Recommendations

Wind projects in the U.S. are predominantly located are very large tracts of land owned by single owners in the sparsely populated semi-arid West. Prattsburgh in Steuben County is far more densely populated then these Western sites. And while several large contiguous parcels of hundreds of acres with good wind profiles are located in the town (where these projects should be located), land ownership in Prattsburgh is predominantly in smaller parcels of insufficient size in themselves for windfarm development. For this reason, UPC and GWH want to place their turbines in between the homes and properties of non-participating landowners. For this reason, it is critical that appropriate and adequate setbacks from property lines be provided to non-participating landowners to protect their rights through adequately addressing the potentially significant negative impacts of:

· invasive industrial noise generated by the wind turbines,
· issues of health and safety,
· near-view viewshed concerns,
· property values,
· the freedom to build homes in the future on our properties where we want to build them, and
· the right to freely negotiate fair compensation, should a property owner decide to grant an easement of these adequate setbacks.

UPC and GWH imply in the EIS that their project will not be economically viable if run on a smaller scale. This is clearly untrue, as shown by the 20-turbine project in Fenner, the 14-turbine project proposed by UTC Atlantic Renewable in Springwater, and the 15-turbine projects proposed by Empire State Wind. Instead, this claim represents a poorly disguised effort by the developer to persuade the lead agent to grant them the inadequate setbacks they seek, with the implied threat that without the proposed 1200' setbacks from houses and 500' setbacks from property lines, the Project will not succeed. This should be dismissed by the lead agent out-of-hand. SCIDA should require that UPC/GWH provide "a harder look" - a more adequate and substantive assessment - of the setbacks which will be required in order to protect non-participating landowners.

Setbacks and compensation as two sides of the same coin.

· In the semi-arid West, wind turbines are placed on large dryland farms and ranches. Typically, 2000 acres (3.1 square miles) is required for these farms and ranches to be financially viable, and historically they are single-owner contiguous properties of 2-10 square miles.
· On these wind projects out West, the owner of the land representing the footprint for the tower/turbine - who is compensated - and the owner of the surrounding, potentially negatively-affected land are one and the same.
· However, in Prattsburgh - if UPC/GWH is allowed to implement the proposed clearly inadequate setbacks - the non-particpating landowners will not be compensated. Only the landowner immediately under the tower is compensated.
· Windfarm development in Upstate New York and Steuben County is being run like a shell game: get the public to look at the right hand (extravagant claims for alternative power), so they don't see what the left hand is doing - ripping off the non-participating landowners to dramatically increase the profitability of their projects.
· Those of us non-participating landowners who don't want wind turbines are highly concerned about securing adequate setbacks to address noise, health, safety, viewshed and property value issues. However, there is a strong additional reason which is often not discussed for providing adequate setback protection: the rights of those non-participating landowners who may elect to sacrifice some use-value and financial value - through allowing closer siting of wind turbines on adjoining properties - for the right price. Unfortunately, these landowners are denied the right to negotiate away these rights in exchange for freely negotiated fair compensation, and they are currently being told they deserve nothing, and that there are no problems. The issue is that the denial of fair and adequate setbacks is primarily an issue of avoiding payment.
· The developers could, with effort and higher expense, create de facto industrial parks for these windfarms based on a combination of direct ownership, leases, and granted/paid easements. A successful (though perhaps less outrageously profitable) project can be effectively accomplished within the framework of adequate setbacks for non-participating landowners. Advocates for Prattsburgh has shown SCIDA that it can be done, and how they can do it. However, not paying people is far more profitable than freely negotiated fair compensation. The lead agent should take the high ground and protect the rights of non-participating landowners through requiring that UPC/GWH more effectively address these critical issues.

The Noise Impact Assessment done by Hessler Associates, Inc. is highly flawed and the lead agent should require that a new assessment be conducted which more accurately reflects actual site conditions.

· The setbacks are based on computer modeling analysis alone, which employ strategies which lead to a self-serving assessment of low noise impact (see the EIS response from Advocates for Prattsburgh for specifics). The noise impact assessment should be based on noise studies at actual wind find farms using similar turbines, operating under similar conditions. This site exists, and nearby: the 20-tower Fenner wind project, which employs GE 1.5s turbines.
· For several years, GWH (and more recently, UPC) have emphasized to the public that the Fenner wind farm project as an example of a safe and beneficial project. This effort has included providing transportation for citizens wishing to visit the site.
· It is absolutely unconscionable that the developers and Hessler Associates did not conduct a detailed study of the Fenner site in its assessment, especially considering the problems which this study would readily reveal. (Please see the accompanying letters from two non-participating homeowners in Fenner - Pastor Kathleen Danley and Pam Foringer - indicating persistent and very disturbing nosie problems. Pastor Danley's home is approximately 2000' from the nearest tower.)
· In addition, when I visited Fenner last Summer on an otherwise clear and sunny day, my experience was highly disturbing. Standing on Milestrip Road at a 2300' distance and about 80' in elevation downhill from the nearest wind turbine, the low frequency noise from these industrial machines was incessant was clearly audible and unpleasant. If similar machines were placed 2300' from my home, I would be driven indoors to escape the noise. Worse still, the attractiveness of my property (should I decide to sell in order to escape the noise) would be severely damaged, if I could sell it at all.
· The lead agent should protect the citizens of Prattsburgh and require UPC and GWH to conduct credible noise studies at the Fenner wind farm before approving the EIS.
o These noise studies should be of sufficient duration to track changes in atmospheric conditions affecting noise propagation and should be conducted at different times during the year.
o These noise studies should also be conducted at different locations reflecting the highly varied topographical relationship of the proposed turbines and the properties of non-participating landowners. Of special concern are locations on slopes and in valleys below these turbines.
o Computer modeling should be restricted to the applications where it can enhance accuracy of actual noise readings at the Fenner site, rather than their current role in creating self-serving projections. For example, the potential greater noise propagation distance for taller towers and the higher initial noise level of the 2.0MW Gemesa Eolica G87 turbines can be factored in the provide even greater setbacks from property lines of non-participating landowners.
o The claim by the developers (though Hessler and Associates) that it is appropriate to use mean daytime noise levels is highly self-serving and should be thrown out. At issue is the noise these turbines make at their worst, not on average, and the lead agent should insist on setbacks which adequately mitigate this to near inaudibility. At sites where background noise levels are shown to be lower at night, these nighttime reading should be applied toward a worst-case noise model.

· It is astonishing the UPC and GWH have the boldness to claim that "sensitive receptors" should only refer to houses. Sensitive receptors should refer to people. We are the ones who will actually hear this noise, and we should not be driven into our homes in order to escape it. Non-participating landowners should have the right to enjoy (the term stated on their deeds) all of their property free from the unnecessary and unwarranted intrusion of noise.
· The "pro-noise" ordinances of 50dBA (mentioned by Hessler Associates) enacted by some towns should be an embarrassment to any elected official who has accepted the public's trust. Background noise levels for significant periods in the 28-35 dBA are quite common in similar regions. The initially-recommended conservative guidelines provided in October 2004 by NY DEC of no greater than 6dBA above background noise levels at property lines should be followed. SCIDA has this document on file (provided upon request).

UPC/GWH should study the problems at actual working wind farms and the implications of these problems for determining adequate setbacks.
· On page 153, the EIS claims that "data gathered at existing wind farms documented ice fragments from 50' to 328' from the base of the tower". Not addressed is that ice fragments (especially smaller ones) melt quickly, and it is the smaller projectiles (with the potential for traveling significant distances) which are the concern of non-participating landowners.
· Far more astonishing, however, is the willingness of UPC and GWH to use data from operating wind farms only when it suits them. This is unacceptable. What is good for the goose should be good for the gander.
· The lead agent should require that conduct substantive noise studies and interviews to assess the incidence of shadow flicker and other complaints at the Upstate wind farms utilizing virtually identical machines - such as the Fenner wind farm, which employs GE 1.5s turbines.

Ice throw. Please see the comments and recommendations provided by the Advocates for Prattsburgh EIS Response regarding calculating appropriate setbacks - at least 1500' - to protect against ice throw. The lead agent should require UPC/GWH to take a hard look at these issues and provide setbacks which adequately protect citizens.
· Characteristically, a study presenting data which contradicts its own recommendations is considered sloppy engineering. The EIS does this. The 500' property line setback requested by UPC and GWH is contradicted by the for ice throw in the European safety threshold of 660' to 820' quoted on page 157. The issue is UPC/GWH's claim that the falling ice, which they apparently acknowledge would fall on the properties of non-participating landowners, would not be "of significant size". In addition, as "mitigation" they would then "contact local landowners and snowmobile clubs, and inform them of the potential risks posed by falling ice in the vicinity of wind turbines." This is breathtakingly self-serving. The issue is not to warn non-participating landowners, but to protect them with adequate setbacks.

Tower collapse/ blade throw. Tower collapse and blade throw are highly serious potential threats to health and safety posed by these colossal industrial machines. The lead agent should require UPC/GWH to give a hard look at offering non-participating landowners adequate setback protection from these hazards.
· The EIS states that "the risk of catastrophic tower collapse or blade failure is minimal" (pg. 158) and offers no substantive mitigation. The clear implication is that UPC/GWC believes this problem does not need to be addressed. This is equivalent to stating that, as catastrophic fires in music clubs seldom happen (statistically speaking), there is no need for fire codes for these facilities. However, even a cursory study of the wind industry indicates multiple instances of tower collapse and blade failure within the past year. For this reason, this clearly needs to be addressed through setbacks.
· And on page 161, the EIS states that "even a worst case failure would not endanger adjacent properties, roadways…". This is clearly not the case, as an analysis of the physics of these machines indicates that blade throw can be 1000', and an instance of blade tip throw of 1300' was reported in the U.K. (Calculations and data provided upon request, and please see the response from Advocates for Prattsburgh). In order to provide adequate protection for citizens, the lead agent should require that wind turbines be sufficiently set back from property lines to protect against both calculated and demonstrated worst case scenarios.

Viewshed. The EIS acknowledges the overwhelming near-view visual dominance posed by these 400' industrial machines, but offers no setbacks or mitigation to address this whatsoever.
· On page 187 in the EIS, the assessment done by EDR (the contractor hired by UPC/GWH to assess viewshed) states that "the presence of the turbines will result in a change in the perceived land use from some viewpoint, and the turbines will contrast with the landscape (to varying degrees) where visible."
· On page 106, the EDR states "The greatest impact typically occurs when the turbines are close to the viewer (i.e. less than 0.5 miles), which heightens the projects contrast with the landscape in color, line, texture, form and especially scale. In such views, the turbines become focal points, and begin to alter the perceived use of the land."
· And on page 107, EDR states that the "high concentration of red lights flashing in unison will be discordant with the current dark nighttime conditions."
· The implication (by omission) is that 'there is a problem, but nothing can be done about it, so you are just going to have to live with it, as the lead agent will let us put in our project on our terms.' This conveys a profound disrespect and lack of concern for the rights of pre-existing non-participating landowners and their right to enjoy their property.
· On numerous occasions, Jim Sherron of SCIDA has stated his opinion that viewshed issues "can't be mitigated". This is clearly true for visibility at considerable distances, as these turbines are potentially visible up to 20 miles away. However, viewshed mitigation can be offered while still maintaining the health of the project.
· For example, for instances where the turbines are within 5 miles of locations/entities dependent upon tourism - and when these entities state a concern regarding the potential negative impact posed by the high visibility of these turbines - the only mitigation is to not sites theses towers where they will be visible. While this critical issue does not appear to be a concern for Phase I of the UPC/GWH project, this may need to be addressed in future phases of the project.
· However, an effort can and should be made to address the impact posed by these colossal industrial machines on near-view locations. EDR clearly states that the potential greatest negative impacts (as quoted above) occur when turbines are within one-half mile. For this reason, the setback to mitigate this overwhelming visual dominance for non-participating landowners should be at least 2640' from property lines, which corresponds to EDR's one-half mile. Clearly, an effort to protect citizens from near-view viewshed threats can be made. SCIDA should require that UPC/GWH address the implications of its own study and provide significant setbacks to address viewshed concerns.

Viewshed and property values. ·
A number of prominent local realtors have indicated that viewshed concerns have already had a negative impact on the purchase behavior of potential buyers. They have also stated that siting turbines where they will be visible from the properties of non-participating would have a negative impact on the potential value of these properties, with the negative impact greater the closer these turbines are sited. (SCIDA has these letters already on file, and they can be provided again upon request.)
· The lead agent should require that the developer provide a property value guarantee during the first 5 years of the project for each property within 5 miles from a visible tower. The comparative valuations should be based upon comparable properties from which the Project's turbines are not visible. This 5 mile Zone of Visual Impact would not be a true setback. Nonetheless, it would represent a zone of acknowledged responsibility to provide mitigation - where warranted - against the potential negative impact posed by the specific siting of their turbines.

Shadow flicker.
To effectively mitigate shadow flicker (and other assessments of potential threats and hazards), the definition of "receptors" should be people rather than buildings. This follows the incontrovertible logic that people are potentially negatively affected by shadow flicker, rather than inanimate objects. The lead agent should require that UPC/GWH site its towers at a distance where the shadow flicker effect will not be visible from the property lines of non-participating landowners.
· The assessment offered by EDR states that "at distances greater than 1000' between wind turbines and receptors, shadow flicker generally occurs only near sunrise and sunset…" (page 110). By implication, EDR is stating that shadow flicker is a common occurrence within 1000'. Non-participating property owners should have the right - which they already have now, pre-Project - to walk (and potentially enjoy) their properties. For this reason alone, the setback from property lines should be at least 1000' to protect these property owners from high-incidence near-view shadow flicker affects (please see Pam Foringer's attached letter).
· EDR also states that the model they employed "assumes shadows will be of sufficient intensity to cause flicker at a distance of 1.5 km (0.9 miles)", but that this distance is "more likely to be on the order of 2900'". EDR then goes on to state that the frequency of occurrence is not sufficient to require any mitigation whatsoever. That the developer supports this assessment conveys an extraordinary hubris and lack of respect for the rights of non-participating landowners. Evidently, UPC/GWH makes two key assumptions:
o They, not the potentially negatively affected landowners, have the right to determine the "acceptable" level of negative impact which non-participating landowners should suffer at their hands.
o They are confident that the lead agent will rubber stamp their claim to trump the rights of these pre-existing landowners. However, if the lead agent accepts that their responsibilities extend beyond the interest of the developers to encompass the interests of the non-participating landowners, this assumption is mistaken.
· It is easy (and potentially highly self-serving) for a developer to claim this is just 'no problem' with shadow flicker. However, two "real life" factors indicate that this problem is pervasive.
o EDR acknowledges a shadow effect up to 4750' away (0.9 miles) - not just 2900' - it is fair to assume that this visual disturbance is a dominant effect.
o The "receptors" should be people enjoying their property, and in rural Prattsburgh where owners of hill property acres of land, this most often means outdoors, not just within their houses. Standards appropriate for urban dwellers driven indoors do not apply.
o SCIDA should address this problem and require that UPC/GWH address both
§ high-incidence near-view shadow flick effects and
§ study the actual impact of shadow flicker experienced by property owners at representative Upstate wind farms.

Wind rights.
The lead agent should require UPC and GWH to give a hard look at protecting the wind rights of non-participating landowners downwind from proposed tower sites. These non-participating landowners should be able retain the right to maintain their option to chose to have a developer place wind towers on their properties at a future date.
· In order to retain this right, the viability of the wind resource on their properties must not be damaged. Wind turbines create a wake 8 to 11 rotor diameters downwind, and this turbulence effectively damages the viability of the land within this wake as viable wind turbine sites. 8 to 11 rotor diameters represents a distance of 2021" to 2779' for a GE 1.5 sle turbine (77m rotor) and 2283' to 3140' for a Gemesa Eolica G87 turbine (87m rotor).
· The rights to this above-ground wind resource should be considered as significant as sub-surface rights for natural gas resources. The non-participating owners of properties downwind from these turbines within this range (as little as 2021' and as much as 3140') are potentially subject to having their wind rights seized without compensation.
· SCIDA should require that UPC and GWH freely negotiate fair compensation for the wind rights of non-participating landowners or require that these turbines be sited 11 rotor diameters from the property lines of non-participating landowners.

Future use of property for home building.
· Non-participating landowners should retain the right for the future use of our property for home building, which will require that the maximum setbacks be from property lines. This will allow the pre-existing non-participating property owner the flexibility to site his home at the optimal location on his property. The most appropriate site fro a new home or cabin is often by a road or at the edge of a field, which may be across from a proposed tower site.
· Placing more distant setbacks only from pre-existing houses effectively precludes sane property owners from placing future home sites near these boundaries. This - and all other inadequate setbacks - represent a "taking" of value from the non-participating landowner without compensation. The lead agent should make every to protect non-participating landowners from these potential thefts of value.

Wind turbines should not be placed along prominent traffic corridors where their distraction can pose a threat to safe driving, and therefore a threat to traffic safety. Scida should require that the potential negative impact of traffic safety resulting from the placement of turbines along Route 53 be given a much harder look.

The lead agent needs to require that the developer provide adequate protections to non-participating landowners. Placing wind turbines too close to property lines would subject non-participating landowners to

· turbine-generated industrial noise,
· potential threats to health and safety,
· threats to the value and future usefulness of their properties, and
· the overwhelming visual dominance of these 400' machines with flashing red lights 24 hours/day.

All of these problems can be successfully addressed through providing adequate setbacks from property lines, with the maximum setback distance determined by the distance required to effectively address worst-case scenario threats. This can be accomplished by having all the potentially negatively affected property be within a controlled space. Through a combination of direct ownership by the project, leases, and granted easements, these vast industrial machines can effectively be placed within an industrial park. SCIDA should require that the developer to take a much harder look at each of these serious concerns. SCIDA should also require that UPC and GWH provide a project plan which includes setbacks which more effectively address all of the potential threats posed by siting their turbines close to the property lines of non-participating landowners.

The Wind Turbine Debate

Dear U.S. News Editor:

Regarding the article titled "Ill Winds Blowing" in the August 7 issue, there is more to the objection to industrial wind turbines than problems with the FAA and Defense Department. Here in Perry, a small town in Western NY, we are being overrun by wind turbine companies who push government subsidized economics and scare tactic ecology that just does not stand up to careful examination.

Imagine a 410' tower (the size of a 40 story building) with three 160' blades rotating at almost 200 mph that sounds like a loud washing machine planted in your "front yard" for somewhere between 20 and 40 years into the future. Now imagine 60 of these machines within a few square miles of relatively heavily populated pristine dairy country in the eastern migratory flyway of the US. This is what we are facing here throughout Western NY State.

Imagine an industry that cannot produce cost competitive electric power without huge state and federal government subsidies, producing tax-sheltered profits in the tens of millions of dollars for Wall Street giants like Goldman Sachs. This is money that the American public will pay out of their pockets for wind energy, through a program that amounts to a huge system of transfer payments- transferred from our pockets to theirs with government endorsement.

Imagine the well-meaning public whipped up by a continual bombardment through the media about a "global warming catastrophe" that has yet to be directly linked to human activity. A challenge to almost anyone on this point usually brings the response that "we have to do something" to improve the environment and cut our dependence on foreign oil (even if its wrong).

Imagine ignoring these facts:

1. 30% = the average wind turbine efficiency in this region, compared to about 85-95% for traditional power production methods
2. 0 = the number of coal fired power plants that will be shutdown due to wind turbine energy production
3. 0 = the amount of imported oil that will be reduced because of wind turbine production
4. 0 = the amount of electrical power that we will get in our town as a result of wind turbines
5. $69 per year = the estimated income per household in our town due to payments in lieu of taxes from the wind companies (this amount can be cut from homeowners' electric bills by replacing 3 incandescent light bulbs with fluorescents)

If you can imagine all this you may begin to envision the mess we are facing here. Wind power is not the magic bullet many hope will slay the energy dragon, and the problems created by these projects will be paid for by tax payers not just for decades into the future, but for generations.

Where are energy conservation programs that our governments should be promoting? Where are the programs to clean up our coal-fired plants to reduce greenhouse gases? Where are programs to construct nuclear plants that have almost no emissions? Where are programs to encourage small, safe wind turbine development for residential and industrial applications? Where is the thinking needed to reverse the US power grid from centralized production to decentralized production?

Warren Rudman said "The American people have the right to be wrong". Or if one wishes to feel better in the midst of increasing fear about energy problems, here are the words of an educated man who told me recently that "he just feels better seeing wind turbines, because they are clean".


Richard Barth
62 Covington Street
Perry, NY 14530

Sunday, August 27, 2006

WIND FARM DEBATE HAS WIDE REACH by Dan Shapley (Gannett News Service)

Gannett News Service

The wind energy company that has proposed building wind turbines in rural Herkimer County is relying heavily on support from communities in the Lower Hudson Valley for funding.

Community Energy convinced many downstate towns, businesses and individuals to subsidize electricity produced from what would be its first wind farm in New York. The Jordanville Wind Project would have as many as 75 wind turbines on private land that would generate enough power for as many as 60,000 homes.

People paying extra for wind power are supplying some of the capital for the project, which has stirred up controversy reaching all the way to the Hudson Valley.

In 2003 and 2004, the company sold, at a premium, the 30 megawatts of energy produced by 20 wind turbines standing on farms in the Madison County town of Fenner. That wind farm is owned by the Italian energy company, Enel. Community Energy's promise to local buyers at the time was that their money would go toward the building of new wind turbines.

To that end, the new wind farm is funded "in part" by the Hudson Valley's energy purchases, company spokesman Paul Copleman said.

"Community Energy's model has always linked our renewable energy sales to the development of new wind farms," he said.

The Pennsylvania-based Community Energy was purchased in May by Iberdrola, Spain's largest energy company. The purchase won't change Community Energy's strategy, Copleman said, but it will give the company access to more capital as it aims to build wind farms across the country.

In recent years, it has built facilities in Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, but the Herkimer County wind farm would be the company's largest.

Leases on farmland where wind turbines are built would help keep farmers afloat, while producing energy without air pollution. But there is concern about noise and the alteration of scenery, particularly pastoral and historic landscapes. Some also are concerned blasting and chemicals that may be used to suppress dust on access roads could taint water.

Officials in the towns of Stark and Warren are reviewing a draft environmental impact statement prepared by Community Energy. Hearings were held during the summer.

The Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, based in Poughkeepsie, purchases power marketed by Community Energy from the Fenner farm. Its policy is to support wind turbines, if sited as well as possible, even if they have some negative environmental impacts. To generate electricity without generating pollution that causes acid rain, lung illnesses and global warming is worth some compromise, Environmental Director Manna Jo Greene said.

"Historic resources and viewsheds are extremely important, but unless we're willing to stop using electricity, we can't keep generating it by unsafe nuclear power and unsafe fossil fuels," Greene said.

Clearwater gave what Greene described as "conditional" support for the Jordanville Wind Project. Hundreds of members then wrote in support of it.

Clearwater learned of it from a member who knows one of the landowners that will be paid to rent turbine space, Greene said, adding Clearwater will study the environmental impacts more thoroughly.

Clearwater's endorsement drew the ire of Robert Boyle, who lives near Cooperstown, and other opponents.

Boyle was a founding member of the Hudson River Fisherman's Association, which became the environmental group Riverkeeper. He was a prominent voice in the successful fight to prevent the construction of a hydroelectric-pumped storage power plant on Storm King Mountain. That historic battle lasted decades and was waged largely because opponents didn't want to see the view of the mountain diminished.

Boyle is vehemently opposed to the Jordanville proposal, and has called on Clearwater to "repudiate" an endorsement he said was based on weak research.

"This enormous project, seven miles long and 3.5-miles wide, about half the size of Manhattan Island, threatens to obliterate sensitive headwater streams and wetlands affecting both the Susquehanna and Mohawk Rivers, as well as degrading local groundwater supplies," Boyle wrote to Clearwater, "to say nothing of other adverse impacts."

Golisano back in the game: Company to develop community-based wind development by ANDY THOMPSON and MICHELLE KING

HARTSVILLE - Billionaire Tom Golisano is back in the wind game.

Steve Dombert - a frequent critic of the planned Airtricity development - Friday said Golisano has formed a new company and hired an engineer to develop community-based wind farms.

“We're going to rejoin the battle,” Dombert said of the formation of Empire State Wind Energy.

Golisano first joined the wind debate while exploring a run for New York governor, then became involved with a community-based wind farm project in Perry. He also visited Hartsville and had considered lending his considerable financial support to development of a wind farm there.

Golisano's lead man on the project, Ed Rechberger, however, withdrew for personal reasons and the project stalled.

That is, until Friday.

Dombert said Empire State Wind Energy will focus on small projects, and the main focus will be plowing revenue back into the communities in which they are based.

“The idea is to turn the proceeds over to the town,” said Dombert, who said Hartsville will be just one of several areas explored by Empire State Wind Energy.

According to the organization's Web site, the newly formed wind company aims to benefit all community stockholders, including paying for “up-front” development expenses, trying to avoid payment in lieu of taxes agreements, and participating in whole and retail energy markets.

In addition, Golisano, who is the chairman of Empire State Wind Energy, has become a key figure in the wind effort to help alleviate reliance on fossil fuels, as well as helping communities have more control on the issue.

Councilman George Prior is skeptical the Golisano plan is likely to proceed. An Irish company, Airtricity, also is looking at constructing turbines the town. The company already has contracts with landowners for turbine sites, and Prior said construction could start by summer 2007.

“We're going down the road with the PILOT program and pretty far down the road,” he said. “We've never seen enough about Golisano or the community plan. We asked but it never came forward, so its hard to tell.

“Even if it were alive, I don't see how you can go back to that at this point,” Prior added.

Dombert, however, is supportive of the wind group.

“I'm interested in seeing competent and better ideas than are going on here,” he said.

Keith Pitman, chief executive officer and president of Empire State Wind Energy, did not return phone calls for comment.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Cohocton Wind Watch Informational Meeting - Naples Hotel Dining Room Monday August 28, 2006

Due to strong demand the CWW Informational Meeting will be held in the Naples Hotel -"Main Dining Room"

Impact on Naples and Canandaigua Lake Region
from the Cohocton and Prattsburgh
Industrial Wind Turbines projects

Community Involvement Needed
protect your property values,
tourism economy and
quality environment
(585) 534-5581

Friday, August 25, 2006


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Noise Analysis of UPC Wind's Wind Farm Prattsbugh DEIS by Rick Bolton

Electric Power Transmission Lines

When Sheldon Hansel first started the fight to keep Marcy South out of his backyard. Hay and cattle were the only things grown or raised on his farm. Today, towers sprout up across his property.

(click on link to view video)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Steuben County Industrial Development Agency

Windmill Projects Update

Mr. Sherron distributed a handout showing the progress of the various windmill projects in the County. He stated they have put together a proposed PILOT for all of these projects. Hopefully following that, we will be going forward with getting compliance from the towns. We don’t want to move forward unless the towns sponsor these projects. The PILOT is $5,300 per rated mega watt. There would be a 4 percent increase per year, escalator fee. In year 2020, the rate would be $9,300 per mega watt. In addition, we are looking at providing up front relief for development. They do get a sales tax break through a letter of agency, which is a lease, lease back. There will be a $1.2 million investment if these projects go forward.

Mr. Sherron commented West Union, Greenwood, Jasper and Troupsburg are areas that are considered good wind resources. We are working with Bell Independent Power on a bio-mass fuel project. This is a 30 mega watt producing facility and we are the lead agency. There is a brokered agreement and this could go to the Avoca Gas Project area. The facility would use wood chips. They would work with the forestry industry to cull trees, and work with loggers to take the tree tops and grind them. This will be a clean burning operation. We are seeing more conversions to ethanol, butanol, bio diesel, etc. We are keeping all of our options open. If these operations become a reality, the hope is to provide a location in the Avoca Gas Project area.

Wind Power Density in New York State

Cohocton Councilman Wayne Hunt letter to Attorney David Miller


August 18, 2006

David P. Miller, Esq.
111 North Main Street
Naples, NY 14512

Re: Your letter to Hon. Jack Zigenfus

Dear Sir:

I enclose a copy page that includes 3 caricatures that appeared in The Valley News, one of which you refer to in your letter, dated August 14, 2006. Please note that the other 2 appeared on 2 successive weeks before mine did.

I also point out to you that Mr. Hall had invited me to contact Empire State Wind Energy, LLC to explore an alternative to UPCs wind proposal. I made 2 separate calls to this agency. He further invited me to call him to arrange a meeting with him, if I were interested in his proposition. I am sure that he and I would be fast friends today had I made that call.

My reply to him and his subversive scheme and to you and your suggestion that I am unfit to represent my constituents in wind power decisions can be summed up in the reply that a famous hero in American history used when asked to surrender his position to his adversary; NUTS!

Sincerely yours,
In Good Local Government
Wayne R. Hunt

Encl: 1
cc: Jim Hall
Jack Zigenfus

David Miller letter to Town of Cohocton regarding Councilman Wayne Hunt

NEW YORK 14512

August 14, 2006

The Hon. Jack Zigenfus Supervisor,
Town of Cohocton
15 S. Main St.
Cohocton, NY 14826

Re: Town Councilman Wayne Hunt Dear Supervisor Zigenfus:

I am again writing to you on behalf of my clients, James Hall, and Cohocton Windwatch.

We are concerned about Councilman Hunt's ability to view and deliberate objectively upon any aspect of wind farm proposals and iocai iaws which the Town Board may be called upon to consider.

As you know, Mr. Hunt is active in a local organization called YES! Wind Power for Cohocton which viqofousiy supports the wind miii farm proposal submitted to the Town by UPC.

Mr. Hunt, individually and on behalf of YES! has taken out a number of ads in The Valiev News stating his points of view. The last ad, in the July 25, 2006 edition even contained a caricature of those who would oppose UPC's current proposal in a manner which is demeaning and offensive to my clients. To have authored such an ad is beneath the dignity of an elected official.

We have read many of these ads, and whiie Mr. Hunt certainly has a riqht to hold and express his opinions, the totality of these ads reflects very clearly a representative who has iost aii objectivity - one who seems bound and determined to consider UPC's proposal and no others. One who is bound to support the UPC - approved Wind Turbine Law that is now on the Town Board's desk, with no regard for reasonable alternatives that might benefit the Town as a whole.

In short, Mr. Hunt is now obviously incapable of exercising the reasoned, dispassionate judgment required of him by all of his constituents, and we therefore request that Mr. Hunt recuse himself from further votes on any matter having to do with the construction of wind turbines in the Town of Cohocton.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


David Miller

Prattsburgh UPC DEIS response by Brad and Linda-Strauss Jones

Monday, August 21, 2006

Don Sandford letter to Cohocton Supervisor Jack Zigenfus

August 21, 2006

Town of Cohocton
Supervisor J. Zigenfus


Reference is made to the letter I sent you dated Aug 4/06 asking for a one-on-one talk concerning the proposed industrial wind turbines which has not happen as of today’s date. I wasn’t surprised you did not contact me, but wanted to believe you when you said that you were open to talking with Cohocton voters, for you had, on July 25, 2006 stated in an open letter on page 11 of “The Valley News”, (side by-side coincidently, with your fellow board member, Mr. Wayne Hunt’s “Chicken Little saga” and his apparent cartoon self portrait), said in part: quote.. “First of all I want to say is that I am willing to listen to every resident’s issues or concerns. I have always prided myself in open and honest government for the last 5 years I have been the supervisor”. Although that looked good on paper, it is only creditable if previous actions had reinforced those words by at least acknowledging the concerned correspondence sent to you by various people from the beginning, which could have been done by a simple phone call or e-mail. You and the boards chosen indifference and secrecy, stifled legitimate debate deliberately in my opinion, created and contributed to much of the unnecessary bitter confrontation existing now at board meetings and in print, which could have been largely avoided and is most unfortunate. I expected so much more from a former lawman and all the title depicts, with “justice for all” being a cornerstone of your resume. Mr. Hunt’s flippant comment at a planning board meeting recently describing the industrial turbines as being “An elephant in your living room”, referring to the people most adversely effected, but I doubt if it will directly effect you both living in Atlanta. But this is what the present and future homeowners living in the impact hill areas, with major financial and emotional investments in home and property of years & dreams in the making, know they possibly have waiting for them on a daily basis in the future.

WHY this particular “industrial wind turbine elephant” has to be here and what it could sadly and permanently do is the exactly the reason why you should be welcoming questions and finding out now as much information as possible now before proceeding. It seems no matter how many legitimate and sincere the concerns, objections or suggestions have been by many, many people, the outcome was the same, comments not being properly addressed or largely ignored by you and the boards, certainly not the open and honest government you claim. The uncertainty for people living day by day near areas of the proposed turbines with all the unanswered questions pending aren’t important if they clash with the UPC program going forward, for that in the end is where, I suspect your real priority lies with your continued support for UPC. In doing so, you are saying to the very people most effected by this reality, and whom you represent, you are all expendable to make the proposed project a success. You and the town board do not have my confidence at all at this point of being able to reach an intelligent, fair decision and especially knowing now the background of several board members with UPC. I looked to you from the beginning for good, sound and honest government with unbiased information, confident you would explain and frame the debate intelligently, to be open and impartial but sadly I was proven wrong.

If bad law is written by this board, I’m confident a legal challenge will be forthcoming. History will show that Mr. Hall, Strassberg ll and Trude and others, not the town or planning boards or town supervisor were the true leaders of the industrial turbine debate, shedding a bright light on important unknown facts exposing them one after another for all to see, but falling on the closed eyes and deaf ears of board members and the town supervisor time after time without explanation (Mr. Hunt, your statements at the last board meeting that YOU are perhaps the unquestionable authority on wind power and had done more to learn and know about wind power than anyone in the room only shows your arrogance on the issues involved. I feel very sorry for you if you actually believe your ridiculous statement.) The lack of timely public disclosure, comments and secrecy for industrial wind turbines reflects the true meaning of the silence shown, which is “unusually loud, clear” and unacceptable. The discussion still requires and deserves so much more.

As I wrote in my August 4th letter to you, after you making the comment that the emotional comparison was a similar reaction with people during the school merger debate in 1992 and the commercial wind turbine debate now I couldn’t disagree with you more. Being our “leaders”, why aren’t you presenting the truth and facts to the public? It’s either you won’t or cannot. In vivid contrast, in the school debate, we had extensive interaction by our public & non-public officials alike, encouraging us to ask questions and in return got direct & truthful answers and after due process all qualified voters, if they so chose too, voted, and not the school board, they determined their fate, but not now with town board members, with direct UPC connections, deciding the outcome. Also then, there was no extreme quality of life issues advanced or property devaluation taking place but a benefit that most, if not all taxpayers had, with lower taxes and arguably a better school system with continued home security. I’m sorry, but where is this emotional & financial comparison under your leadership taking place? In fact the opposite is happening.

More time is needed for logical and sensible thought to prevail and a moratorium is needed now more than ever. I have called Cohocton my home for many years. What you do in intelligent leadership decisions concerning introduction of industrial wind turbines will shortly be your responsibility and legacy as well. Chose wisely, as judgment decisions you make will have to be defended in the future, decisions that can could either damage greatly the Cohocton we all know or provide continued security & pride for ALL property & home owners you represent. We all chose to live in the Town Cohocton, not the Town of UPC, which after all is an unknown LLC (limited liability co.) and business venture and its only real interest is their own bottom line and in return offering the town nothing but shameful value in terms of real dollars, a bad business deal with no guarantees, devaluation of property impacted by turbines, adverse quality of life issues, friendships damaged or destroyed and the disfigurement of a irreplaceable landscape for decades to come and all for a spit in the ocean of undependable electricity going somewhere else at our expense. Quite a sickening legacy for any town board to want to identify with and endorse wouldn’t you say? But for UPC, it is just business as usual and on to the next unsuspecting town board with it’s “rosy” sales pitch. Think about it!
But…. Congratulations to the Town of Naples board and the Town Supervisor who recently demonstrated foresight, wisdom and good leadership by voting to prohibit industrial wind turbines development there. Your town & its people are unquestionably the better for it! I certainly hope I can say the same thing about Cohocton’s leaders some day. We shall see . . .

Don Sandford


In a newspaper article Jack Zigenfus was quoted as “We can always come out with a better wheel, and that’s basically what we’re trying to do. We want to have the best law.”

Why wouldn’t the best law have been where the Planning Board started, changing the noise dbs to 35? Why wouldn’t the best law have kept the height restriction to 400’ to 425’ where the Planning Board lowered it until ONE Planning Board member made it such a big deal that it be kept at 500 feet. One comment that made me laugh was that 75’ wouldn’t be that big a deal, add another 75’ to your home and you’ll see what a difference it makes. If Jack wants to have the best law why wouldn’t the set backs of these turbines be from property line ONLY, not 1500 feet from your residence where you will have to sign a waiver if you are to put anything on your own property.

The best law would be protecting all landowners by moving a set back from the property line only, not the residence. By placing a law into effect 1500 feet from a residence, 1 ½ times the turbine from property line is taking our constitutional right to do what we want on our own property away. Having to sign a waiver is telling the landowner there are dangers to wind turbines and we are not going to be held responsible for any damages incurred.

One of biggest changes was the enforcement section for charging someone who violates the law from $250 to $1,000. The town seems to be doing this for money so this shouldn’t be a problem, make the developer and lease owner adhere to the zoning law or pay the town. This shouldn’t be a problem; if UPC is such an honest developer they won’t have a problem with going by the law.

OH, that’s right, they haven’t done that yet have they, they didn’t get the special use permits for the meteorological towers, they haven’t dismantled one of the towers they put up without a permit, that the zoning board of appeals said needed to be taken down yet and that has been over a month now. So the $1,000 fine sounds pretty good to me.

The Town of Cohocton has at least one person on the Planning Board and one on the Town Board that seem to be more interested in UPC’s interest instead of the Towns, they seem to shoot down many suggestions made to protect residents living near this industry.

I have sat through meetings where one planning board member tries to be just as rude as she possibly can to anyone that might have a statement, snicker, or nodding of the head. She turns and states, she won’t tolerate this, and then brings in Sheriffs and State Troopers to intimidate the audience. It seems that people who are against wind turbines are not worthy of respect, yet if you’re for them you better be respected or else we will write articles in the Valley News or get up at a Board Meeting and state, “CWW is using Bullying and Intimidation Tactics.” Now lets see having an off duty Sheriff, two on duty Sheriffs and State Troopers at a Planning Board meeting is called what????

I have sat through meetings where one Board Member states that he is trying to insult the anti-wind people with his little cartoons and writings. If it hits a nerve he is pleased with himself. He is apparently the only one that feels he is doing his research and visits to other wind farms and therefore he knows what is best for the Town of Cohocton. If he has done his research I would like to know why the Town Board still hasn’t gotten a copy of UPC’s wind data from the meteorological towers to indeed do their homework on this data. One would have to speculate that these towers never needed to be put up because the data is not important enough to evaluate. Then one would also have to speculate that the tower they were ordered to take down would stand just like the wind turbines will when they are found to be unproductive.

In closing, It has been 5 months now that my husband and I have asked the Planning Board, The Board and their lawyers, why our names along with our land, tax number are on a Building Permit. Still have nothing in writing to telling us what this is about, therefore we have to assume that UPC, and The Board have plans for our land. How many others out there in the town of Cohocton have their names on this permit without even knowing it! I feel that we deserve a written response to this question even if you feel you’re doing this for the good of the Town. Step up to the plate gentlemen and be accountable to ALL CITIZENS OF THE TOWN OF COHOCTON, just not a few.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Limited Vision by Steve Trude

Back in the winter when I first saw the Cohocton wind turbine law, I knew that this law was against everything that I had worked so hard to build and dreamed of for the last 24 years. So many of us have done the same thing. It is not easy or cheap to live in Cohocton. We have all spent many hours to get to work. We have bought many vehicles to get us anywhere, with a lot of gas and oil changes.

We all knew that this was the price we had to pay to live in PARADISE.

I spent the next few weeks studying about wind technology and it's uses and effects. I read the zoning law and the Comprehensive Plan. It seems that the law was clear and we should be OK.

What I did not know was that the Town Board was so sold on this project they would do, say or try to pass any law to push the UPC projects through. I did not understand how the good people of a town like Cohocton could or would allow a project like this in our town.

Then I started looking closely at our town. Our Main Streets have only a few businesses. Our 390 Exit looks terrible. Our industrial sites sit mostly vacant with no jobs and little tax revenue. These are the necessities that keep a town afloat. The homes reflect this lack of income. The villages have had very little growth, and most of the building has been in the hills.

The lack of planning by our officials shows no vision for the future of our town or our children. This project as proposed will further stagnate the growth of Cohocton. The catering to one group of people, by our officials for so many years, has had a cumulative negative effect on our town.

And with this same foresight our town officials are doing it again. By all the back door dealings, they are setting themselves up for an even greater disaster and maybe the last stroke for the town.

To destroy our hills in a way that will limit any chance for a stable growth in the future is against our Comprehensive Plan and our zoning law. All this when the baby boom generation is looking to move to the hill's to retire with millions of dollars to spend and grow any community where they would desire to relocate.

To sell our town for so little money, for such a long period of time, lacks the wise foresight of encouraging sensible growth and stability for the future. We risk an end result of a real possibility of a $50,000,000.00 decommissioning bill at the end of the project.

The Town Board has done all of us wrong.

· By trying to circumvent the Comprehensive Plan and trashing our zoning law.
· By trying to pass a law that steals our rights to our property and the sanctity of our homes.
· Also to take our happiness, our lives and our safety is a sin.

We have worked our whole lives to come here to these hills to live in peace and harmony. Any Town Official that would vote yes to any current proposed UPC plan NEEDS TO GO! I know that the actions of our board in this proposed project will change our town forever.

Stephen Trude - President of Cohocton Wind Watch

Windmills Financial Windfall

video link to view program

The big battle in the Town of Sheldon is who's benefiting from a project to bring wind turbines to the small rural Wyoming County town.

A wind energy company wants to create a state of the art wind farm there that could save taxpayers up to a million dollars a year.

But three town board members, who vote on the fate of the project, will get a wind turbine on their own property or a family member's property.

To see the full report, click on the video link above.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Cohocton Wind Watch Informational Meeting Monday, August 28, 2006

Naples Hotel - "Downstairs" panel and question and answer informational meeting on the impact of the Cohocton and Prattsburgh Industrial Wind Turbine Projects on Naples and Canandaigua region.

Monday August 28, 2006 7:00 PM

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Windfarm Prattsburgh-UPC/Global

Dear Windfarm Prattsburgh Lead Agent, SCIDA, Clerk,

In response to the WFP Draft EIS and the NY DEC process for SEQR Scoping and public participation, the present Draft EIS is unacceptable because it does not follow the EIS stated in the Final Scope. According to the NY DEC, "the approved Final Scope would still be valid and should serve as the basis for the Draft EIS." (letter Attached).

Missing in the DEIS for section 1 and 2 are:
1. wind data
2. details of meteorological towers
3. WAKE distance
4. Necessity of this project in detail (not generality of the RPS and Executive Order).
5. Details of PILOT, revenue distribution
6. Details of regulations both Federal and State
7. Details of Alternative Plans
8. Details of Displacement of less efficient dirtier sources of power
9. Wake and Wind rights of impacted property owners since the lease claims such for the company and therefore it is an acknowledged concern for future growth of wind energy.
10. Exact sites and EXACT Turbines!!
11. Exact Staging Area.
13. Cumulative Impact of Cohocton I and II as well as Ecogen's project upon area of the Finger Lakes that was considered by the State as highly aesthetically and geologically significant.
14. Details of construction and road improvement and dust control in the DEIS- not later.
15. Details of public safety and complaint resolution
16. Third party monitoring
17. Buried cable when at all possible as in overview of project handed to leaseholders.
18. Details, references and documentation of UPC's experience in the USA from completed projects!
19. Recommissioning especially to larger MW towers.
20. Bonding
21. Details of costs/funding of permitting and developing of project.
22. Details of GML 239.
23. Details of formal and informal meetings with Town Board.

Mentioned in the Final Scope that is contrary to the DEIS:

1. One meteorological tower.
2. Cabling between turbines and most of collection system will be buried.
3. Precise locations
4. Precise location of access roads
5. Precise location of cabling
6. Precise location of electrical interconnection facilities/lines
7. Precise location of substations
8. Precise location of staging and storage areas
9. Precise location of parking areas
10. Precise location of operations and maintenance facilities
11. Precise location of permanent meteorological towers, lights, fences and gates!!
12. Detailed specifications of make and model of turbines
13. Detailed specifications of tower foundation
14. Number of days of operations and conditions
15. Details of routine maintenance
16. Discussion of blasting or dewatering
17. Copies of any studies
18. Expected Annual rate of power generation and its effect on local rates!!
19. Wind speed and energy production data that were evaluated when selecting each turbine.
20. Expected starting and ending dates as well as anticipated phasing of construction.
21. Principal activities that will occur during each phase of construction.
22. All areas affected by construction in the vicinity and safeguards taken.
23. Timing and implementation criteria for all measures to control construction dust.
24. Protocol to avoid nematode cysts contamination.
25. Protocol for on site compliance monitoring by qualified agro-environmental inspector.
26. Funding of monitoring.
27. Project impact on budgets of affected communities along with tax distribution.
28. Potential local revenues.
29. Project construction and operational costs and off set of project revenue.
30. All construction related expenditures.
31. Noise mitigation of 3 to 6 dB and greater than 6 dB.
32. All access roads gated and locked.
33. Lists of potential emergencies and response service providers.
34. Fire and Emergency equipment and training provided by applicant.
35. Probability of tower collapse, catastrophic failure, ice throw along with winter usage.
36. Interviews will residential groundwater well owners.
37. Means of documentation of existing pre construction road conditions.
38. Propose avoidance of radio, television, microwave and mobile telephone interference
39. Alternative project areas, turbine sites to minimize VISUAL and NOISE impacts, agricultural impacts!

Throughout the DEIS, mitigation was the unlikeliness of the happening, instead of, if the occurrence transpired, how would it be mitigated in detail. Vague explanations are not implied by the scope nor the SEQR process!! Plans to be finalized after the DEIS are absolutely unacceptable.

The WFP DEIS is unacceptable unless all scoping areas are addressed since SEQR Process"is intended to follow a systematic, relatively predictable process in creating the substantive environmental review."

This substantive review was detailed in the SCOPE with public input!! It has not be substantively addressed in the DEIS!


Dr. Alice Sokolow
34 Avonmore Way
Penfield, NY 14526

In a message dated 8/15/2006 12:15:53 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

Dr. Sokolow:

Your question was routed to me for reply. In general, the SEQR process continues from whatever stage it reached before the lead agency was changed. While the lead agency re-establishment language in 6 NYCRR 617.6(b)(6) doesn't address that precise question, 6 NYCRR 617.3(h) [SEQR's General Rules] makes it clear that the legislative and regulatory design of SEQR is intended to follow a systematic, relatively predictable process in creating the substantive environmental review, "(h) Agencies must carry out the terms and requirements of this Part with minimum procedural and administrative delay, must avoid unnecessary duplication of reporting and review requirements by providing, where feasible, for combined or consolidated proceedings, and must expedite all SEQR proceedings in the interest of prompt review." [emphasis added].

Thus, in this case, the approved Final Scope would still be valid and should serve as the basis for the Draft EIS. I hope that this responds adequately to your question.

B. A. Hughes
Chief, SEQR and Training
Division of Environmental Permits
NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway - 4th floor SW
Albany NY 12233-1750
(518) 402-9158 (direct); 402-9167 (office)
(518) 402-9167 (fax)

>>> 08/15/06 10:09 AM >>>

If a Scope is completed for a project with public participation and
Final Written Scope and then the LEAD Agency is changed, does the Final
Scoping determination transfer and continue to apply to the project??

Dr. Alice Sokolow

Monday, August 14, 2006

A Win for Property Owners, Setback for Kelo Developers by William F. Jasper

The Ohio Supreme Court delivered a unanimous and historic ruling on July 26 that is being heralded as a major victory for property rights and a stinging blow to last year's infamous U.S. Supreme Court Kelo decision, which ruled that local governments can use eminent domain powers to condemn private property for commercial development.

The most immediate beneficiaries of the Ohio ruling are Carl and Joy Gamble of Norwood, Ohio, who faced losing their home of 35 years. They and their neighbors in a tidy Norwood neighborhood were to be evicted by Norwood officials in favor of a developer who had plans to replace their homes with a condominium-office-shopping complex; the court decision rejected Norwood’s “right” to do so.

“Our home is ours again!” exclaimed Joy Gamble, after learning of the ruling. “The Ohio Supreme Court finally made us Americans again,” Carl Gamble added. “We haven’t had the heart or the will to see our home of more than 35 years since the City and the developer forced us out and fenced it off, but I’m sure we’ll be taking a ride back up there today. This is just terrific!”

Dana Berliner, an attorney for the Institute for Justice that represented property owners in the case, said the Ohio court’s decision will have a major impact in high courts and legislatures across the country. “This case is really part of a trend throughout the country of states responding to and rejecting the U.S. Supreme Court’s Kelo decision last year,” she said. “There are now 28 states that have taken legislative steps to protect owners more after that decision, and this case is the next movement in that trend, and I believe now not only legislatures but other courts are going to begin rejecting that terrible decision.”

Friday, August 11, 2006

Regulations governing noise levels - pdf Workplace Toxis Torts

Another example is the regulations governing noise levels. Sound is a pressure variation that the ear can detect, and, when measured, is usually converted into decibels (dB). OSHA requires hearing protection equipment when sound levels exceed 90 dBa (decibels on the “A” scale) over an eight hour shift. 29 C.F. R. § 1910.95(a). Whenever average exposures over an eight hour day exceed 85 dBa, the employer must implement and administer an effective hearing conservation program. 29 C.F.R. § 1910.95 (c)(1).

Nothing in these regulations addresses the risk to a fetus. Indeed, OSHA requires noise

levels to be measured on the “A” scale of a sound meter rather than the less discriminatory “C” scale, which can better measure all of the sound penetrating the mother’s abdomen. Sound levels measured on the C scale will include all frequencies, including low frequency sound. An OSHA dBa reading will be generally lower than a dBc reading. Noise levels that may be safe to adults can cause hearing impairment in fetuses. “Noise: A Hazard for the Fetus and Newborn,” Pediatrics, vol. 100, no. 4 (Oct. 4, 1997). According to American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), noise exposures in excess of a time weighted, 8 hour average of 115 decibels (dBc) beyond 5 months of pregnancy can cause hearing loss in the fetus. The American Academy of Pediatrics has found that exposure to excessive noise during pregnancy may result in high frequency hearing loss in newborns. This organization specifically recommends that OSHA give consideration to pregnant women when setting

occupational noise standards. Under the current regulations, OSHA-compliant employer may be routinely exposing the unborn child to excessive occupational noise without any protection. As demonstrated in these common examples, OSHA regulations are outdated in light of current scientific knowledge. Mere compliance with federal regulations neither ensures adequate protection for the unborn children of employees nor shields employers from tort liability. In short, the current state of law creates the worst of both worlds for employers.

Paul Gettys letter to the Cohocton Town Board


This is a follow up to my letter in the August 1, 2006 issue of this paper. In this article I mentioned Mr. Hunt’s current justification for this project is the generation of power which will be of great benefit to others on the electric grid, namely others within New York State.

On page 5B of the Wednesday August 9, 2006 issue of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle paper, there is an article on a proposed plan to build a “super power line” through several upstate communities to carry more electricity to New York City. It is proposed to build a 200-mile long line from Utica to Orange County in the lower Hudson Valley. The private company New York Regional Interconnect is proposing this project. This article states: “Northeast metropolitan areas including New York City face unparalleled problems meeting electricity demand, according to a report released Tuesday by the federal Energy Department. NYRI says electricity demand in New York City’s northern suburbs is expected to outstrip supply in a few years, and a new high-capacity line is needed to carry power from central and western New York.”This being the case, any power generated by a wind power project in the Southern Tier, specifically Cohocton, would be used to alleviate power shortages in New York City and the surrounding suburbs. In the past there were several proposed projects to construct landfills and radioactive dumps in Western New York and they were objected to strenuously by the people of Western New York. The principal reason being, why should
our surroundings be deteriorated to make a profit for some developer and to assist New York City or some other urban area to resolve problems of their own making.

In my opinion, the same premise applies to the current proposed wind power projects. The shortage of power in other areas can be alleviated by projects in those areas such as photoelectric cell projects and wind power projects. I do not feel that we should decimate our landscape to provide electricity to other areas of the State.

Much has been made of the statement: “Not In My Backyard”. Currently it is mostly used in a negative manner, mainly by environmentalists and power people who do not even live in our backyard. Yes, some well intentioned people feel that we should contribute our landscape and financial well being to help others. Myself, I feel if we do not protect our Town who will. It should be noted that I have included financial as the study referred to in the DEIS which states that property values would be unaffected by the construction of wind towers appears to be flawed. Please see the Cohocton Wind Watch web site for additional details.

In a previous article Mr. Hunt indicated his concern that if the Wind Tower project were defeated in Cohocton, it would make it that much more difficult for any project in the Finger Lakes Region to be approved. I do not look at this negatively; in fact I believe that we have a responsibility to do just that. The Finger Lakes with all its beautiful lakes and vineyards is a national treasure which is irreplaceable. Just the visual affect on the region from a wind towers project would have a far reaching impact.

It is my feeling, based upon comments at the last Public Meeting Hearing, that you are representing the will of the minority of the voters. Although it would be impossible to run this Town as a pure democracy where all decisions are made by the public, I feel that this issue will have such a significant affect on the Town for twenty years or more, that it should be put to a binding vote by all of the property owners. I feel this is too important an issue to remain in the hands of five people, no matter how good their intentions. Putting this issue to a vote would also help to disseminate the negative feelings that are developing between the pro and anti groups in that the will of the majority would be followed.

I hope you gentlemen will take this article as it was meant, as constructive criticism and not as an attack on any of you personally. As stated previously, I attended a number of Town Meeting over the last several years and was impressed by the service each of you provides the Town. I just feel that you are going down the wrong path on this issue and hope that you will listen to different viewpoints and not just those who are in agreement with yours. Whether you like it or not this project is so significant that it will be your legacy after you complete your terms of office, so you want to be sure that it is indeed the will of the voters and it is truly in their best interests.

Paul Gettys
North Cohocton

Thursday, August 10, 2006

F. Jeffrey Goldthwait August 10, 2006 letter to the Cohocton Planning Board

Date: August 10,2006

To: Town Board and Town Planning Board of Cohocton cc: Steuben County Planning Board
From: F. Jeffrey Goldthwait, J.D.

I am a resident, property owner, taxpayer and registered voter in the Town of Cohocton.

I respectfully submit a SECOND request for a written response by each of the Town Board and the Town Planning Board to each of the following questions set forth in this document which has been personally delivered to each Board.

1. What justification does the Town Board and Planning Board have for not reviewing and updating the town's negligently, and irresponsibly out of date (i.e. neither reviewed nor revised since is adoption in 1970) "Comprehensive Master Plan" before making a decision to adopt any new Town Law or Town Zoning Law amendment when such a significant new land issue such as the proposed UPC Wind Turbine Project is being considered?

2. What are the names of the qualified, neutral and independent Legal, Real Estate Appraisal, Financial, Environmental and Small Town Business Development experts whose services the Town Board and/or Planning Board have retained in order to professionally evaluate the proposed UPC project in order to assure all the people of the Town of Cohocton that you are being reasonably prudent, diligent and impartial and thorough in your sworn duty to represent all of the people of Cohocton in a fair, judicious an non negligent manner?

3. What are the names of the qualified, neutral and independent financial and insurance experts retained By the Town to independently analyze the financial worth, stability, liability risk factors to the Town and its residents and performance of UPC (with its former ENRON executive(s) and its parent companies?

4. What are the names of the qualified, neutral and independent financial experts retained By the Town that concluded that a PILOT by UPC was financially more beneficial to the Town than other tax options?

5. Just what is UPC's track record of successful, completed, fully operating and economically viable wind turbine projects to date in the United States?

6. Has the Town Board and/or Town Planning Board contracted with UPC and its related companies to guarantee that full indemnification and insurance coverage is in place to protect every resident and property owner in the Town?

7. Do you fully understand the severe limitations of legal liability to the Town of Cohocton that UPC and its related companies will enjoy at our expense and risk? What are the name(s) of the independent legal counsel, with no connection or relationship, financial or otherwise, to UPC, has the Town retained to represent and protect the legal rights and potential liabilities of every property owner and taxpayer in the Town liabilities?

8. Why has the Town Board taken an apparent "oath of silence" and not responded to any public questions about the negotiations between the Town and UPC?

9. Why is it that the only expert legal counsel drafting documents and proposed Town laws in this matter is retained and paid for by UPC?

10. Why has the Planning Board made proposed amendments to the proposed Windmill Law without first seeking the assistance of the Town Attorney and why did Sandor Fox the Planning Board's Chairman refuse to answer that question when it was asked to him at that board's meeting on August 3, 2006?

11. When will the Town Board and Planning Board address the issues raised as to the legality of some of the meetings held to date?

12. Is not this proposed wind farm project in clear violation of the stated purpose of our newly enacted Zoning Law? Article l;Sec. 120;2,4,7 which states in part that the "PURPOSE of said law is:
"2. To encourage the most appropriate use of land, to conserve and enhance the value of property:...
4. To provide for open spaces and recreation areas, protect natural resources, agricultural land, scenic areas...
7. To assure privacy for residents and freedom from nuisances and noxious conditions disturbing to the senses or harmful to the health, prevent unsightly, obtrusive and noisome activities, and generally enhance the community."

13. Does not he proposed UPC project also violate Local Law No. 2 of the year 1987; Section 4. which reads:
4. DUTY OF MAINTAINING PRIVATE PROPERTY No person owning, leasing, occupying or having charge of or control of any premises within the Town of Cohocton shall maintain or keep any nuisance thereon, nor shall any person keep or maintain such premises in a manner causing substantial diminution in the value of other property in the neighborhood in which such premises are located.

We the people of the Town of Cohocton respectfully request FOR THE SECOND TIME IN WRITING and at least the SECOND TIME ORALLY answers to all of the above questions by each Board IN WRITING. We believe we have a right to the answers and that the Town Board and Planning Board have a legal, ethical and moral duty to provide full honest and accurate responses to the citizens each of you took an oath to serve fairly and impartially.

Very truly yours,
F. Jeffrey Goldthwait, J.D.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Cohocton Clean is back online

Thank you to everyone that assisted in bringing Cohocton Clean back online: Mark Densmore, Jane Towner and "Red Dog".

Monday, August 07, 2006

Donna Marmuscak earthquake effects from industrial wind turbines?

Hi everyone in Cohocton,

You don't know me but I am trying to help fight industrial wind turbines along with you. I have been to several of your informational meetings. More on all that at a later date. I am going to try to attach an article that I just sent to Sue Silinski. I have been concerned about the vibrations on our bedrock. These huge wind turbines would have to have an effect. There have been earthquakes in New York. I think someday we are in for a pretty big one. What are those setbacks? Has there been any research done? One of my sisters has a geology degree from Alfred and another, the one who sent me the article, is studying it in Arizona. Let's not bury our heads in the sand. There will be a whole lot of shaking goin' on here too if they put these windturbines in! "talk" to you later.

Donna Marmuscak

MENTOR, Ohio (AP) -- A corner of suburban Cleveland has become the earthquake capital of Ohio, shaking on average every two weeks since New Year's Day and making people wonder: What's next?

The quakes haven't caused any serious problems and sometimes even go unnoticed. Experts aren't sure why they are happening, but they do know they are happening frequently: Twelve were recorded in the area by July 1.

"I heard one," said Jim Farrell, 79, of Mentor, a retired plasterer with an eye for wall damage. Still, he hasn't seen any damage and hasn't felt any of the quakes recorded in Lake County and under adjacent Lake Erie.

The earthquakes have been small, measuring from magnitude 2.0 to 3.8. In comparison, the 1994 quake that hit the Northridge area of Los Angeles, California, was a 6.7 magnitude.

Though they are occurring often now, earthquakes aren't uncommon in the region. Lake County has been the site for 14 of the 20 earthquakes recorded in the state in the past two years. The quakes result from a fault, or crack, that is under pressure, one of a number of faults in Ohio, most of which are under the sedimentary bedrock.

Ground zero for keeping track of the Lake County earthquakes is a busy classroom building on the Lakeland Community College campus, where a seismic monitor sits on the concrete floor of a tiny closet housing electric boxes.
The monitor is sensitive enough to pick up the rumblings of a heavy truck along nearby Interstate 90, according to David Pierce, an assistant geology professor who keeps tabs on readings forwarded to the statewide Ohio Seismic Network near Columbus.

To Pierce, a low-level earthquake "always feels like a semi [tractor-trailer] coming down my street and hits a rock or a speed bump," sending a boom like a burst of compressed air.

Pierce, like police and fire departments, can get dozens of calls when an earthquake strikes, often from people happy to learn that it didn't do damage and wasn't a terror attack.

Without damage or injury from the series of quakes, the question for many is: Will the next one be worse?

"The official take is: We don't know," Pierce said.

The frequent quakes have prompted some caution among officials. A top concern for some Lake County authorities is the Perry Nuclear Power Plant, which was constructed to withstand a building-shaking 6.0 earthquake and opened in 1987 a year after a 5.0 quake in Lake County.

The biggest of the recent earthquakes, a 3.8 temblor recorded June 20, automatically set off alarms to alert a plant command post. That sent 30 inspectors on a four-hour search for any indication of cracked pipes or other damage.

None was found, Perry spokeswoman Jennifer Young said. The plant remained in operation without interruption during detailed inspections of cement walls and pipelines reinforced with shock absorbers to handle shaking.

Data indicates homeowners aren't making many changes to protect against the quakes. There is little evidence that many homeowners have made moves to buy earthquake insurance, said Gary Christy with the Westfield Group insurance. Nine percent of the Westfield-insured homes in Lake County have earthquake insurance.

Nationwide Insurance agent Gerald Merhar in nearby Willoughby said about 15 percent of his homeowner policies have earthquake coverage riders costing about $20 a year for a frame home and $30 for brick.

Merhar, 57, whose own home has a repaired crack from a quake more than 50 years ago, recommends coverage, especially for brick homes. "They don't shake well," he said.

Nightly News broadcast regarding Lowville

Last night (Saturday, 8/5), the final report on the Nightly News about the Lowville wind farm was of great interest to me. I’m pleased to see that this important issue is getting some long overdue national broadcast media attention. I understand the time constraints inherent in a Nightly News segment and hope that some of the issues you were not able to cover in this piece will be vetted in subsequent broadcasts on your show or shows like Dateline.

Of particular importance to taxpayers, utility customers, and environmentalists are issues such as:
-the huge publicly funded incentives (there are many) that make wind turbines extremely lucrative,
-the origin of many of these incentives (secret ‘consultations’ between Ken Lay and Dick Cheney),
-the position of energy companies that the current wind technology does not make economic sense,
-the fact that investment bankers, not energy companies, are building ‘wind parks,’ (the Lowville installation portrayed in the piece is half owned by Goldman Sachs, with JP Morgan planning to construct thousands of turbines in New York and Michigan),
-the unreliability of wind power, the destabilizing effects this has on the grid, and GE’s estimate that the net avoided generation from traditional sources is 10 per cent of rated turbine capacity,
-the counter-cyclical nature of wind generation of electricity (highest during the middle of the night when demand is lowest, and smallest at dawn and dusk when demand peaks),
-the requirement that the grid buy wind power whenever it is produced even if it is not needed,
-the pattern of the manufacturers to solve problems by building ever-bigger turbines,
-the fact that the current generation of turbines is almost four hundred feet tall with a footprint bigger than the largest pyramid (Cheops),
-that there are problems with everything from bird and bat deaths, to changes in the microclimate under the turbines, to stray voltage, to unmetered power being used by the operators to run the generators as motors to spin the turbines fast enough to then produce power to sell back to the grid,
-to the developers’ myriad of lies and broken promises for everything from large numbers of jobs and lower electric rates, to ruined roads and lower property values and ‘gag’ clauses in leases and ‘neighbor agreements’ that prevent open and truthful discussion of the problems caused by turbines,
-to the conflicts of interest, questionable business dealings, and outright illegalities of local officials in favor of development,
-to the rush by developers to build tens of thousands of turbines in populated areas of the Northeast before opposition can organize and educate the general population to the magnitude of this scandal.

I would be happy to provide documentation to back any of these statements. I would also be happy to put you in touch with experts in a variety of fields who can elaborate on these and other reasons industrial wind plants are a bad deal for host communities, our country, and the environment.

Wayne Miller
2852 State Route 11
North Bangor, NY

P.S. The town of Lowville is not pronounced like ‘low’ as it was at the end of your report, but in a manner that rhymes with the ‘bow’ of a ship.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Lince responds to Marion Trieste / ACENY

Marion Trieste, Alliance for Clean Energy New York

From the ACENY website...
Suggests property value effects should take on less importance in siting proceedings"

Larisa Washburn, program associate of Environmental Advocates of New York. “This study sheds light on a common concern in communities deciding whether or not to build a wind farm and shows that property values are not impacted.”

"The report finds there to be no measurable effect on values. These findings held even when concentrating on homes that were within a mile of the turbines"

Mrs. Trieste, thank you for your response to my letter. The response was posted on the (included below). To ground our dialog in reference to the term paper rather than opinion, I will provide quotes from the report. I find your suggestion that I am "interpreting" fasinating considering I am quoting and using data from the report itself.

1. We agree that no property was analyzed within 3/4 mile. However, you then stating that Mr. Hoen talked to owners and “feeling there is no impact” does not warrant further discussion in a scientific study. Further, it's irresponsible to do so to cover this deficiency. Mr. Hoen writes on page 40/41, “Distance: This study contains homes only as close as 0.75 miles or 4000 feet to the turbines. HVTL studies have found effects exist only inside 500 feet (Des-Rosiers, 2002). Future studies should find communities with homes closer than 0.75 miles, and preferably as close as 500 feet if they exist.”

Mr. Hoen's words - not mine.

2. I’m sorry, this is correct, 38 of the 43 were at 2 or more miles, and the average distance (DIS_TO_WNDMILS) was 3.50 miles. We agree 5 were at 1 mile (I did not state differently). Are you stating Mr. Hoen's data is incorrect? Mr Hoen writes on page 56 (I have removed confusing data Mean/Min/Max)
"Table VIII: Description of Viewshed Variables
VIEWSHED VARIABLES Mean MinimumMaximum Frequency

Again, Mr. Hoen's data - not an "interpretation"

I’m also somewhat concerned that you stated that 50% (140 of 280) of the homes analyzed sold prior to the implementation of the wind turbines. Please expand on this point.

3. There is no confusion on vista. I fully understand the difference in vista and turbine view. I did not state vista was "intentionally" left out - simply that the value of vista is specifically addressed and it is not included, period. Mr. Hoen writes on page 41: “Vista: This study does not include a separate measurement for “vista” (or good view) in its analysis. For example, Haughton (2004) finds that homes with a high percentage of "vista" represented in their value (such as might be found in homes on the coast) might be affected differently by wind development."

Again, Mr. Hoen's words, not mine.

Mrs. Trieste, I’m sure you stand by the paper’s own words and data. I remain of the position that these three clearly addressed items make it highly irresponsible for the author or your organization to make any conclusion about properties close to wind turbines. Where's the "concentration on homes within 1 mile"???

Further, I wholeheartedly agree when you write in your response (and I quote) “…that there might be an effect inside of 3,000 feet that exists that the study did not discern. What size the effect might be, if it exists, seems to be the important question” It’s not clear if these are Mr. Hoen’s words or yours --- either case, you make the very point of my original letter that this study does not offer any evidence for those closest to the turbines.

Mrs. Trieste, I am calling on you to be fair to the good citizens of Cohocton and other towns in which you speak with authority. You have a responsbility to tell those closest to the wind turbines "there might be an effect inside 3,000 feet; this seems to be the important question". If you can state so here - you should say so in public.

Setbacks being proposed of 500-1,500 feet to residential structures --- right where your study has no data. I realize ACENY's board of directors consists of wind developers(Horizon, PPM, AWS Truewind) but this lack of disclosure and "spin" should greatly concern all property owners closest to proposed wind projects in New York.

Jim Lince
Cohocton, NY

Response to posting of James Lince on Cohocton Wind Watch Blog
Printed with permission from Marion Trieste ACENY

Lince reply LTE

I appreciate the time you have taken to review Mr. Hoen’s study, but respectfully disagree with your conclusions. Going back to Mr. Hoen’s study, the homes in the community surrounding the wind farm did not show evidence of a decline in property values. That said, I would be glad to correct your interpretations of the Hoen study by answering each of your questions in your letter dated Aug. 2, 2006.

1. No property was analyzed within 4,000 feet (3/4 mile) of a turbine. In addition, the average distance of a property with any view of a turbine was 3.5 miles.
Ans: The study is very clear about this, and states that there might be an effect inside of 3,000 feet that exists that the study did not discern. What size the effect might be, if it exists, seems to be the important question. The study used all houses that sold during the study period, it did not choose which ones to study. Why the houses inside 3,000 feet did not sell seems as an important question. Have you talked to the folks that live inside of 3,000 feet? Mr. Hoen has, and they do not feel impacted. I suggest you go to Fenner and talk to them if you don’t believe Mr. Hoen’s account.

2. Out of the 280 properties analyzed only 43 had any view of a turbine. 38 of these 43 were 2 miles or more (up to 5.99 miles) away from the nearest turbine.
Ans: This is not correct. The study states that 5 homes were inside of 1 mile that had a view and the rest were between 1 and 5.99 miles. Regarding the number of homes with a view, the model does not need or want all, or a large percentage of home to have a view. In fact, if all homes had a view it would not be able to control for those without a view. Having 43 homes out of 280 that had a view, half of which sold before the wind farm was put up means that 30% of the homes that sold after the wind farm was put up (43 out of 140) had a view. This seems like a large percentage to me.

3. The concept of “vista” or value of a view shed was specifically mentioned and excluded as a variable in the study (no value for view from a property).
Ans: It seems you are confused about what the study concluded. The author makes an important distinction between view (of turbines) and vista (a nice view). Mr. Hoen recommends a variable for vista be included in future studies because it might influence the results of the variable for view (of turbines). It was not excluded intentionally as you suggest. The author suggests that the close in effects would most likely not have been influenced by vista. He goes on to suggest that homes further from the wind farm that can both see the wind farm and have a nice vista might be mixing their results. But homes close in that can see the wind farm do not necessarily have a nice vista. Either way, if the effects were strongly negative in regards to view from the wind farm, they would have shown up, as other variables, such as number of acres did.

I hope I answered all of your questions to your satisfaction.

Marion Trieste
Alliance for Clean Energy New York

July 30, 2006

Dear Mrs. Trieste,

You were a panel member at the YESWindCohocton Forum on July 26th, 2006.

You stated in regards to a question about property values that the study completed by student Ben Hoen was evidence that property values did not go down as a result of wind turbine projects.Mrs. Trieste are you aware of the following issues (among many) regarding this study?

1. No property was analyzed within 4,000 feet (3/4 mile) of a turbine. In addition, the average distance of a property with any view of a turbine was 3.5 miles.

2. Out of the 280 properties analyzed only 43 had any view of a turbine. 38 of these 43 were 2 miles or more (up to 5.99 miles) away from the nearest turbine.

3. The concept of “vista” or value of a view shed was specifically mentioned and excluded as a variable in the study (no value for view from a property).

You may believe it is responsible for you to continue to cite Hoen’s thesis as “fact based” assurance to a community. I suggest that the responsible and ethical position would be to provide disclosure. This would avoid property owners closest to these proposed projects relying on your statements as proof that their property values will not be impacted.Obviously those closest to these turbines have the most concern. These citizens deserve responsible answers from those who represent themselves as having researched and detailed factual knowledge of the issues with industrial wind power.


James G. Lince

Cohocton, NY

Saturday, August 05, 2006

An Investigation into wind farms and noise by The Noise Association

Alternatives to current windfarm proposals

We congratulate the Town of Italy Board on their recent decision to establish a fair and reasonable set of zoning regulations. This decision effectively ends the debate about industrial windfarms in Italy. However several proposals continue to be evaluated by residents and leaders in Prattsburgh and Cohocton. In our efforts to objectively evaluate the Ecogen project we have learned a great deal about the pros and cons of windfarms, and offer the following suggestions to our neighbors who are still considering these developments.

1. Wind Turbine Size. If you limit the overall height of turbines to 60 feet rather than the 400 feet that is proposed, many of the legitimate objections to the windfarms will go away. 60-foot turbines do not require lighting. They do not produce low frequency noise. There would be no blade flicker, no concerns with ice throw, and only minimal damage to scenic viewsheds. The risks to tourism revenue and property values are similarly reduced. The developers will tell you that smaller turbines are not financially viable. That is just not true. Smaller units are financially viable, given government subsidies; but they are a little less profitable. A little less profit, a little less greed, seems to be a reasonable alternative to safeguard the 200 million dollars that tourism brings to the central Finger Lakes every year.

2. Lease versus Buy. The current proposals call for the developers to lease the land for the turbines. This approach effectively shields the developers from any legal liabilities. If there are health or safety issues, it is the landowner who will be sued. Neighbors suing neighbors would not be productive. Let’s just require the developers to purchase the land so that they can be held legally accountable. The purchase offer can easily be structured to provide the same revenue stream to the landowner, allow the landowner to continue to use the land, and return the parcel to the landowner when the project is decommissioned.

3. PILOT’s versus Real Estate Taxes. Another advantage of requiring the developers to own the land is that you can tax them fairly. The proposed PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) for Windfarm Prattsburgh would pay only $255,000 a year to Prattsburgh, Italy, and the two school districts. If the turbines were on the tax rolls, Windfarm Prattsburgh would pay six million dollars a year in real estate taxes. That is 24 times what the PILOT would provide, and would make a huge difference for every taxpayer. Just tax them what they are worth, just like everyone else. It is not right that all of the taxpayers of Prattsburgh and Cohocton should have to subsidize commercial developments that benefit only a few. It is pretty clear that Steuben County Industrial Development Authority, which negotiated the PILOT payment schedule, has a vested interest in these projects.

4. Costs of Decommissioning. The Windfarm Prattsburgh Environmental Impact Statement describes the establishment of a Decommissioning Reserve Account, which is intended to pay for the removal of the windfarm at the end of its useful life. However the developers do not have to put any money into the account until year fifteen of the project. This scheme would leave local taxpayers with a decommissioning bill of over 70 million dollars. Windfarms are very expensive to shut down and remediate. To avoid bankrupting town and county governments, be sure to demand a minimum of 1.5 million dollars for each and every turbine in an interest-bearing escrow account, in your name, at your bank, before the start of construction. A windfarm with 50 industrial wind turbines would require a deposit of 75 million dollars. This “reserve account” is no better than an IOU. Ask for real cash, upfront.

With these simple and straightforward changes to the windfarm proposals you can still reap the benefits of renewable energy while protecting the best interests of all of the residents of our region.

Libby and Lottie Jones
Donley Road
Town of Italy

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