Wind project threatens health, environment, economy, and national security
REDFIELD, NEW YORK - The Town of Redfield, NY has filed comments in response to a proposal to construct a 350-megawatt wind farm in the town. According to a Preliminary Scoping Statement (PSS) filed with the New York Public Service Commission, Atlantic Wind LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Avangrid LLC, is seeking approval to construct an 88-turbine facility on protected wetlands in Oswego and Jefferson counties in the North Country of New York State.
Among the concerns cited by the Town is the high risk of water contamination. Atlantic Wind intends to build its Mad River Wind facility atop the Tug Hill aquifer at the headwaters of the Salmon River, placing its massive turbines right beside creeks and streams.
The Tug Hill aquifer supplies drinking water to eleven municipalities and is the source for private drinking water wells serving residences, campgrounds, and other facilities throughout Oswego, Jefferson, and Oneida counties. Construction of a similar wind project in Ontario, Canada, resulted in the contamination of the area’s drinking water wells, leaving many homes without usable water.
The Town is concerned that the project could have a devastating effect on surrounding property values and the local economy. The proposed facility would sit right in the middle of land used for the outdoor recreation activities that drive the area’s $40-million per year tourism industry. It stands to interfere with snowmobile trails and other popular outdoor activities, including hunting, fishing, trapping, and hiking. The Salmon River is home to some of the best salmon and trout fishing in the Northeast and is an integral part of the area’s tourism-driven economy. Contamination of the Salmon River would have a significant negative impact on the local environment and economy. In addition, high voltage power lines, like those necessary for this project, are known to impair the orientation of fish and affect migratory behavior, which could have a devastating impact on local waterways.
The proposed wind facility poses a significant threat to the local environment and wildlife, including the endangered species that call this area home. Wind turbines are well known to cause serious negative effects on wildlife and to kill large numbers of birds and bats. The proposed project site is home to three threatened species of bats, including the Indiana bat, which is state- and federally-listed as endangered. Alarmingly, studies show that Indiana bats are especially susceptible to being killed by wind turbines. Wind turbines are also known to cause serious health problems in horses, deer, and other animals and can negatively impact animal mating and predator-avoidance behaviors.
The health impacts of wind turbines on people are even more alarming. All wind turbines cause visual and auditory nuisances like shadow flicker, audible sound, andinfrasound. Numerous scientific studies show that these can cause a variety of adverse health effects in people, including seizures, sleep disturbance, annoyance, headaches, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, motion sickness, bodily sensations, fatigue, stress, depression, memory deficits, inability to concentrate, and overall reduced quality of life. Atlantic Wind’s PSS, however, ignores the weight of scientific evidence and flatly dismisses these potential dangers.
As Atlantic Wind correctly states in its PSS, industrial wind turbines are also known to interfere with Doppler radar, air traffic control, and other communications systems like television and cellular reception. Accordingly, the project’s proposed location near the Montague Weather Station and Lake Wheeler Airfield at Fort Drum is cause for concern. Montague Weather Station helps keep the region safe by predicting severe weather events like lake effect snow.
The project could also interfere with Fort Drum’s flight radar and air traffic control, posing both a safety and national security threat. This threat is compounded by the nine other existing or proposed industrial wind developments in the area. Collectively, these projects would surround Fort Drum, threatening the future of the area’s largest employer. This threat has also caught the attention of the New York State Assembly, where a bill was recently introduced that would prohibit state funding for industrial wind developments within a certain radius of Fort Drum. New York State residents are encouraged to contact their local assemblymen and women to voice their support for this important legislation.
The Town of Redfield is committed to protecting its residents, environment, and local economy. The public is encouraged to let their voices be heard by attending Town Board meetings. People can also stay abreast of new developments by signing up to receive e-alerts from the New York State Department of Public Safety (DPS) regarding the Mad River wind project.
A full copy of the Town’s comments is available through the “Mad River Wind” link on the DPS website: http://dps.ny.gov
For more information, contact:
Redfield Town Supervisor