FARMERSVILLE — Residents from the communities of Arcade, Centerville, Farmersville, Freedom and Rushford are gearing up for a May 7 7 p.m. public hearing at the Farmsville Fire Hall (989 Elton Road) on the topic of a proposed wind turbine project designated, The Alle-Catt Wind Farm.
The project, if approved by government officials, will result in the installation of approximately 108-industrial wind turbines measuring 600 feet in height and spread across 20,000 acres of Allegany and Cattaraugus counties. Adopting a slogan, “Don’t Blight ... Fight!” a coalition of citizen action groups from the impacted communities have one goal in mind in attending the upcoming hearing.
“At this point, we are not fighting about the value of the Alle-Catt project in producing ‘green energy,’ nor are we engaging in endless debate on the overall worth of the project,” said Pete Lounsbury, a founding member of Farmersville United. “Rather our most pressing concern is that the guidelines and laws for the development and installation of this project, which are currently under consideration by the various town and village board officials, should be the most up-to-date and safest for our land, our environment and our citizens.”
The wind turbine project is being developed by Invenergy LLC, who along with its affiliated companies develop, own, and operate large-scale energy generation and storage facilities in the Americas and Europe. Invenergy is the same company that developed the High Sheldon Wind Farm (75 turbines across the Town of Sheldon) and the Orangeville Wind Farm (58 turbines across the Town of Orangeville). Both projects are located in Wyoming County and both have been topics of great contention within their respective communities.
According to Stephanie Milks, President of Freedom United, the Alle-Catt project has caused the same types of concerns.
“People in the communities impacted by this project are upset with their elected officials who have taken an oath of office to protect the health, safety and welfare of their constituents,” he said. “Instead, these officials seem to be ignoring the creation of proper safety regulations and financial protections essential to appropriate wind energy laws. Across the board, it is as if they are more focused on the funds promised by Invenergy for the development of the Alle-Catt Wind Turbine Project, rather than the potential costs in the quality of life and health of their residents.”
Ginger Schroder is a Farmersville resident and an attorney representing citizen groups responding to the development of the Alle-Catt Wind Turbine Project. She is also one of the creators of the Alle-Catt Wind Turbine Concerns Facebook Page, where she and others have been posting information regarding an existing wind farm project in Yates, New York.
“Draft versions of the Freedom and Farmersville Wind Laws were almost entirely copied from a 2008 Town of Yates, NY wind ordinance,” Schroder said. “In the decade since passing their law, the Town of Yates took the time to investigate other wind laws and realized the shortcomings of their initial legislation. As a result, they made major revisions and corrections to the 2008 law on five critical criteria that international experts have clearly stated are needed to protect people and the environment from the negative effects of wind turbines.
“All we are asking of our government officials is to adopt updated standards in the Alle-Catt project, such as those developed by the Town of Yates, and to work with the concerned citizens of the impacted communities to ensure this project does not financially devastate our community, or compromise the safety of our land, the security of our environment and the long-term quality of life for our families.”
Those interested in voicing their opinions at the Farmersville May 7 public hearing will be allowed three minutes each to speak, with town residents and taxpayers given first priority. It is expected that Farmersville Town Board members will be present, along with representatives of Invenergy, LLC. Community groups will have informational handouts and a Facebook live video feed will be broadcast for those interested who cannot attend.