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Prattsburgh: SCIDA OKs wind farm

Bath | A proposed wind farm in Prattsburgh cleared a major hurdle Thursday after the Steuben County Indus-trial Development Agency approved a final environmental statement on the project.

The board approved the statement after SCIDA consultant Rick VenVertloh said the document on the proposed 53-turbine EcoGen wind farm had been reviewed in depth and met all state standards for wind turbines.
EcoGen spokesman Thomas Hagner said the next step is submitting site plans to the county IDA for specific approval, after which the project could begin.
But opponents of the project - and EcoGen's business rival - say the fight isn't over.
“Oh, I think you can count on this not being over yet,” said Al Wordingham, a member of Advocates for Prattsburgh. “That document is so full of holes it's ridiculous. I think you can say something will be done.”
The group opposes both the EcoGen and Global Winds projects on the grounds that the 400-foot high structures threaten the people, the character and the natural environment of the northeastern county region.
Representatives of Global Winds project, recently renamed WindFarm Prattsburgh, charged this week EcoGen doesn't control the land they claim to.
In an e-mail to local media, Global Winds representative Kyle Kotary said much of the land in EcoGen study is now under lease to WindFarm Prattsburgh.
Hagner dismissed Kotary's charges as “... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
The board approved the statement after SCIDA consultant Rick VenVertloh said the document on the proposed 53-turbine EcoGen wind farm had been reviewed in depth and met all state standards for wind turbines.
EcoGen spokesman Thomas Hagner said the next step is submitting site plans to the county IDA for specific approval, after which the project could begin.
But opponents of the project - and EcoGen's business rival - say the fight isn't over.
“Oh, I think you can count on this not being over yet,” said Al Wordingham, a member of Advocates for Prattsburgh. “That document is so full of holes it's ridiculous. I think you can say something will be done.”
The group opposes both the EcoGen and Global Winds projects on the grounds that the 400-foot high structures threaten the people, the character and the natural environment of the northeastern county region.
Representatives of Global Winds project, recently renamed WindFarm Prattsburgh, charged this week EcoGen doesn't control the land they claim to.
In an e-mail to local media, Global Winds representative Kyle Kotary said much of the land in EcoGen study is now under lease to WindFarm Prattsburgh.
Hagner dismissed Kotary's charges as “unsubstantiated accusations.”
Hagner pointed out the SCIDA recently refused to oversee the review of the rival Global Winds project, which could potentially lead the other developer to pull out.
Agency Executive Director James Sherron repeated that stand on Thursday, telling the board he had notified state officials the board will not be involved in the Global project.
Competition between the two companies is fierce because the state's power grid currently has enough capacity to handle power produced by 50 turbines in the Prattsburgh area.
The EcoGen project faces other obstacles, including a moratorium on construction by the town of Italy in Yates County.
Like most towns in the area, Italy and Prattsburgh do not have zoning regulations.
But while Prattsburgh town officials have rejected calls for a master plan or zoning, Italy is now establishing guidelines for growth in the town.
If those guidelines limit construction, plans to set up several turbines and build an electrical substation in Italy would have to be scrapped.
A location change could also lead to renewed studies on visual impact or other environmental elements, VenVertloh said.
The wind farm debate has raged in the Prattsburgh-Italy region for the past four years and led to bitter disputes.
Supporters of the project say the turbines will provide an important source of renewable energy for the Northeastern U.S., bolster the town and county tax base and provide jobs.
Opponents charge the wind farm is not a significant source of electricity, and threatens the safety and serenity of the rural region.
The controversy has also drawn the attention of state gubernatorial candidate Tom Golisano, of Rochester, who opposed the windfarm development at a public hearing in Prattsburgh last May.
Wordingham said Golisano is following the Prattsburgh issue closely.
“Tom is still very engaged,” Wordingham said.

Source: http://www.the-leader.com/a...

DEC 9 2005
http://www.windaction.org/posts/646-prattsburgh-scida-oks-wind-farm
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