The idea of windmills brings to mind bucolic Renaissance paintings of Dutch landscapes and tulip beds. But that is hardly the experience of some who have to live next to the 400-foot electricity-generating windmills being built across America's breezy plains.
Articles filed under Impact on People from New York
For those who live among the towers, the consequences of the development are palpable. The construction required building new roads and widening existing ones to make room for oversize vehicles. Hundreds of workers moved into town or stayed in trailers on the job site during the summer rush. The rural landscape was transformed into an industrial setting. Where stands of poplars and fields of corn and hay covered the plateau, the smooth lines of the light gray towers and steady rotation of the rotors now define the view. And the noises changed. The unobstructed wind has always been the dominant sound on the plateau. Now, the whoosh of the wind is mixed with the hum of the machines and a mechanical whomp of the blades turning.
People remember Tug Hill as gorgeous and wild. No more.
Initially, I was delighted. But then I began listening to the concerns of residents near the proposed site, hikers, skiers, birdwatchers, astronomers who frequent the nearby observatory and even trainee pilots concerned about 400 foot wind turbines cropping up in the flight path to the Ithaca airport. As a result, I am no longer an unabashed supporter of tapping Mount Pleasant.
In these early stages of U.S. wind development, promoters still have it pretty easy. They're our new best friends! But it's likely their popularity will be short-lived, as it won't take long before rural America realizes that their own initial awe and stupor was contrived, allowing the very quality of their lives to be stolen out from under them, and they will also realize, too late, that their loss was in vain.
Upstate New York has been boasting about wind-power development the last few years. Wind farms --- clusters of high-tech windmills 200 feet or more tall --- have become tourist and business-booster attractions in Wyoming County and Madison County.