Articles from New York
EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. — This affluent enclave on the East End of Long Island is steeped in eco-conscious pride, with strict water quality and land preservation rules and an abundance of electric cars on the roads.
PORTLAND — Motorists driving along Route 20 are beginning to see lawn signs regarding a divisive issue that has become highly talked about in this town: the prospect of wind turbines. This is far from anything new to the north county region.
"Wind has obviously been a focal point of the New York State climate strategy, and we've seen more projects being proposed across Western New York," said Ortt. "Advocacy groups have raised concerns about the public health impact of turbines, and we would like to get an understanding of what those are. I'm sure there are people here in the audience who would be directly impacted by these projects because they may live next door or live in close proximity to these turbines."
The dispute over spacing and orientation has already snarled the regulatory process for the $2.8- billion Vineyard Wind project, with news last month that the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management decided to hold off on a ruling on the company’s application to install up to 84 turbines south of Martha’s Vineyard. The issues are also now being considered by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Both Fulton and Montgomery counties had shifted away from the full tax exemption offered by New York state in favor of Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreements in recent years. While PILOTS gradually phase-in full taxation of the land over a 15-year period, both counties have now abandoned that method of taxing renewable energy projects in favor of full-taxation.
Susan Baldwin, a longtime Villenova resident told a story of trying to call 911 three times in a row, to report an accident outside her home. According to her, calls kept dropping. In the end she explained that it took 40 minutes for police to arrive on scene, luckily, the victim was alright for the most part she added. Baldwin stated that when she questioned the police on the issue they, according to her, claim that calls get dropped all the time due to cell service. Following the reveal of this information Baldwin traveled to Verizon on Tuesday and was told “we had an inservice with the turbine people two years ago and they said that they’re going to put the turbines directly away, positioning for your house to not get missed and dropped calls. They are constant.”
Solar and wind energy facilities need considerable amounts of land. Many rural communities in Western New York enjoy their peace and quiet and fear new facilities will diminish the lives their accustomed to. The bill proposed by Assemblyman Norris and I will stop outside influences from forcing their will on rural communities and give a voice to local residents concerned with new energy projects.”
Sandi Briner, senior vice president of communications for EDF Renewables, the parent company for the wind farm, confirmed in a written statement that a “fault alarm” on the turbine notified wind technicians in the site area that there was a problem at about 8:50 a.m. A team went to the site, confirmed the damage and secured the access road leading to “turbine 30,” as the impacted turbine is designated.
Wind farm urged to follow noise limits. Invenergy’s Number Three Wind Farm will have to consider the cumulative effect of noise made by neighboring wind farms, Maple Ridge and Copenhagen, pictured, when calculating its own noise impact.
“The Cuomo administration appears to have violated state law” by forcing developers of state-subsidized offshore wind-power plants to cut costly deals with construction unions, the Empire Center’s Ken Girardin reported last week.
Gary Abraham, the lawyer representing the Citizens Coalition and advocating for the concerns of the Swartzentruber Amish in the Farmersville area, also filed an extensive issues statement on a myriad of issues of concern to the coalition, including noise, wetland, seismic risk and other impacts. Abraham said, “These are not the Bliss and Eagle turbines. People who point to those and say, ‘hey, they are not that bad’, have no idea what they are talking about. These are up to 200 feet higher, 600 feet in total height. The town board votes in Freedom and Farmerville to put these 700 feet from residents’ property lines should be criminal.”
“I felt giving this huge multi-million dollar company tax relief on the backs of our taxpayers is wrong.” The company “already receives subsidies from the government,” she added. Vickman said afterward, “They should pay their fair share of taxes.”
The Farmersville Town Board voted 4-0 Monday to approve a new wind law allowing 600-foot wind turbines with smaller setbacks than the 2018 local law the Cattaraugus County Planning Board turned down. Board member Richard Westfall, who has a wind lease with Alle-Catt Wind Farm developer Invenergy, recused himself from voting. That meant all four remaining board members had to vote yes to provide the “supermajority” to overcome opposition from the county Planning Board.
Proposal spurred by rapid loss of New York open space to solar, wind farms
At the end, the opposition won, with the town board voting 4-0, with one abstention, to enact a stay on wind turbine development pending a town study to measure the potential impacts on "public health, safety and welfare, as well as other resources of the Town of Sanford." The moratorium lasts at least 90 days for the planning board-initiated review. The moratorium also prohibits erecting new meteorological towers by the sponsor to measure wind speed.
Of the combined 14 speakers in the two sessions, only one, Pinckney Supervisor Sherry Harmych, spoke in favor of the project. The others were all members of the Tug Hill Alliance for Rural Preservation, referred to as THARP. Half of those who spoke are part-time, seasonal or full-time residents in the project area. “It’s important they feel their voices can be considered when a decision is raised,” said Rebecca Sheldon, co-founder of THARP.
The supervisor said later he left the meeting because both the road agreement with Invenergy and the host community agreements are contracts. Karcher said his father-in-law has a lease with Invenergy and he couldn’t participate in the host community and highway use agreements. Karcher’s recusal left two town board members at the table: Deputy Supervisor Richard Zink and George Duncan. Councilman Richard Westfall, who has a wind lease and has been found to be conflicted, did not attend the special meeting, nor did Councilman Pamela Tilton.
In a two-page document hand-delivered to board members at the beginning of the special meeting, Farmersville United President Mark Heberling wrote: “We renew our request for 3,000-foot setbacks of turbines and facility components to property lines, 50dBA of noise at all times at property lines, a property value guarantee, shadow flicker limits of 30 hours or less and turbines of 450 feet or less at top height.” In addition, Herberling asked “all board members who have a lease with Invenergy or whose family member has an Invenergy lease (as defined in the Farmersville Code of Ethics) recuse themselves from any vote on a wind law.”
Atlantic Wind, a subsidiary of developer Avangrid Renewables, plans to erect 25 wind turbines for its 101.4-megawatt project in the towns of Pinckney and Harrisburg. Before construction can begin, however, the developer must earn a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need from the state through its Article 10 review process.
Collins, citing an agency white paper, said customs officials are concerned. “They are confirming the threat is not only real, but it would be devastating to know what’s coming across from Canada into the U.S. because this would be blocking all the way to the Canadian border,” Collins said. “These wind turbines would basically create a blackout area that would be a very large percentage of what we would be able to see all the way to the Canadian shore.”