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Fairfield woman claims wind project would harm daughter


By Joe Parmon – Telegram Staff Writer

HERKIMER – A town of Fairfield resident claims her daughter is in danger of adverse health impacts if a proposed wind energy project is pushed through in the towns of Fairfield and Norway.

Resident Lisa Sementilli told county legislators during Wednesday night’s session that her 10-year-old daughter suffers from a severe hearing problem that would only be aggravated by the noise produced by the wind turbines.

Atlantic Renewable has proposed to construct a series of 65-70 wind turbines in the towns.

Sementilli said he has talked with several doctors, including pediatricians who have experienced dealing with conditions related to windmill noise, about her concerns.

“Every doctor tells me that the background noise created by windmills would be detrimental to her,” said Sementilli. “She would not be able to function in everyday living with all of the special things I have to do for her. We would be in the midst of these towers, they would be in front of and behind us.”

She urged legislators to consider the potential health impacts the towers might have before the financial benefits the project is expected to bring the towns, school district and county.

Sementilli said she attempted to air her concerns during a meeting of the Fairfield town board earlier in the week, but said she was denied an opportunity to speak. Fairfield resident Andy McEvoy, who has spoken out against windmills at prior legislature meetings, said he was also denied a chance to speak at the meeting.

Fairfield Town Supervisor Frank Matthews said the reason they were not allowed to speak was because the town’s attorney has advised the town not to accept any more public comment on the matter.

Matthews said residents have had a chance to speak out in the issue, with their concerns being addressed in a draft environmental impact statement that is being prepared.

“We have been working on answers to those questions. The questions have already been answered,” said Matthews.

Matthews said, though, officials “hope to get some answers” regarding Sementilli’s particular concerns.

He added that negotiations have been ongoing with the West Canada Valley school district for nearly a year on a payment in lieu of taxes arrangement, saying that the West Canada school board this week accepted an offer.

“The school district and town are on board and we are looking forward to meeting with the county and continuing negotiations,” said Matthews.