Steuben Greens lead charge against local wind farms: Host session in Hornell for critics of proposed area projects
The idea of wind farm development locally isn’t a popular one. At least at the corner of Main and Hakes.
Steuben Greens hosted a panel discussion on wind issues Thursday night, with a number of the speakers saying wind power wasn’t worth it.
Brad Jones, a lifelong environmentalist who lives on a conservation project, spoke of the promises of wind energy. He explained that a typical wind farm has 50 wind turbines, each spread out over 4-6 acres of land, and each turbine approximately 400-feet tall.
Jones said UPC Wind, a company that develops wind farms, promises the institution of wind farms will mean a reduction of energy costs, no dependence on foreign oil, reduction of carbon monoxide gas and global warming and production of clean, abundant and renewable energy.
He noted, however, only 3 percent of electricity comes from oil, and only some of that from foreign oil. He also said wind energy is not reliable, as a wind turbine requires steady 27 mph winds.
Jones also is concerned with storage capacity, because there is no place to store the power not used right away. He also said wind turbines are not always safe, because you have to take into account poor weather conditions and noise.
“Wind turbines are not good neighbors,” Jones said.
Barry Mille of Hinsdale worked on a wind farm in California for nearly 30 years. He said it is easy for a wind turbine to malfunction, and blades to fly off or gear boxes to malfunction. This could pose a serious safety risk.
Jones said also it is estimated a wind farm has the capability to kill between 50,000 and 250,000 birds, bats and raptors in one year. He added there have been reports of 22 new bald eagles in the area this year.
Jones estimates the 20-year economic impact of a wind farm to cost a loss of $141 million. He said more energy isn’t needed upstate, but rather downstate, if at all. He also said that Europeans are getting rid of their wind farms.
“We’re too stupid, we’re too ignorant,” he said. “That’s why they (UPC Wind) are here.”
Steve Trude, Cohocton Wind Watch president, spoke about the financial effects of wind developments. He said in our electric bills, we already pay for wind developments through an RPS, or renewables, charge.
Trude said one of the main reasons for building wind farms is to combat global warming, but he also said the polar ice caps are not just melting on Earth, but on Mars as well.
“This is a human issue, it’s a moral issue,” said James Hall, of Cohocton Wind Watch, who gave an update of lawsuits.
He said the decision makers must be held responsible, and the rational approach is to use the courts. He is calling for a statewide investigation of wind farm companies.
“What in the world are we doing destroying our natural resources to produce electricity that will never be used?” he said.
Hall said this is all a political pay-off, and if wind turbines were such a benefit, they would be taxed at full value. He said where wind farms are placed could prevent property owners from being able to build on their own land.
“It’s our lives, it’s our future, it’s our children’s legacy,” he said.
Valerie Gardner and Jack Ossont, from Democracy NY, a not-for-profit corporation to encourage community education, talked about how a community can assert itself. They said wind farms are an issue of who gets to decide what happens in their community, and they noted corporations are trying to use the 14th Amendment, meant to protect minorities, to protect themselves.
Ossont and Gardner urged everyone to make a difference at the local level. Ossont said a town acting out forces a corporation to respond.
“The only place we have any power left is at the local level,” Ossont said.
There will be a public hearing regarding wind farms held from 7-9 p.m. tonight at the Cohocton Elementary School, 30 Maples Ave. in Cohocton.
By Jen Carpenter – Staff Writer
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