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Quality of life at stake in wind plant debate

The next meeting of the citizens’ group that has formed to combat the location of 79 massive turbines in northern Potter County will make its strongest case yet against the proposed industrial wind plant.

That’s the word from Herb Miller, spokesman for Save God’s Country who calls the debate a “quality of life” issue. His organization will share its findings during a public meeting at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 6, at the Potter County Courthouse.

The group has been researching the wind plant issue and the performance of the AES Corporation, which operates more than 120 electrical power plants worldwide fueled by coal, oil, natural gas, wind and other energy sources.

“Everyone seems to agree on the need for ‘green energy,’ and that’s a strong selling point for wind, but there’s a lot more to the story than many people realize,” Miller said. “At the Feb. 6 meeting we’ll be able to make a pretty strong case that this project would be bad for Potter County.”

A PowerPoint presentation and a 15-minute video will be followed by a question and answer session.

Miller said he hopes an informed populace will pressure the Potter County Commissioners, Potter County Planning Commission and local governments in Ulysses and Hector Townships to push for a delay in the permitting process.

“Let’s get all of the facts first,” he said. “Let’s hear from all sides and fully understand what we’re getting ourselves into before we welcome this development. This is an important enough issue that we really need to be thorough.”

The AES plan calls for construction of 79 turbines on about 13,000 acres of leased property in the two townships. The machines are approximately feet high, with blades whirling at upwards of 200 miles per hour during optimum wind conditions. They would be linked to a new substation on Bailey Hill.

Save God’s Country cites the following concerns: damaging health effects, noise pollution, negative impact on wildlife, declining property values, construction of new roads and underground transmission lines, shadow flicker, negative impact on tourism, visual intrusion on the landscape, and absence of any direct energy benefits for Potter County.