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Bovina wind survey finds concern

The results of a survey on wind power by the town of Bovina released Monday night indicated most residents were concerned about turbines.

The survey, conducted in January, contacted all 870 of Bovina’s residents and asked for opinions on dozens of topics related to wind-power generation.

A survey last fall by the Alliance For Bovina, opponents of large wind turbines, asked two questions in a yes-or-no format.

Those results showed more than 80 percent of the town’s residents opposed the large, industrial turbines.

While the town survey’s results were less clearly defined, “a majority of people are concerned about wind turbines,” Councilman Randall Inman said.

Like other Delaware County towns, Bovina officials are wrestling with a variety of issues and opinions as they consider laws to regulate wind-power generation for individual or industrial use.

There are no specific proposals for wind turbines in Bovina, but Chicago-based Invenergy has proposed a line of them along a ridge line between the town and its neighbor to the northwest, the town of Stamford.

Alliance members on Monday criticized the newly released survey commissioned by the town as “biased, confusing, and misleading.”

But the town’s consultant, Tom Shepstone, called the survey “a pretty reliable instrument” that showed “a lot more agreement than disagreement” on the wind-turbine issue.

Attempts to contact town Supervisor Tina Mole by telephone Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Asked in the survey if wind farms would be an asset or a liability to the area, 387 said they would be a liability, while 115 said wind farms would be an asset.

The three-page town survey also asked residents if there were benefits to wind power and how strong their concerns were on several issues including impact on the landscape and noise.

Larry Karam, co-director of the alliance, said the town survey’s “confusing and biased nature makes it a disaster.”

“It should be rescinded,” he said. A petition created by the alliance has been posted on the group’s website, and Karam said 380 Bovina taxpayers and voters have signed it to protest the town survey.

Both surveys were expected to have reached all of the town’s taxpayers and voters, and both received a response rate of greater than 60 percent.

Both surveys show residents are mostly ambivalent toward smaller wind turbines, such as those that might be suitable for farm use, for example.

By Dana Cudmore

Staff Writer

8 February 2007