I was invited to attend our neighboring Cohocton Planning Board Public Hearing this evening for more public interventions on the proposed (52) wind turbines to be developed by UPC on Cohocton hillsides.
As a resident and business/property owner of Naples, my interest is to become more educated on the positive and negative impacts of wind turbines affecting me and the environment I chose to live in. My objective review of this two hour meeting left me quite disappointed and fearful of my business future and the beauty of the region I call home. After the meeting was called to order, and the Town Board announced that it would appreciate two – three minute presentations from the public, the UPC project manager current proposed developer, took twenty minutes, with his power point presentation, to basically say that the company completed the numerous mandated studies placed upon them, with a list of the highlighted studies, not noting results of each. Impressive was the list of investigations, and though, I’m certain I could request the printed results, was not offered a printout for my viewing. I did have many questions regarding the studies, but this particular town meeting did not have the time to take questions from it’s audience. (I learned later that the town now requires a 7 day written notice if you would like to speak up at any of their town board meetings!)
However, in the next 1.5 hours the audience heard from many speakers, who signed up to have an opportunity to voice their opinions, most in opposition to the wind farm project. As an observer, I learned some valuable information recurrent wind projects around the state, country and world for that matter. I heard so many reports of studies of current wind farms that have reported major dissatisfaction from the beginning process of construction (many unfinished projects) to the impact economically, environmentally, property devaluations, unresolved responsibilities to proper maintenance of highways, properties involved, and personal sufferings. Many presenters spoke with comprehensive study results, which the general public understood. I felt educated from the standpoint of the opposers to these wind turbines, desiring more information.
If these wind turbines are constantly in the public forum everywhere, what are the positive attributes to our surroundings with them. With each speaker coming to the podium, I anxiously awaited for someone to provide me with why we should all support the creation of these 400 -500 foot towers, how they will impact me and my environment in Naples, or how they will actually save me from my huge gas and electric bill monthly. Again, what a disappointment not to hear anyone living in that community provide me with any significant information, other than “what an opportunity for the local farmers leasing their property to make some money, after all it is their land”. Another speaker in favor only commented that “Cohocton should take a stand and support UPC and their development, this is our town”. The general public in favor offered no concrete reasoning, other than financial, why they support this project!
I was so disappointed not to hear something conclusive to convince me that I CAN live with viewing these metal towers from all points in my lovely village of Naples, 300 – 400 feet above the beautiful treetops bordering our majestic hills. Disappointed again, I garnered no documented evidence that these turbines will be good for my family, my neighbors, our health or how we will all benefit from them. No promises that they will not negatively affect our wildlife, property values, ground stability/erosions/contamination, tourism, economic growth, etc. If only someone would take my current electric and gas bill, my current county and school tax bills, and show me in percentages, how these obstructions of my viewing environment, will positively affect my checkbook.
I will admit, it was not a waste of my time to spend two hours on a Friday night listening to the “Why’s” I cannot support these wind turbines at this time. What I learned tonight was that there is still not enough evidence that this much destruction of land, destruction of communities that once were cohesive, is worth the financial gain for so few lease holders. Everyone needs to slow down, stop reacting so quickly to something that we don’t know enough about yet. Work together as a community to realize the best results for, not only you today, but for your children and theirs, in the years to come.
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