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Only opponents speak up at hearing on wind farm  

CLAYTON, N.Y. – Only opposing comments about the proposed Horse Creek Wind Farm were heard Thursday during a hearing on its draft generic environmental impact statement.

The impact statement outlines the potential effects of the project. The study addresses noise and effects on scenic views and bird species. Attendees expressed concerns about all of these topics.

Residents said they learned of the proposed project only in the past six weeks, and asked for more time to study the issue.

“I will not stay if these go in,” said Dr. John W. Jepma, who lives on Miller Road in the middle of the project area. “There’s a thing called wind turbine syndrome now.”

Dr. Jepma, who practices medicine at the Clayton Family Health Center, said a portion of people near the project could suffer from headaches because of flicker and noise. He called for turbine setbacks of a mile and a half from homes. The town’s zoning calls for setbacks of 1,250 feet from homes.

The project would put 62 turbines between Gunns Corners and Depauville. Eight turbines would be in the adjacent town of Orleans.

Dr. Jepma and his wife, Deborah, started a concerned citizens group to research the effects of turbine development. They distributed fliers, and a group met last week, he said.

PPM Atlantic-Renewable developer William M. Moore said there are no studies that show turbines negatively affect health. Dr. Jepma said that while no studies prove turbines are health risks, there are no studies that prove they are not. More studies are needed, he said.

Mrs. Jepma asked the town-village Planning Board, which is handling the environmental review process, to form two groups, one to explore all the reasons why turbines should come to the town, another to present all the reasons why they shouldn’t.

Town Supervisor Justin A. Taylor said he was not surprised that only opponents of the wind farm spoke at the hearing.

“I think what we typically see during the public hearing phase, regardless of the type of project, is the opposition rather than the supporting side,” he said.

Mr. Taylor said the town went beyond what is legally required for public notice for the environmental review process. Every resident in Clayton was informed of the hearing via mail.

Barnes Corners ornithologist Gerald A. Smith said more studies must be done on the project’s potential impact on birds and their habitat.

“The wind power industry divides the environmental community more than any other issue,” he said.

Kathy Ward said she recently moved to Clayton from Lewis County. She does not understand why people would want the visual impact of turbines in Clayton.

“It no longer looks like Tug Hill; it looks like a bad art project that won’t go away,” Ms. Ward said of PPM’s Maple Ridge Wind Farm in Lewis County.

By Kelly Vadney

Publication: Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, NY)

Publication Date: 06/01/2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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