A public hearing is set to happen on June 27th where town leaders in Cohocton are expected to grant developer U.P.C. Wind the permits it needs to begin construction on close to 50 wind turbines across the farmland there.
“We’re going to have eleven turbines within a mile of our house,” said Cohocton neighbor, Judy Hall, who is against the project. “Our house is right smack dab in the middle of farmland.”
Judy and her husband, Jim, say they are suspicious about the proposed wind turbine project. “Up until this point, laws have been absolutely violated, procedure has been created to favor certain people at the expense of the public,” said Jim Hall.
The developer, U.P.C. Wind, has already constructed several wind testing towers to test levels across the area.
But the Halls say while farmers will benefit from leasing out their land to U.P.C., the turbines will hurt neighbors’ property values, cause physical harm to animals, and noise pollution.
“There’s a horrid noise every time one of the blades passes the tower,” said Judy Hall, “which people say is like a ‘thump thump’ noise.”
But town leaders say the entire community will benefit. “I can frame it this way,” said Town Councilman Wayne Hall. “Our total annual budget is now around $750,000. Thsi project, at the bare minimum, will produce $250,000 in tax revenue for our town.”
Hunt says those funds will go to the fire department, libraries, schools, and highway maintenance.
He says farming is Cohocton’s one and only industry, and the farmers there, like farmers across the country, are experiencing financial difficulties.
Farmers who lease their land to U.P.C. will receive a flat sum of money per year, per wind turbine.
They will also receive around $5300 per megawatt produced.
Each turbine, according to U.P.C. Wind, will produce about 2.5 megawatts per year. U.P.C. profits by selling the clean power to power distributors, including NYSEG.
They will also benefit from several tax and other incentives at the state and federal levels directed at green power generation.
By Ana Liss
14 June 2007
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