The Concerned Citizens of Cattaraugus County discussed one of the latest issues on its agenda Thursday – responsible placement of wind towers in the Southern Tier.
The watchdog group which monitors a variety of environmental issues, talked about recent proposals to place wind farms in several areas.
While not against the concept of wind farms, most in the group agreed they do not want to see large groupings of wind turbines lining the ridges of the Enchanted Mountains.
With wind farms proposed for areas such as Allegany, Carrollton, Limestone, Portville, Centerville and Farmersville, many people have taken interest in the concept of wind power.
One group of people calling themselves the Allegany Wind Farm Committee have taken a proactive stance against putting large wind towers in the town of Allegany.
Group founder Don Black, attending the meeting Thursday, said the group is “not opposed to wind power, but was opposed to putting them on the Enchanted Mountains.”
He pointed out the towers can range in size from 320 feet to 420 feet – far taller than any trees, which average about 60 feet in height. The ends of the blades can reach higher than the top of the Statue of Liberty, he added.
The group has 42 members and is in the process of collecting signatures to submit to the Allegany Town Board.
Also in attendance at the meeting was Gary Abraham, who has been involved with a lawsuit against the Centerville Town Board regarding its local law allowing wind turbines in the town and the distances of the wind turbines from homes and property lines.
While the town board established a perimeter of 1,000 feet from a tower to a home, the law “has no regard for property lines,” Mr. Abraham said.
Mr. Abraham went on to describe many safety concerns regarding wind turbines.
Among the concerns are blades breaking off and being thrown as far away as 500 feet, noise pollution, construction needed to get turbines onto wind farm sites, disruption to wildlife, affects on property values and long-term responsibility for the towers themselves.
Some at the meeting were there to gather information, such as Don and Beverly Holcomb of Portville. Mr. Holcomb farms land in the area and said the difficulties of farming have him “looking at some other means of income. I’m here to get more information,” he added.
As far as the Concerned Citizens group, their plan is to provide information and closely monitor companies such as Noble Environmental Power and Everpower Renewables, which are proposing some of the projects.
“Wind power is a great thing if it’s done responsibly,” said Barry Miller of the Concerned Citizens, who organized the meeting with about a dozen people in attendance.
Mr. Miller said he has extensive experience, having managed wind farms in California for about 20 years. Despite his background in wind power, he said he did not think wind farms were right for this area.
“I never dreamed I would have been doing this,” he said of opposing wind turbines. “I like wind turbines … it was the job I loved most.”
The Concerned Citizens said they are planning an informational meeting for the end of July which would further explore the concept of wind farms, Mr. Miller said.
The meeting will likely bring in some experts in the wind farm field and include a question and answer session. A date and place of the meeting will be announced at a later date.
For more information on the Concerned Citizens of Cattaraugus County, visit on the Web http://concernedcitizens.homestead.com. For information on the Allegany Wind Farm Committee e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
15 June 2007
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