CLAYTON – A new environmental group is expressing concerns with the Horse Creek Wind Farm.
Members of Environmentally Concerned Citizens Organization of Jefferson County, which is headed by John W. Jepma, previously identified themselves to the Times as an informal gathering of concerned citizens.
Vice President Patricia A. Booras-Miller said the group, which has members from the towns of Clayton, Orleans and Brownville, is opposed to the Horse Creek Wind Farm.
“The proposed turbines in Clayton and Orleans, we’re against them, number one,” she said.
Ms. Booras-Miller said the organization is not opposed to all wind farms. The proposed Horse Creek Wind Farm would be between Depauville and Gunns Corners, and the group believes that is not an appropriate site for turbines because it is too close to the St. Lawrence River and a sensitive wildlife habitat, she said.
Comments on the Horse Creek Wind Farm’s Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement, which contains environmental studies, were due July 15. Statements from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reflect a number of its concerns. The service called for additional studies in several areas.
“The DEIS does not contain adequate information regarding potential impacts of the project on wildlife and additional environmental review is necessary,” wrote David A Stilwell, field supervisor for the service. “The DEIS does not contain sufficient information on streams, wetlands and other habitat types. Significant data are lacking for reptiles and amphibians and migrating, breeding and wintering birds as well as bats.”
Clayton Planning Board Chairman Roland A. “Bud” Baril said he has not had time to review all comments submitted. The board will hold a workshop meeting today to map out how to best proceed through the state environmental review process, he said.
Mr. Baril said Environmental Data Resources Inc., a consulting company from Millford, Conn., that works for Horse Creek Wind Farm, will sort through the comments and break them down for the town.
“This process is going to take a learning curve for Planning Board members,” he said.
Mr. Baril added that the board does not plan to solely rely on EDR for advice and will bring in unbiased experts when needed.
While the public is welcome to attend today’s meeting, there will not be any votes or an opportunity for public comment, Mr. Baril said.
William M. Moore, project manager for the Horse Creek Wind Farm, said the company will respond to U.S. Fish and Wildlife.
“Their comments are so important, we’re going to have very extensive comments in return,” he said.
By Kelly Vadney
Publication: Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, NY)
Publication Date: 07/26/2007