With the talk of a wind farm sprouting in Sullivan County, New York, some members of the Upper Delaware Council (UDC) have expressed concern for the visual impact they could make on the Delaware River in this section.
Wind farms in the region are well known on the Pennsylvania side, where Waymart Wind Farm has commanded the view along the Moosic Ridge since 2003 generating electricity for FPL Energy.
Thursday night at the UDC session in Narrowsburg, Town of Fremont representative John Niflot asked if the Council has made any formal position on wind turbines. No, they haven’t, replied William Douglass, UDC’s Executive Director, although he said wind farms as well as cell towers need to be considered when they revise their River Management Plan.
These structures were not a factor when the present River Management Plan governing the Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River, went into effect in 1986. The Upper Delaware was designated by Congress as part of the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System, and the River Management Plan is overseen by the UDC. The Plan provides guidance for the preservation of the valued resources of the Upper Delaware corridor.
Presently federal funding to help facilitate the review and adoption of a revised plan is still pending. The National Park Service applied for the funds. The Plan is supposed to be reviewed after 20 years.
Phil Chase, who represents the NY Town of Deerpark on the UDC, interjected that he knew of “people who receive $6,000 a year to pollute a beautiful area with minimum electricity generated.” He commented that wind farms require a road connecting turbines, cutting through the land, where trespass then becomes an issue. Noise is also a factor, added Charles Wieland, the UDC delegate from the Town of Tusten.
Newspapers in Sullivan County, NY, reported on a proposal by Citizens Energy Corporation to build a wind farm near Liberty.
Added Chase, “I don’t want to see our beautiful visual area cut up… with towers 400 feet high.”
While the present River Management Plan does not specifically address wind farms or cell towers, it does take a stand against high voltage transmission lines above a certain magnitude, which has been applied to the current NYRI controversy. The UDC, among numerous other organizations, county and municipal governments, as well as the state of New York, have joined forces against New York Regional Interconnect (NYRI)’s high voltage direct current project. The nearly 200 mile route wwould carry approximately 400 volts of power from Oneida County to Orange county, NY to feed the New York City market which is in great demand for energy.
The UDC has taken a stand out of concern for a proposed route that would partly intersect the Upper Delaware corridor, with the towers and lines in view from the river.
Douglass stated that the latest he had heard was that NYRI was expecting to refile their application with the New York Public Service Commission, in September.
The Upper Delaware Council meets on the first Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the UDC offices, 211 Bridge St., Narrowsburg, NY. The office may be contacted at (845)252-3022.
By Peter Becker
6 July 2007
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