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Last call on wind farms in Gorham  

A public hearing Wednesday may be residents’ last chance to offer their 2 cents on windmill regulations.

The town has discussed a proposed law for more than a year.

As it stands, Gorham is poised to effectively ban large-scale wind farms, the type that generate power for sale to the grid, by setting a lower-than-standard height restriction.

The current draft would allow turbines of 300 feet or lower; typical commercial turbines are about 400 feet tall.

Empire State Wind Energy CEO Keith Pitman confirmed that the height restriction of 300 would eliminate most commercial interest in Gorham.

Though some residents have argued against windmills, West Swamp Road resident David Eldredge has put up a sign supporting wind energy.

“We have to come up with an alternative source for electricity,” said Eldredge, who was working as a manager for New York State Electric & Gas during the blackout of August 2003. He also worked for 10 years at Greenidge Station, a coal-fired plant on Seneca Lake in Dresden.

“There is no way to completely stop them from polluting,” he said of coal plants. “I would have a windmill if I could afford one. … I wouldn’t mind a wind farm.”

“I wouldn’t mind it either,” said his neighbor, Jim Pease of Robson Road.

Pease owns land on Bassage Road and his father, Ed, owns land nearby.

“There aren’t many houses on that road, so if we did something, we wouldn’t be bothering anybody,” said Jim Pease. He and his father might not choose to put up a wind farm now, but they would want the option.

Ed Pease agreed.

“We need to use our wind resource,” he said. “It doesn’t take anything away from the Earth. From a financial standpoint, a wind farm is better than farming.”

Ed Pease said he doesn’t know if his land is suited for windmills but he’d like to explore it.

“I don’t think we can depend on wind energy solely, but it could take a lot of the pressure off the other resources used for energy,” he said.

Ed Pease’s daughter, Joane Elwell of Robson Road, doesn’t own enough property to put up a wind farm, but she doesn’t mind that her father and brother might consider such a prospect.

“I have absolutely no problem with windmills going up around me,” said Elwell. “We need to be looking forward. We can’t bury our heads in the sand about how we generate electricity and the repercussions down the road for future generations.”

Another neighbor, John Frank of County Road 29, a former Town Board member, has also been outspoken at town meetings defending wind energy.

Wednesday’s hearing begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Town Hall, 4736 South St.

mpnnow.com

7 August 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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