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UPC seeks road agreement with public works department  

The Steuben County Public Works Committee could be asked Tuesday to approve a road repair agreement for the possible transport of wind turbine machinery on county roads in the town of Prattsburgh.

If submitted, the agreement would be the second request the committee has received in 10 days from wind developer UPC.

On Monday, the Public Works Committee met in special session to approve the first agreement with UPC/Canandaigua Power Partners for road use in the town of Cohocton. The full Legislature approved the agreement later Monday morning, and gave the committee the ability to act on future agreements without requiring a vote by the full board.

Under the agreement, UPC/Canandaigua Power Partners will be held liable for any damage to county roads caused by trucks delivering wind mill components and equipment to the Cohocton site, which will hold 51 wind turbines, each 400 feet high.

UPC has requested a similar agreement be approved for its proposed site in Prattsburgh.

Lawrence Mott, UPC projects manager, said the request was a way to take care of future business without the need for a special committee meeting.

“I figured, why not do this while the paint’s still fresh?” Mott said.

Monday’s agreement came after the county posted a 10-ton weight limit on two county roads in Cohocton on Aug 24. County Public Works Commissioner VIncent Spagnoletti said haulers for UPC ignored earlier requests from officials to wait to use county roads on Cohocton until the agreement had been signed.

The limit did not affect local traffic and could be lifted today, after the study of road conditions required by the county is completed.

The agreement would also require a study of county roads in Prattsburgh, where town officials are expected to vote on a hosting agreement with UPC on Sept. 11.

Town Supervisor harold McConnell declined to give specifics on the negotiations he said are “99.5 percent complete.”

James Sherron, executive director of the county Industrial Development Agency, said UPC/WindFarm Prattsburgh has basically completed all environmental review requirements.

Remaining issues included setbacks for two towers, one of which has been removed from the project, he said.

UPC will also use underground cables for transmissions, Sherron said.

SCIDA is required to hold a public hearing before issuing financial incentives for the Prattsburgh project.

UPS was the first wind farm developer in the county, proposing the Prattsburgh project in early 2002. A rival firm, EcoGen, also proposed a wind farm in the town, but has not been able to reach financial agreements with the school district, according to SCIDA minutes for July 26.

The Prattsburgh projects, and others proposed in Cohocton, Howard and Hartsville have stirred strong opposition from residents who say the projects are inefficient electrical generators, and pose serious threats to humans and the natural environment.

Wind farm opponent Al Wordingham, of Prattsburgh, said the road repair agreement only means UPC can use the roads and prepare sites.

“They can work, they just can’t put anything up.” Wordingham said.

Wind farm supporters say the turbines are an important source of renewable energy and provide significant revenues for small towns.

The UPC hsting agreement with the Town of Cohocton calls for the town to receive nearly $11.5 million during the next 20 years, with an initial payment of $725,000 in January 2008.

Typically, later payments will average about $500,000 annually, according to the agreement.

Mott said the road repair agreement for county roads in Prattsburgh is just another step.

“I have lots of work yet to do to ensure we’ve satisfied Prattsburgh’s process,” Mott said. “I am not making claims that we’re ready to go ahead with the project.”

By Mary Perham

Corning Leader

1 September 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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