The Cape Vincent Wind Farm’s open house Saturday was as much a forum for protest as it was a pursuit of information.
Dozens of residents attended the open house put on by BP Alternative Energy, the company that has proposed the wind farm. Many attendees used the event not only to glean information, but to express their opinions about wind power.
Inside the Chaumont fire hall, Voters for Wind, a citizens group that promotes the Cape Vincent Wind Farm, held a bake sale and handed out pro-wind-farm signs and refrigerator magnets.
Outside, opposition, including members of the Wind Power Ethics Group, a citizens organization from Cape Vincent, gathered. Some carried signs protesting wind farm development.
Emelie M. Cuppernell, a member of Voters for Wind, helped run the group’s bake sale. Ms. Cuppernell said she lived near a nuclear power plant in Ontario, N.Y., for 17 years, and would prefer turbines in her community.
“I think we need to do something different to produce our energy,” she said.
Mrs. Cuppernell said she has about 120 acres of land in Lyme and would consider signing an agreement with a wind power developer.
Currently, the Cape Vincent Wind Farm is proposed on about 12,000 acres in the southern portion of Cape Vincent’s agricultural district. Plans for the project to include about 1,300 acres in Lyme are on hold because the town of Lyme is in a dispute with the town of Cape Vincent over control of the environmental review for those 1,300 acres.
Originally, the project sat on more than 15,000 acres, crossing the Cape Vincent-Lyme town line. Last winter, the Cape Vincent Planning Board declared itself lead agency for the environmental review for the entire project area, including the portion in Lyme. The town of Lyme then opened the dispute with the state Department of Enviromental Conservation.
Since the dispute opened, BP has proceeded with the environmental review for the 12,000-acre portion of the project in Cape Vincent, excluding the 1,300 acres in Lyme, while it waits for a response from the DEC.
Lyme also has a moratorium on wind farm development while it drafts zoning regulations for wind turbines.
Charles W. Mount, Chaumont, decided to take his “Voter for Wind” sign outside and march where the rest of the signs read in opposition. Mr. Mount said he has about 100 acres of land in Lyme but hasn’t decided to enter an agreement with a wind farm developer.
Mr. Mount said he chose to carry the sign because all property owners in Lyme have the right to decide for themselves what they want on their property.
“I can’t believe there’s enough negative about them to be worse than nuclear or coal power,” he said.
Peter J. Rogers, Three Mile Point, marched with a “No Wind Turbines” sign. Mr. Rogers said he is concerned about the “visual pollution” wind turbines would create “It’s a 450-foot monstrosity that will be up in the air for 50 years,” Mr. Rogers said of a wind turbine.
Urban C. Hirschey, chairman of the Wind Power Ethics Group, displayed a poster of the St. Lawrence Wind Farm, which is proposed in the northern portion of Cape Vincent’s agricultural district.
“This is one of the few opportunities we have to visit the public,” he said.
Representatives from the Cape Vincent Wind Farm were unfazed by the half-dozen people who chose to walk in protest outside the fire hall.
“Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion and their own concerns,” said Marion Trieste, of Green Energy Outreach Services. “This is America.” BP hired Ms. Trieste’s company to do outreach work, said Cape Vincent Wind Farm project manager James H. Madden.
Mr. Madden said he received the most questions about the noise and visual impact of turbines.
In August, the company measured sound levels at seven locations throughout Cape Vincent and Lyme 24 hours a day for two weeks. It plans to do so again in November, when there is no longer leaf cover. The goal, Mr. Madden said, is to be able to tell residents how loud turbines will be, taking into consideration the noise that is already present at various wind speeds.
The company presented, at the meeting, digitally composed pictures of what turbines would look like.
By Kelly Vadney
Watertown Daily Times
14 October 2007
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