The towns of Clinton and Ellenburg have accepted the final environmental impact statement from Marble River Wind Farm as complete.
Both town councils unanimously voted to accept the impact statement at recent public meetings.
Project Manager Charles Turlinski said almost no changes were made to the final statement.
Horizon Wind Energy anticipates building a 218-megawatt wind farm consisting of 109 turbines in the two towns – 88 in Clinton and 21 in Ellenburg – starting this spring.
The facility will generate enough electricity to power 60,000 homes.
“We’re still awaiting a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the New York State Public Service Commission and our wetlands permit from the Department of Environmental Conservation, but we don’t anticipate any delays,” Turlinski said.
He said construction is expected to begin in May, once the remaining permits are obtained.
“We feel like we’re in good working order. Our aim is to construct most of the project in 2008.”
Ellenburg Town Supervisor James McNeil praised the project, which is projected to contribute more than $3.7 million in annual payments to participating landowners, neighbors and the town and county governments.
McNeil said the Jan. 31 special town meeting “went very well.”
About 12 people showed up, but there were no comments for or against the impact statement, he said.
Town Council members unanimously voted in favor of the project.
“One member (Gary Bombard) refused to vote because he has ties to the project. The other three voted for the project.”
A handful of residents also attended a special meeting Jan. 31 in Clinton, said Town Supervisor Michael Filion, and no one spoke in opposition to the project.
Filion said two council members, Calvin Sears and Jane Nichols, abstained from voting to avoid a potential conflict of interest. Filion and the remaining two council members, Lawrence Lagree and Robert Rushford, voted unanimously to approve the impact statement.
He said the town still has to complete its statement of findings and iron out the road-maintenance and financial agreements.
“I feel good about the Marble River project. It is a well-thought-out project, and it will have less impact than any other project done in the area.
“One of our main concerns was to have the least possible power poles visible. This has been done by Marble River strategically placing the poles in the woods and burying cables underground where possible.”
Turlinski said Horizon Wind Energy has valued the residents’ and town councils’ concerns for the project, which began in 2002 by measuring the area’s wind capacities.
“We walk into a community, and we realize that we’re guests. We try to do our homework and create projects that people can be proud of.”
By Rachael Osborne
7 February 2008
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