CENTERVILLE – The deadline for comments on a draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Noble Allegany Wind Park power generation project has been extended. The new deadline on the 67-turbine project in the Allegany County towns of Centerville and Rushford is April 17.
The Connecticut-based Noble Environmental Power hopes to add the facility to its array that includes five proposed or electrified projects in northern New York and one each in Michigan, Vermont and New Hampshire. Noble has just powered up portions of the 67-turbine Noble Bliss Wind Park in the nearby Wyoming County Town of Bliss and is in the process of beginning construction of a similar facility in Wethersfield.
The Bliss wind park will contribute power to Noble’s lucrative renewable energy contract that was awarded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority less than a year ago and runs through 2017. The company has not yet submitted an application for a permit in the towns of Farmersville or Freedom, next door to Centerville, in Cattaraugus County, where a number of leases for turbine sites have been secured, but has taken steps to begin prospecting for sites in the Town of Hanover in Chautauqua County.
The Centerville Town Board, as lead agency in that project’s state environmental quality review, held a public hearing last Monday that was attended by about 75 residents, property owners and officials from neighboring towns that have also been approached by Noble.
“Other than the railroad at the turn of the century, this is the biggest thing to ever happen here,” said Town Supervisor Frank Sardina when he opened the hearing.
About a dozen of the 16 people who spoke during the hearing pointed out negative impacts due to noise, tower placement near homes and the exemption from setback requirements.
But several said they believe the project will be good for the town and increase revenues to improve roads and services, as well provide additional income for residents.
Some claimed the project has infringed on their rights to develop their property and expressed fears that property values will drop. Others asked the town to require more information from Noble and faulted some of the data provided in the draft environmental impact statement, while some criticized the board for its procedures in the project review.
Several suggested board members have already decided to permit the facility, but Sardina said the board hasn’t made a decision yet.
“We still have no opinion,” he added.
Several times he urged townspeople to back up their comments with evidence and to stay involved, to pay attention to public notices and a newsletter he has published since the wind park became an issue.
“We want to hear what is substantiated by reliable resources,” Sardina said.
By Kathy Kellogg
31 March 2008
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding