Some neighbors in Steuben County could be forced to allow a controversial wind farm project to move ahead. The town board Monday night voted to use eminent domain if needed to get the job done.
That issue is whether property owners should be forced to grant easements or permission for a cable to run underground connecting the huge wind turbines. The town board voted three to two to use the power of eminent domain, if needed.
Wind Farm Developer UPC plans on building 36 wind turbines. 48 properties in Prattsburgh would be affected by the project. They said only eight property owners have not been able to be reached, refused or they’re still negotiating.
UPC told a crowd of nearly one hundred the project would provide enough power for more than 20,000 homes and save the town thousands of dollars in taxes.
UPC has been going through negotiations with the town since July of last year. The only requirement the town asked was to make sure the cables will be buried under the roads.
“This wind farm will produce electricity for many New York homes without any emissions, and also it’s domestic produced in New York State. It’s not having to get energy from another part of the world.” said Chris Swartley from UPC Wind.
The crowd was split between neighbors against having wind farms move into their town and others who feel very strongly about wind energy being the future.
“Our town board has declared eminent domain and is taking property away from landowners in this town, something that hopefully will cause a lot of groups to join us in a lawsuit against them.” said Nancy Wahlstrom.
“Nobody seems to make a difference. They’re still using the same amount of gas, the prices are going up, the emissions are still going up, we’ve got to take the steps to make change.” said Mara Parker.
UPC said they will continue negotiating with the eight property owners.
The Town Supervisor said within the next 30 days the town will hold a public hearing where you can express your concerns.
Reported by: Raegan Medgie
22 April 2008
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