In the April 15 issue of the Watertown Daily Times, Harvey White asked in a letter if the Wind Power Ethics Group (WPEG) knew the difference between a DEIS and an FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement). I would like to answer.
Yes, Mr. White, we do know the difference. We know because we have read the comment letters sent to the Planning Board by the DEC and also the DPS. According to the New York State Department of Public Service in its comment letter of June 13, 2007, “Despite the specific nature of the comments filed, the Lead Agency proceeded to accept and issue for comment a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that is not complete, does not address any topic in sufficient detail or specificity to enable characterization of environmental effects or review of the probable nature of impacts.”
The DPS went on to say that it believed the Planning Board should restart the project by requiring the developer to file a Scoping Document. It seems that the Planning Board chose not to follow that recommendation. They did, however, issue a draft response letter to St. Lawrence Wind with 16 items which needed to be addressed. And yet the only thing we have heard from St. Lawrence Wind regarding these issues is a letter submitted to the Planning Board at its April 9 meeting which apparently said they will answer the request. If it took them 10 months to respond with that single page, how long will it be before the actual issues are addressed?
Mr. White also said that WPEG was incorrect in stating that there is a “gag order.” Maybe he chose to stop reading his contract once he got to the dollar amount, but had he continued he would see that there is indeed a confidentiality clause. He also said that he had only signed for wind rights to his property. Again, he must have missed the part of his contract that says unless specifically authorized by the developer, the owner shall not construct or locate, or permit to be constructed or located, barns, or other structures of more than 25 feet tall within the Wind Protection Area. That pretty much sounds to me like you are signing away part of your property rights.
As far as talking to people who know the factual benefits of turbines, it is my feeling that the best persons to listen to are not necessarily the landowners who have a contract or the developers who are trying to put as many wind turbines as they can in our area.
I choose instead to listen to the words of those who have already been through this process and are now living among the turbines. Such as Jane Davis, who lives more than half a mile from a wind farm in England. Her remarks can be seen at
And in Tug Hill there is the Yancey family, torn apart by the Maple Ridge Wind Farm. Their interview with National Public Radio can be listened to at
Finally, in response to Mr. White’s statement that he’s pretty sure the homeowners of the dozen or so new houses on the river are aware that there will be turbines in the area: Why are you so sure, Mr. White, didn’t you say that your contract is your business?
25 April 2008
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