The Irondequoit Town Board may be the next local political body asked to come out in opposition to the proposal for wind farms in Lake Ontario, though two board members say they’ve got some learning to do first.
The boards of shoreline towns on either side of Irondequoit – Webster and Greece – have passed resolutions in recent weeks expressing opposition to the New York Power Authority’s plan for offshore wind turbines. In addition, 12 Monroe County legislators have signed a resolution of opposition, though 17 others opted not to sign.
Members of Great Lakes Concerned Citizens, which has been lobbying lawmakers all along the Lake Ontario shoreline, have said several times that Irondequoit is their next target.
But while the matter will be discussed, no resolution is in the immediate offing, one Irondequoit board member said.
“It’s on our table, or will be soon. The supervisor mentioned that in our next meeting or so we’re going to start studying it and talking about it,” said Paul Marasco. “I don’t think there will be any resolution in the next couple of months.”
Another board member, Stephanie Aldersley, said one opponent had spoken before the board so far.
“She was kind of warning us about the downside of wind turbines. But in all honesty, our board has not yet studied the issue fully or taken a unified position on it,” she said.
“I personally need to educate myself more about them,” Aldersley said.
Lack of information about the proposed wind farms has been a persistent criticism. The power authority has been promoting the project for two years and in June began reviewing five proposals from private-sector wind developers.
But the Westchester-based authority won’t release any information about the proposals, including where the developers are seeking to erect turbines.
Numerous places along the Lake Ontario and Lake Erie shorelines were listed as “technically suitable” for off-shore turbines in a power authority study, including the area from the town of Greece east to Webster and into Wayne County.
The agency said it will make details public after it selects a developer.
Carmen Gumina, a Monroe County legislator whose Webster district includes that town’s shoreline, said Thursday evening that his unwillingness to sign the county resolution was due to the fact that “there’s so little information out there, I cannot make an informed decision at this time.”
“I’m just waiting for more info to come out, to look at the merits of the project,” he said.
He said his refusal to sign the opponents’ resolution “doesn’t imply that I am for the project.”
Gumina, a Republican, also said he was “disappointed that the power authority has not been forthcoming with details and has basically ignored Freedom of Information requests. I would expect that they would be more forthcoming for a project like this.”
His reference was to Freedom of Information Law requests for copies of the five proposals. One was filed by the Democrat and Chronicle in June, and another was filed this week by state Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, Niagara County.
The request by Maziarz, who chairs the Senate energy committee, is still pending. The authority has denied the FOIL request filed by the newspaper but is a month beyond the legal deadline for responding to an appeal of the denial.
A spokeswoman for the authority, Connie Cullen, said Friday the agency expects to release a decision on the newspaper’s FOIL appeal next week.
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