March 17, 2011
New York

Hammond reacts to wind ruling

By Matt McAllister, The Journal, 17 March 2011

HAMMOND – Iberdrola Renewables’ recent removal of the proposed Stone Church Wind Farm from a state list of potential energy projects could signal the beginning of the end for the project, but what happens next is really up to the town board, people on both sides of the issue said Wednesday.

“I understand from the letter that Iberdrola can pick up where they left off when they decide to,” said Michele W. McQueer, a member of the wind advisory committee who opposes the panel’s proposed recommendations to the town. “If the board adopts the recommendations made by the majority committee, there will be no project. Their sound standard and the setbacks, or one or the other, are too excessive and unreasonable. And neither will permit a project.”

Concerned Residents of Hammond President Mary D. Hamilton supports committee’s recommendations and is urging residents to let town board members know whether they also support them.

“We feel the recommendations that have been made by the wind committee protect all residents of Hammond and should be adopted in their entirety,” she said. “Given the state of the economy, the fact subsidies for renewable energy are on the chopping block, as well as their uncertain financial situation, Iberdrola may be taking this opportunity to rethink their business plan and have decided the Hammond project is not lucrative at this point.”

The committee has made recommendations that include guarantees from Iberdrola that the project will not adversely affect property values, a complaint resolution plan, and the creation of a project oversight control board.

Suggested setbacks are one and a half miles from Route 12 for 500-foot-tall wind turbines and one mile from Route 12 for turbines of 375 feet or shorter; 3,000 feet around village limits; 3,000 feet from the center of all public roads and non-participants property lines; and 1,000 feet from all state and federal wetlands.

Additionally, the committee adopted noise standards of three separate limits for different times of the day: 45 decibels from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; 40 decibels from 7 to 10 p.m., and 35 decibels from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Iberdrola’s most recent letter to the town board outlining the company’s reasoning behind removing the project from the New York Independent System Operator’s interconnection queue list echoed Mrs. McQueer’s sentiments.

“It appears they may be attempting to put the onus back on the town board regarding the action on the recommendations,” said Mrs. Hamilton.

Despite her minority status on the wind committee, Mrs. McQueer said she is confident the board will promote the project.

“The economic ramifications are too great to ignore,” Mrs. McQueer said. “The individuals opposing this project have already lived their lives. We have to think about our children’s future so that they can live theirs. There are too many wind developments out there to compare their positive economic impacts with, and to not take their experience and run with it is archaic thinking.”

A special town board meeting will be held on March 28 at 7 p.m. in the town office to review the wind advisory committee’s recommendations.

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