Robin Holevinski isn’t opposed to wind power, but she is a staunch environmentalist.
At a short public hearing at the Howard Town Hall Wednesday night, concerns about the environmental impacts of a 27-turbine wind farm were discussed. Holevinski, a wildlife biologist and McBeth Road resident, explained why she thinks a little more research needs to be conducted to make sure local wildlife is protected.
“This spring, I have observed northern harriers there,” said Holevinski, of the 39 acres of private land south of Spencer Hill and South Woods roads where EverPower Renewables will likely build two additional turbines. The bird, commonly known as a marsh hawk, appears on the state Department of Environmental Conservation list as a threatened species.
The hearing was a chance for the public and members on the Howard Planning Board to voice concerns on a Draft Environmental Impact Statement that will be submitted to the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency.
Holevinski said she spotted the northern harriers a mile from the proposed site of the new turbines.
“I’m concerned about that because harriers are fairly wide ranging species and could be in the vicinity of the turbines,” she said. “Studies should be conducted on the population.”
Holevinski outlined a DEC statute No. 182.8 that states “no person shall take or engage in any activity that is likely to result in a take of any species listed as threatened or endangered species.”
EverPower Renewables has told town officials it plans on having the wind farm functional by October.
Jerry Hedman asked about the presence of increased “runoff and siltation on South Woods road” and a few residents mentioned how several residents will lose their scenic views.
Others expressed total approval of the project, sauch as Lorna Koots.
“I feel it’s a privilege to be a part of something that’s going to bring more renewable energy,” she said at the hearing.
A complete copy of the DEIS statement is available at the town hall.
Frank Pavia, an attorney for SCIDA that works for Harris Beach LLC, said the final DEIS will address the valid environmental questions raised. He said written statements will be accepted until June 7 and can be sent to SCIDA Executive Director James C. Johnson: 7234 Route 54, Bath, NY 14810.
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