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Film on industrial wind power to be shown at Westfield YWCA Friday

WESTFIELD – The Chautauqua County Citizens for Responsible Wind Power (CCCRWP) will host a free showing of “Windfall,” a feature-length film on a community’s experience of wind power development, at the Westfield YWCA, 58 Portage Street in Westfield. The showing, at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 16, is open to the public.

“Windfall” has screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, Woodstock Film Festival and other important documentary film venues. The Talking Picture Festival competition awarded the film an honorable mention, and “Windfall” was named grand prize winner at the DOC NYC competition.

“One of the purposes of the CCCRWP is to educate local decision makers and the general public about industrial wind power,” Claire Quadri, chair of the CCCRWP, said. “We think “Windfall” presents a balanced picture of what happens to a community when it chooses to allow industrial wind power development.”

The film focuses on the community of Meredith, near Oneonta, N.Y., and its hosting of a wind power project.

Quadri pointed out that a good understanding of the effects of wind power on a community is important in the face of the proposed industrial wind power project in the towns of Ripley and Westfield. The Ripley-Westfield project would see at least 50 wind turbines, each well over 400 feet tall, installed along the ridge overlooking Lake Erie.

“There also are other communities in Chautauqua County that are facing this issue,” Quadri said.

Quadri said that bringing the film to Westfield was possible because of the community’s financial support of the CCCRWP and the volunteer activities of the CCCRWP’s steering committee. Quadri singled out Janet Nass’ efforts to make the presentation possible, saying, “many of the members of the steering committee are contributing to our current projects, including Paul Coran’s work on a poster for the film and his work with Mike Ceci in developing a Facebook page for the CCCRWP.”

“This film provides a great sense of what it’s like to live in a community that brings in an industrial wind power project,” Coran said. “It should help our town boards understand how important it is to carefully consider the economic, health, environmental and aesthetic effects of industrial wind power development in their towns.”

“I hope residents and elected officials in our communities who are interested in wind power take advantage of this opportunity,” Ceci said. “It’s really a balanced presentation of a wind power project. We’ve even had some people advise us against showing the film because it’s too favorable to the wind industry.”

“I’m not sure the film will do a really good job of spelling out the risk to migrating birds and other wildlife at wind power projects when those projects are placed directly in migration flyways, like the proposed project in Westfield and Ripley,” Gil Randell, coordinator of the Ripley Hawk Watch, Chairman of the Hawk Migration Association of North America and also a member of the CCCRWP steering committee, said. “Meredith, the film’s locale, is near New York State’s central flyway that sees a decent Golden Eagle migration, but I don’t know that it’s directly in the migratory flyway the way the towns of Ripley and Westfield are.

“Ripley and Westfield have a resurgent population of American Bald Eagles that nest and forage in the area of the proposed project,” Randell said. “I’m looking forward to seeing if the film addresses adequately the risk to wildlife. As far as I know, Meredith does not see anything like the concentration of millions of night-migrating neotropical songbirds every year as is the case in Ripley and Westfield: Lake Erie really concentrates migratory patterns for these fragile creatures.”

The CCCRWP also encourages residents from nearby communities to attend the showing at the Westfield YWCA.

“It’s a great chance for all of us to see an internationally acclaimed film that speaks directly to a very important issue right here in Chautauqua County,” Quadri said.