The story on “Wind turbines coming to Thruway” was a shock to many folks in Chautauqua County and Western New York.
Since spring of 2002 the Ripley Hawk Watch members and the Chautauqua County Citizens for Responsible Wind Power have opposed putting wind turbines in the migration flyway. Since the last ice age birds, bats, butterflies and bugs have flown in this well known migration flyway going northward in spring and southward in the fall.
Now the Thruway Authority plans to put four wind turbines in Chautauqua County and one in Erie County. Four turbines will be 202 feet from the blade tip at apex to the ground. The fifth turbine height is unknown as is the exact cost. The Thruway Authority is budgeting $4.8 million but construction costs are not known now.
When asked about possible opposition, the spokesperson said simply that they have a plan and intend to begin “moving forward.” That’s like giving us the finger in the eye.
No one called us to get our views and input. Since 1990, I’ve helped in the spring migration counting thousands of raptors. But the greatest numbers of birds is the nocturnal flyers using this migration flyway. Experts say “that 15 to 40 million birds use this flyway.” Birds use the wooded area’s to rest and eat during spring and fall migration. The New York state Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services have expressed deep concerns about putting wind turbines in the migration flyway along and south of the Lake Erie shoreline.
Will the Thruway Authority have bird studies done to cover these sites? Will they secure permits to killing golden and bald eagles? Have the people of Western New York lost their rights to present their views? In the past the state DEC and the U.S. Wildlife Service asked us to submit our views to help them setting proper guidelines on wind turbines placement, concerning birds, bats, butterflies and bugs.
At our own expense, we went to Albany to meet with these organizations officials on the wind energy proposals coming into Chautauqua County and New York state. It’s sad that the Thruway Authority in Albany never heard of the Ripley Hawk Watch and the Concerned Citizens Group. We don’t consider it a win-win, to us it’s more like a kill-kill and injuring our flying wildlife. Really very sad.
Keep them flying and singing!
Len DeFrancisco, a Falconer resident, is a member of the Ripley Hawk Watch and Chautauqua County Citizens for Responsible Wind Power.
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