HAMMOND – Hammond town officials have submitted comments contesting wind regulations outlined in Article X of the 2011 Power NY Act.
The town council submitted their comments Friday. Regulations under the Article X energy law could override local planning boards and zoning codes in regards to the placement of wind turbines and farms, said Town Supervisor Ronald W. Bertram.
“There were two issues first being home rule… and the other being the lack of sound standards,” said Mr. Bertram.
Council members argue that the C-weighted, or low-frequency sound, produced by wind turbines can have negative impacts on the town.
“They are not taking that into consideration – that is the major factor in placement of wind turbines,” said council member Douglas E. Delosh.
Council members passed its Wind Energy Facilities law in 2009 – which was revised in 2011 – limiting the placement of wind turbines within the town.
“They are taking the siting process away from the town,” Mr. Bertram said. “They could or could not choose to follow our standards.”
Article X establishes a board to review the local wind laws and determine whether local laws are too restrictive.
“The decisions will be made by seven or nine board members, with two representatives from our area,” said Mr. Delosh. “But they cannot be government officials from our town. We can only hope they act in the best interest of the community’s health, safety and welfare.”
Mr. Bertram said the council remains optimistic that the board’s comments will affect Article X.
“I think the Article’s siting process is a good step in the right direction,” said Mr. Bertram. “Many people at the local level don’t have the local expertise to manage alternative energy such as power plant, nuclear project or wind farms. It is not a bad thing for the state be involved in streamlining the process but I don’t think it should superseded local regulations.”
Municipalities have until June 15 to file comments with the state Public Service Commission contesting or calling to strengthen the law. The deadline for filing public comments was Tuesday.
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