FAIRFIELD, N.Y.– When Andrew McEvoy started his alpaca wool business, he found the picturesque farmland of Herkimer County to be a perfect spot for his new farm.
“My wife and I brought 34 acres up on Davis Road in the town of Fairfield in 2003,” he recalled.
He wasn’t the only one with a business idea for the area, but McEvoy and more than 60 other people in Fairfield who filed a lawsuit last month say the 37 turbines installed by Iberdola USA have turned into nothing but trouble.
“They’re suffering, they suffer 24/7. The noise from these turbines are unbearable,” he said.
Their lawsuit cites loss of enjoyment of property and health problems like severe headaches and vertigo.
McEvoy has been losing money keeping his alpacas elsewhere because he’s afraid of the turbines’ effects.
“It’s not something that’s good for humans or animals,” he said.
They say because these turbines are so close to homes and businesses, it’s bad news for this town. But not every town in Herkimer County feels the same way.
Wind power supporter Jake Rasbach said, “I don’t want a nuclear plant here, and I’m not really sure about hydrofracking but windmills, you don’t get any cleaner energy than that.”
Rasbach is part of a group of people in Litchfield suing their town for the opposite reason, they want the freedom to bring in extra revenue for the town and the people.
“All these little farms are going. It’s another way to keep the family farm, and we can still farm it,” Rasbach said.
He even went as far as to have investors install testing equipment, but the town shot the proposal down.
“It wasn’t really an open meeting,” he said. “A lot of it was decided before the actual meetings.
That’s where Litchfield and Fairfield are airing the same grievance: both say the town boards have botched handling the process.
“The town has done nothing but appease the developer right along, and it’s all because the town needed money,” McEvoy said.
But Fairfield’s nightmare of noise may actually make Litchfield the perfect place for a wind farm. Rasbach says the town’s quarry would definitively drown out any noise from the turbines.
Decisions in the two cases are likely far off, because both suits are in early stages of the court process.
The main defendants in both suits could not be reached.