ENFIELD – The proposed 12.6 megawatt Black Oak Wind Farm received support at a public hearing, but some concern was expressed about wildlife and feared residual effects of turbines.
About 50 people were in attendance Wednesday night, eight of whom commented on the project’s draft environmental impact statement. The majority of speakers favored the wind farm.
The nine-year-old project has shrunk from 15-20 megawatts, and its total cost is down to $35 million, from $40 million to $45 million, Black Oak Wind Farm Project Manager Marguerite Wells said.
Deborah Cipolla-Dennis, of Dryden Road in Freeville, spoke in favor of the project.
“We have to get away from fossil fuels. I am very concerned about hydrofracking, and I do realize we need energy development,” she said. “I do realize that any project that we have will have an impact, whether you put up a solar farm, wind farm or biomass.”
Nancy Spero, of North Van Dorn Road, said she supports wind power, but was concerned about bat deaths from turbines.
“Obviously, we want to have as little impact on wildlife as we can,” Wells, the project manager, said. A bat population survey didn’t find any rare bat species in the area, she added.
Gene Tighe, of Enfield Center Road, said he was concerned about wind turbine syndrome.
Studies with varying findings are published about the syndrome. Some call wind turbine syndrome a nocebo effect – which is the opposite of placebo – while others say infrasound from turbines can have physiological effects such as dizziness, headaches, ear pain, tinnitus and difficulty sleeping.
“We haven’t seen any data that shows it (wind turbine syndrome) to exist,” Wells said. The wind farm would look to work with people who say they’re affected by the syndrome, Wells added. The World Health Organization does not recognize wind turbine syndrome.
“We don’t want to be a public nuisance,” Wells said. “Part of the reason it has been such a long and iterative environmental review process is to make the project have as few impacts on people living up there as possible.”
The project’s environmental impact statement remains open to public comment until July 22. Written comments can be sent via e-mail to EnfieldClerk@hotmail.com or by mail to Enfield Town Clerk, 168 Enfield Main Road, Ithaca, N.Y.
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