ELLENBURG – Bull Run Wind Energy officials say its proposed project in the Northern Tier would bring annual economic benefit of $5.1 million.
At the recent open house at Northern Adirondack Central School, Bull Run lead developer Eric Miller said the 300-megawatt project, with between 50 and 100 turbines in the towns of Altona, Clinton, Ellenburg and Mooers, would generate about $2 million a year in leases to property owners; $2.4 million in payment in lieu of taxes and host community agreements; and about $700,000 in payroll and payments to fire districts.
Miller said the project area covers about 44,000 acres, and they will likely need leases for about half of that area. So far, about 18,000 acres are under lease, he said.
The project would create about 250 jobs during construction, Miller said.
The company is in the early stages of its Public Involvement Plan, with the earliest potential start of construction targeted for 2018.
Sheryl McCreless of Ellenburg Depot lives on Bull Run Road in Ellenburg, right in the heart of the site proposed for the project. She said she has multiple concerns about the proposal.
McCreless said she traveled to a wind farm on the Tug Hill plateau to develop an objective opinion when the first project was proposed for the Northern Tier.
She visited for for hours with someone whose property was adjacent to a turbine, she said, and developed intense pressure in her ears that lasted about 12 hours after she left.
“My main concern is if it did that to me, will it do it to other people?” she said.
PROVIDES LOCAL WORK
McCreless said she is also concerned for the welfare of the bald eagles that live near her property. A third concern, she said, is the effect that many large foundations would have on the local aquifer, as almost everyone gets their water from wells.
“No one knows if it is going to affect that as well,” she said.
Plattsburgh/Saranac Lake Building and Construction Trades Council President John Donoghue said his members are eager to see the project move forward, as they have been involved in construction of other North Country wind farms.
“We fully support this project, as we did the previous wind projects here,” he said. “We have good relationships with all of the wind companies that have located here.”
Leo Rivet lives in Champlain, but has a camp in the Town of Ellenburg. He said he is in favor of the project.
He would like to build a house on that property for his retirement. His property is on the wrong side of the Adirondack Park boundary to be considered for a turbine and the lease payment that would be included, but his taxes have gone down as a result of the other projects in the town, and he believes that would likely happen again.
Rivet said he has a friend whose daughter is in the wind energy program at Clinton Community College. The project would be a good potential source of employment for her and other local students, he said.
Rivet said it just makes sense to continue to develop alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power.
“It is the wave of the future,” he said.
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