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One town gets 1st look at wind project as another braces to oppose it

Plans to build weather-testing towers were presented to the town of Orleans planning board Tuesday night.

It’s the first step in a controversial project to build a wind farm along the St. Lawrence River. The project is stirring up debate over whether or not wind projects should be built in communities there.

“It’s going to be pretty cut and dry who’s going to be for and who’s not going to be for the wind, but we have to do what’s right for the community and aesthetically for the town,” planning board chair Terry Brown said. “We have to make this feasible for all of us.”

Iberdrola Renewables is the company planning the wind project, which would involve the towns of Orleans, Brownville, Lyme and Clayton.

The Clayton town board is proposing a law that would ban industrial wind projects.

“The board is concerned that in 2016 the size and scope is so big that there’s no way we can adequately contain the effects of the turbine project,” Clayton town supervisor David Storandt said.

Residents in the town say there are both costs and benefits to a wind project.

“Industrial wind doesn’t belong in such a beautiful area,” Clayton resident Cindy Grant said. “This area depends on tourism and we don’t want to become an industrial wind zone.”

“But we have to be more cognizant of the fact that as a country we have need for more energy sources, so I’m not absolutely against wind power,” Gunther Schaller said.

Planning boards in Orleans and Clayton will review the requests for the weather towers in April.