WATERTOWN – The City Council on Monday night unanimously approved a resolution opposing the development of eight industrial wind turbine projects in proximity to Fort Drum, citing concerns that the turbines will impact training capabilities.
The Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization also opposes wind turbines near Fort Drum. A number of state lawmakers have expressed concerns in recent weeks.
While not opposing wind turbines per se, both Mayor Joseph M. Butler Jr. and Councilman Mark C. Walczyk said they are worried that wind turbines can affect training and radar capabilities.
Councilman Walczyk said he was satisfied to see the city “double-down” on its opposition to the proposed wind turbines near Fort Drum.
Before the vote, Brian Ashley, executive director of FDRLO, urged council members to vote on the resolution.
Recently, Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-Willsboro, also expressed concerns about turbines in a letter sent to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley.
The new statements on the potential developments come as military officials had discussed multiple impacts from turbines already in place near the installation’s Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield, which houses Army and Air Force helicopters and drones and is used for training by units across the military.
Post officials have told The Watertown Daily Times the turbines can affect military and weather radar, creating a potential “black hole” of visibility and producing false weather data.
However, Fort Drum officials said rather than directly opposing all wind projects, they wanted to work with developers to reduce potential conflicts.
The FDRLO said the eight projects in Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence and Oswego counties represent about 400 new turbines in the post’s airspace.
In other action, council members on Monday approved a $110,000 change order for roof improvements at the Watertown Municipal Arena at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.
They want the Rochester engineering firm of Stantec Consulting Services to pay for the series of repairs, accusing the firm of design flaws in the $11.9 million arena renovation project.
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