The Tug Hill Commission and the Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust have both released issue papers detailing how wind farms, for better or worse, impact surrounding areas.
“Lewis County has a certain viewpoint and experience and other counties have theirs. It’s all in the eye of the beholder,” said Katie H. Malinowski, the executive director at Tug Hill Commission. “So we provide as much information as possible and don’t take a stance on it.”
The Tug Hill Commission issue paper explains how wind turbines interact with the Montague Doppler Radar. First, it explains the utility of the radar and its uses by the National Weather Service and the Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield, located on Fort Drum. Then it explains the problems of interference that arise when turbines are too close.
It also includes keyed maps that show the different zones of interference relative to distance.
“We wanted the paper to be easily understood for anyone who wants to pick it up and learn more,” Ms. Malinowski said.
The paper provided by the Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust was prepared by the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. It explores another impact that wind farms have on the environment near where each turbine stands.
“We were concerned this proposal could have potential serious, adverse impacts due to its location in Tug Hill’s core forest – the headwaters of streams and rivers vital to the region’s environment and economy, including the health of the Salmon River sport fishery and the viability of Fort Drum,” the trust’s executive director, Linda Garrett, wrote on the trust’s website.
Legislation proposed by Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne, D-Theresa, has fueled conversation on the topic, with strong opinions on both sides.
Her bill would put a temporary ban on subsidies for wind projects within 10 miles of the Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield and within 15 miles of the Montague Doppler Weather Radar KTYY in the town of Lowville. The legislation follows reports that wind turbines create dark spots on Fort Drum’s radar network.
Questions about the fate of wind farms have increased in the community, Ms. Malinowski said.
“I went to a Town Board meeting in Montague on an entirely different topic, but so many questions arose about the wind farms. I thought, ‘Why don’t we put together information on this?’” she said. “Years ago when the Maple Ridge Wind Farm was first being built, few people thought about the radar or realized that there would be effects. Now, we are receiving so many questions about it that it feels like a good thing to be fact-checking information carefully and providing it all in one place for people. I hope that people read it and come away with a better understanding of all the different aspects of it that need to be considered,” she said.
The Tug Hill Commission paper can be accessed at http://www.tughill.org/publications/technical-issue-papers/. The Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust paper can be accessed at https://tughilltomorrowlandtrust.org/tug-hill-land-trust-concerned-about-mad-river-wind-facility/.
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