The reports pertaining to Tug Hill reinforce the warnings that many people have issued over how wind turbines interfere with vital functions of the National Weather Service and Fort Drum. Authorities in Lewis County have an obligation to take these concerns seriously as they consider new proposals on the table. The multiple levels of tax burden on residents will become more onerous. Adding the problems that wind turbines cause, such projects aren’t as good looking as they once were.
Reports recently issued by two organizations echo concerns about wind turbine projects in the north country.
The Tug Hill Commission, a non-regulatory state agency, released “The Montague Doppler Radar, An Overview” earlier this month as part of its Issue Paper Series. It documents the adverse effect that wind turbines have on the Montague Doppler Radar used by the National Weather Service and Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield at Fort Drum.
“Additional wind farm construction could create additional radar interference, depending on the final details of the various proposals. The wind turbines create clutter that appears to the radar to be real weather,” according to the report.
“The wind farm signatures can mask real, weak weather features that are precursors to lake effect snow development. They can also obscure tornadoes and high wind signatures during severe weather. The clutter also erroneously increases the precipitation estimates, making it harder for forecasters to gain an accurate picture of snow or rain totals for forecasts and warnings. Turbines located closer to the radar cause interference at more elevation angles of the radar, meaning more real weather data is masked through a deeper portion of the atmosphere, further hindering forecasters’ ability to detect hazardous weather. Turbines also impact data for approximately 30 miles downrange of the wind farm, increasing the affected area.”
The report issued in April by the Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust was prepared by the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. It focuses on how the proposed Mad River wind project in the Tug Hill Plateau would affect the surrounding environment.
“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,” Linda Garrett, the trust’s executive director, wrote on the group’s website.
Elected officials in Lewis County should pay close attention to the issues raised in these reports. They’ve been more welcoming to the prospect of additional wind projects than have their counterparts in other counties, and it’s little wonder.
The Maple Ridge facility has generated about $8.1 million a year in tax revenues to bolster the budgets of Lewis County; the towns of Martinsburg, Harrisburg, Lowville and Watson; and the Lowville, South Lewis and Copenhagen school districts. Those involved with the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes plan have benefited from the fact that the state reimburses the wind developer for all the taxes imposed by these taxing bodies.
This won’t, however, be the case for new wind projects. The enabling state legislation was rescinded.
Maple Ridge’s PILOT will expire in four years. Avangrid, which owns the facility, is looking for additional tax breaks moving forward.
But as we’ve previously reported, Avangrid receives generous subsidies from Washington, D.C., and Albany. Residents should no longer have to finance this firm on the local level in addition to what they pay it in federal and state taxes.
The reports pertaining to Tug Hill reinforce the warnings that many people have issued over how wind turbines interfere with vital functions of the National Weather Service and Fort Drum. Authorities in Lewis County have an obligation to take these concerns seriously as they consider new proposals on the table.
The multiple levels of tax burden on residents will become more onerous. Adding the problems that wind turbines cause, such projects aren’t as good looking as they once were.
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