As of today, Bluestone (BS) Wind has not made any commitments to apply for a new license with the FAA that would change the existing approved plans for 24/7 red blinking lights every 4 seconds to a more community friendly system that only comes on when a plane is within crashing distance (known as Aircraft Detection Lighting System or ADLS) to reduce Light Pollution. Given the low density of air traffic in the area, and especially at night, our valley and 26 miles beyond will be much better served with such a state-of-the art lighting system, rather than going ahead and erecting a system this summer that is already no longer the legal norm (eg outdated) before it goes up.
As co-chair of BCCR I have intimate knowledge of the long and protracted fight and/or ‘negotiations’ we have had to ensure that BS Wind will comply with the NYS Siting Law overseeing this project, or Article 10, which says that an industrial electric utility such as a wind farm MUST AVOID THE LOCAL IMPACTS TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT POSSIBLE. Since the turbines have not yet been constructed, and for the sake of the community, BS Wind can and SHOULD update their permit to conform with minimally invasive lighting which is FAA approved and the norm for new facilities to be constructed.
As of last week, BS Wind representatives have been assuring us that they are doing what they can to find out what alternative systems would be feasible and safe for our mountaintops. This includes a study of the local air traffic, to determine how often the lights could be off with a ADLS system versus a 24/7 blinking light approach. We have been pressing the town board, and supervisors Dewey Decker and of late Kenny Wist, to take this matter extremely serious and demand that Bluestone should choose the most community friendly system. The clock is ticking and we don’t want to hear them say ‘it’s too late now’ to make a change! For perspective: my first legally documented questions about this were in February 2019 during the public hearing in Windsor, where I asked for a Night Time Simulation as part of their “Visual Impact Study”. The existing plans for night time lighting were also part of BCCR’s litigation issues in April 2019, but were again ignored. Fast forward to 2 years later, July 2021, where we started talking directly to BS Wind reps Chris Stanton and Jeffrey Nemeth about the ‘outstanding’ issues. We also had a sit down meeting with them in October 2021 to re-iterate the urgency and to ensure we were not going to ‘miss the boat’ on getting ready for construction.
Unless we see some quick corrective action on the parts of ‘the powers that be’, we are slated for an abusive and unnecessarily rough lighting system that will spoil our night skies and which is also unfriendly and distracting/disorientating for night time hunting animals. The quality of life for birds, bats and humans would be tremendously served by making this important adjustment to the plans. Make no mistake: in addition to noise and other potential health impacts, these turbines will have many visual impacts and the night lighting is reportedly the most annoying (and AVOIDABLE!!!) one of them all. The impact of the lighting design is felt by thousands of homes, During daylight, BS wind has indicated in their filing papers that 400 residencies are going to be receiving ‘shadow flicker’ from the sunlight reflecting on the blades, and the blades throwing this ‘flicker’ back into their homes. These night lights go on and off every 4 seconds – all day long. Depending on the weather conditions, like cloud coverage etc, they will ‘color the sky red’ and people living in Deposit and surroundings might feel they are living next to an airport landing strip.
In short: it is not too late to reduce the impact to the maximum extent possible. Before the turbines are built, let’s all work together to Save Deposit’s Night Sky and demand that Bluestone Wind do the right thing and not invest and put up obsolete technology – but chose the safe and approved minimally invasive ADSL instead!
BCCR can be reached at BCCRWind@gmail.com
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