Articles filed under Impact on Landscape from New York
With the talk of a wind farm sprouting in Sullivan County, New York, some members of the Upper Delaware Council (UDC) have expressed concern for the visual impact they could make on the Delaware River in this section....Phil Chase, who represents the NY Town of Deerpark on the UDC, interjected that he knew of "people who receive $6,000 a year to pollute a beautiful area with minimum electricity generated." He commented that wind farms require a road connecting turbines, cutting through the land, where trespass then becomes an issue. Noise is also a factor, added Charles Wieland, the UDC delegate from the Town of Tusten.
Jesse Ausubel, a professor of environmental science and director of the Human Environment programme at Rockefeller University in New York, found that enormous stretches of countryside would have to be converted into intensive farmland or developed with buildings and access roads for renewable energy plants to make a significant contribution to global energy demands.
Town officials who want to find out about wind power should book a room at the Flat Rock Inn in Tug Hill, in the midst of New York's largest wind plant, which has more than 150, 400-foot-high turbines. If they like the look during the day and the sound at night, they should come back and tell their constituents that the current proposal for wind power is just perfect. We, however, disagree. Yes, wind power is a wonderful solution to our energy problems but, like many good things, it can become a bad thing when used irresponsibly. Wind power plants must be carefully and responsibly sited and operated. The proposal as it stands is unsatisfactory and would seriously harm our community.
What we have around here is wind. But the idealistic, pastoral vision we once might have had of Dutch boys playing along the dikes with wooden windmills churning in the background, or mountain ridges adorned with them for miles as if pickets in a giant fence, no longer exists. That vision has been corrupted by the realities of what those large-turbine contraptions mean for the people who live - or could live - near them.
A state Supreme Court judge has ruled the Wind Power Ethics Group (WPEG) and one of its members can challenge the town Zoning Board of Appeals' decision that a proposed wind turbines project is a utility subject only to a site plan review. WPEG is asking a judge to vacate a Feb. 28 determination that the project is a utility within the meaning of the town's zoning law and therefore is a permitted use subject to site plan review in the town's agricultural/residential zoning district.
Much of upstate New York, from north of Albany to Buffalo, from the Catskills to the Adirondacks, is in danger of being transformed beyond recognition by industrial wind parks. Some 50 of these wind parks are being planned and even built. All of this is being done in the name of clean energy and saving the planet. But it isn't clear that wind power is such a panacea in the battle against global warming that developers of these wind parks should be allowed to run roughshod over some of our loveliest land. What we need are statewide siting guidelines that take other environmental factors, including visual impacts, into consideration.
JORDANVILLE - More than 60 400-foot-high wind turbines along the landscape weren't part of the plan when the Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Monastery was founded more than 75 years ago, monastery officials say. The few-hundred acre spiritual retreat settled where it did because of the area's isolation and beautiful landscape, and an "army" of turbines from the proposed Jordanville Wind project are not welcome, said the Rev. Luke Murianka, deputy abbot of the monastery. "This would greatly affect our whole mission here," Murianka said.
Photo simulations submitted for LIPA's proposed offshore wind farm offer a limited, possibly undersized view of the 40-turbine array as it will appear in South Shore waters, a town supervisor charged yesterday. After a study it commissioned last fall by a third-party imaging firm, the Town of Babylon produced its own photo simulations of the wind farm and found that, by comparison, the turbines portrayed in the Long Island Power Authority's submissions "look smaller," according to a report expected to be released today. The study found the LIPA photo analysis, conducted by an outside company, to be "incomplete," lacking in resolution and a range of lens depictions to provide a breadth of viewpoints. Babylon Supervisor Steve Bellone said the analysis, combined with a study his office conducted of the estimated construction costs of the project, lead to concerns.
In an historic vote on March 13, 2007, after months of controversy and research, the Bovina Town Board banned wind turbines from this scenic Catskill town. Bovina is the first town in the Catskills to take a clear position against industrial wind development. The Bovina vote follows a twelve-month moratorium during which residents made their views known to town officials through open meetings sponsored by the board, hundreds of letters, a town survey, a petition, and a poll sponsored by industrial wind opponents. The vote was three in favor of a ban, one opposed. About sixty people attended the public hearing before the vote.
Moresville Energy Center in Stamford (fronting for Invenergy LLC), encouraging placing industrial wind turbines, or IWTs, in the Catskills, is running advertisements promoting these 420-foot monsters as opportunities for children to experience “a cleaner tomorrow.” Its incentive comes from indecisiveness by town supervisors hesitating, even though their citizens have spoken out against IWTs. One supervisor stands out against a sea of poor leadership and courage: Tom Garretson of Cherry Valley. The Freeman’s Journal in Cooperstown, applauding Mr. Garretson’s efforts against Reunion Power, wrote: “A freshman town supervisor, he firmly and courteously followed the logic of facts in the face of resistance from his family, his political mentor and longtime friends and associates.” The battle continues today in Andes, Bovina, Roxbury, Stamford, Meredith and Walton. Will there be a town supervisor strong enough to listen to the people and follow Tom Garretson’s lead?
To help the public understand more about the impacts wind developments will have on our local economies in Steuben County, the Steuben Greens have organized a panel discussion on wind issues with five local activists on Thursday, January 18, 2007 at 7:00 pm. The program will be held at 198 Main St. in Hornell. Brad Jones from Naples will speak on his research into the promises of wind power. Steve Trude and James Hall from Cohocton will update us on the efforts of their group, Cohocton Wind Watch, to get more accountability in the DEIS process. Valerie Gardner and Jack Ossont from Yates County will discuss how their group, Democracy NY, works with local communities who want to reclaim decisionmaking powers.
Does it make sense to trust a company that: 1) had no idea it was planning to build in a karst landscape until informed by interested private citizens; 2) now proposes inadequate safeguards to address the problem; and 3) continues to put out rank misinformation such as the weight of the turbines? Is this a track record people feel comfortable with in a company that wants to make huge, irreversible changes in the local landscape?
Their potential for power contribution to the grid, compared with fossil, hydro or nuclear, will be miniscule, but their contribution to landscape desecration will be immense. Casting both light and shadow over the entire scene, however, are the two potential wild cards of beaucoup loot for a lot of people and a significant amount of political prestige for a few. So, to arms!
The public needs to hear all of the FACTS and if it appears that the project could be detrimental in any way than it should not be constructed.
From an environmental standpoint, wind power creates a huge paradox. It does provide “clean fuel” benefits, but wind turbines also exact a heavy toll on the surrounding area. I recently traveled through the Carbondale section of Pennsylvania. Wind turbines have been allowed to flourish there. They are not simply part of the landscape. They are the landscape. Pure and simple, the wind turbines clearly, eerily dominate everything in that area.
Will sinkholes ultimately sink the proposed Jordanville wind project? Opponents of the project are hoping so. Members of the Advocates for Stark group are claiming the karst topography of the region could suffer serious environmental impacts from construction of the project’s 75 wind turbines, putting the water supply at risk. Karst topography is defined as an area of bedrock - usually limestone or dolomite - which is capable of being dissolved by surface water or ground water. Typical karst features include sinkholes, ravines and underground streams.
Mr. Mackay is the Policy Director of the Preservation League of New York in Albany whose objective it is to protect the diverse and rich heritage of historic buildings and landscapes. He will speak on Tuesday, July 18, 2006, at 7:00 P.M. at the Homestead Event Center (the former Roxy Music Store), Batavia City Center, Main Street, Batavia, NY.
But I was sitting at my kitchen table in North Buffalo, far from the wind farms of the Southern Tier, and such distance makes for simple, black-and-white comprehension. There are places in Western New York where wind energy isn’t so clear a choice. Places with names like Perry, Sheldon and Arkwright, rural towns perched atop the high glacial ridges to the east and south of the city, whose landscapes might soon be dominated by hundreds of towering, 400-foot windmills. As wind companies eye their windswept fields and make overtures to local town boards, divisions run deeper and deeper between citizens who disagree on the merits of wind farm development in their backyards. In such locales, the gray areas of wind development come into sharp focus.
Eric and Kyle Hosmer of Howard address the Howard Town Board meeting Wednesday night and asked that a letter they read to the board be placed in the official minutes. The request was denied for the time being. As a courtesy, we are printing portions of that letter here.Editor's Note: The complete letter follows.
For those who live among the towers, the consequences of the development are palpable. The construction required building new roads and widening existing ones to make room for oversize vehicles. Hundreds of workers moved into town or stayed in trailers on the job site during the summer rush. The rural landscape was transformed into an industrial setting. Where stands of poplars and fields of corn and hay covered the plateau, the smooth lines of the light gray towers and steady rotation of the rotors now define the view. And the noises changed. The unobstructed wind has always been the dominant sound on the plateau. Now, the whoosh of the wind is mixed with the hum of the machines and a mechanical whomp of the blades turning.