Friday, May 26, 2006

Cohocton Wind Hearing

Last evening I attended the hearing on the draft environmental impact statement for the Cohocton Wind project at the Cohocton Elementary School. Many speakers called for the town to have a referendum on the project.

The Cohocton DEIS, like the Prattsburgh EIS, (both projects are under the control of the same company and several speakers asked why segmentation of the EIS was allowed) fails to address the economic benefits of the project except in the most cursory way.

The New York State Environmental Quality Review Act requires weighing the economic benefit of a project against its environmental impact. The Cohocton DEIS describes the economic benefit as follows:

" The purpose of the proposed action is to create a wind-powered electrical-generating facility that will provide a significant source of renewable energy to the New York State power grid. . . . These objectives include stimulating economic growth, increasing energy diversity, and promoting a cleaner and healthier environment. The benefits of the proposed action include positive impacts on socioeconomics (e.g., increased payment-in-lieu of tax [PILOT] revenues to local municipalities and lease revenues to participating landowners), air quality (through reduction of emissions from fossil-fuel-burning power plants), and climate (reduction of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming)."

That is it. Three conclusory sentences out of hundreds of pages in the DEIS and appendices.

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