Thursday, June 15, 2006

Comments on proposed Cohocton Local Wind Law

To the Cohocton Town Board and Cohocton Town Planning Board, Cohocton, New York
Comments filed June 14, 2006

As a resident of Steuben County and a candidate for Attorney General, I have studied the proposals for industrial wind farms being made to towns in our county. Like almost everyone, I am strongly in favor of clean energy. We need to reduce our energy consumption and generate the energy we do use from non-toxic sources, such as wind. But we cannot be blinded by our desire for clean energy into failing to properly evaluate the wind farm schemes being proposed for our county.

First of all we need to know how much effective electric capacity the proposed wind farms will actually produce. The haste with which large industrial wind farms are being pushed for construction in all the top wind resource areas of our county precludes adequate consideration of this issue. We need to slow down and begin with construction of just a few turbines so residents and officials can find out how much electric energy can actually be generated in this area and get actual experience in the amount of noise, flicker, ice throw, harm to wildlife and harm to property values that will be generated by turbines of the huge size being proposed.

The large federal and state subsidies and tax benefits being granted to wind energy production do not guarantee that it is economic to produce electricity from wind in this area, and if it is not, the projects will fail. Nor will these subsidies and tax benefits prevent property values in our area from declining due to the presence of industrial wind farms.

For these reasons, I recommend that the town of Cohocton take time to adequately study the effects of having industrial wind farms in Cohocton, and that the proposed Cohocton wind law be amended to:

1. Limit the number of industrial size turbines that can be constructed in 2006 and 2007 to one
2. Require the public recording of wind energy leases in order to be enforceable
3. Establish adequate setbacks to take into account the rights of adjacent landowners to the wind energy flowing across their properties.
4. Require the owners of large wind turbines to make quarterly public disclosures of the electric energy produced by each turbine
5. Require the owners of large wind turbines to post bonds for road repair
6. Set up procedures by which property value decline can be measured and require the owners of large wind turbines to post bonds for harm to property values.

Adding these requirements will give the residents of Cohocton the time and information necessary to more adequately evaluate the proposed project.

The proposed Cohocton local law is posted on the Cohocton Wind Watch website at

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