Cohocton Wind Watch: Wind firm wants opportunity in Pomfret by TOM STEBBINS
Cohocton Wind Watch is a community citizen organization dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life in Cohocton, NY and in surrounding townships. Neighbors committed to public service in order to achieve a reasonable vision for a Finger Lakes region worthy of future generations.


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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Wind firm wants opportunity in Pomfret by TOM STEBBINS

1/27/2008 - Ever since the town of Pomfret passed a wind ordinance last summer, Horizon Wind Energy has been working to craft a lease specifically tailored for Pomfret and its unique setting. We have worked closely with landowners, adjusting our lease to address the needs and circumstances of this community, adding or modifying provisions on hunting, timber and pasture land. We consulted with experts in the field of grape production, including local purchasers and Cornell University, to understand how wind turbines can co-exist with the beautiful vineyards of this area.

We have crafted a lease that addresses the concerns of a number of landowners to their satisfaction. We have signed agreements with over 50 local landowners representing over 5,000 acres of land in the windiest areas of Pomfret, Arkwright and Stockton. Every acre signed was the result of multiple discussions between Horizon and local landowners and we are proud that so many landowners have chosen Horizon as their business partner.

Hence, we were surprised to read in last Sunday’s OBSERVER a quote attributed to Pomfret land owner Dianne Elliott that Horizon Wind Energy “did not budge” in our lease discussions (“Wind tower contracts being signed in Pomfret,” Jan. 20) and we would like to set the record straight. Upon hearing the concerns of some landowners, we flew our land attorney from Houston for the sole purpose of meeting with those landowners and their attorney to explain the lease and clear up any misconceptions about the agreement. We followed up with an eight-page letter to the landowners’ attorney, clarifying every single question that had been raised.

We encourage landowners to talk to as many people and companies as possible before deciding to sign a lease with a wind farm developer. Horizon is the largest wind turbine owner and operator in New York and we have a proven track record of working closely with individuals and communities across the country to develop our projects responsibly. We understand that when we develop a project in a community, we become part of that community and we work diligently to be good neighbors.

Agreeing to host a wind farm is a major decision for a town and for landowners and, even though over 80 percent of Pomfret residents are in favor of wind energy, we want to make sure that people understand what is involved. Since 2004, Horizon has conducted an extensive outreach and educational program in Northern Chautauqua County — inviting landowners and officials to visit the Maple Ridge Wind Farm, presenting at forums sponsored by Chautauqua County and regional Town and Planning Boards, conducting open houses and sharing information with the public on the wind resource in the area.

In Arkwright, we have applied to build an 80 megawatt project and look forward to working with town officials and residents to further explain the project and answer questions about it. In Pomfret, we look forward to developing a wind farm that will join our Arkwright project at the grid to bring the many benefits of clean, renewable energy to the region.

Tom Stebbins is project manager for Horizon Wind Energy

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