Cohocton Wind Watch: Public hearing Comments Ecogen wind Project
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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Monday, November 17, 2008

Public hearing Comments Ecogen wind Project

To: SCIDA Board
RE: Financial Assistance to the Ecogen LLC project
FROM: Ruth Matilsky
Date: November 16, 2008

This letter is being written in response to the public hearing which was held at 10:00 A.M. on November 13 at the Prattsburgh Town Hall. The result of the public hearing will impact two towns, and it is unfortunate that the SCIDA chose to hold the hearing at a time when most people would be at work. It is not the first time that the SCIDA has held a meeting of this nature in the morning, and it appears it was not held at a convenient time for the SCIDA Board members, since not a single one attended the meeting. A copy of this memorandum is being sent to the recently established Attorney General’s Task Force, which was set up to ensure compliance with the Wind Industry Ethics Code.

It is approximately five years since the SCIDA became lead agent for the Ecogen project. Since that time much new information has emerged concerning the environmental impact of wind towers – The SCIDA has systematically ignored any and all evidence of harm, in its embrace of this and other wind projects.

The Ecogen project should not receive financial assistance from SCIDA in the form of a PILOT (or in any form for that matter) for the following reasons:

1. The SCIDA, as was mentioned numerous times in response to the DGEIS, does not have a legal right to be involved in financing for a project that is outside of Steuben County. More than half of the towers are proposed to be built in the Town of Italy, which is in Yates County.

2. In addition, by acting as lead agent as well as the instrument for arranging financial assistance, the SCIDA has a conflict of interest, since the SCIDA stands to gain $275,000 by arranging the PILOT. The Board of SCIDA knew that if they had rejected the GEIS that the SCIDA would have received no payment because there would have been no PILOT to arrange. Perhaps this is why the Board of SCIDA rubber stamped this project as well as the Windfarm Prattsburgh project. I personally sat at meetings when the SCIDA accepted 3000 page documents pertaining to the GEIS without hearing one SCIDA Board Member raise a single question.

3. Never once has the Ecogen project proved its cost benefit. Many times in the GEIS, the project sponsors referred to the Renewable Portfolio Standard, but never have the project sponsors revealed the results of their meteorological studies. The wind maps produced by AWS Truewind (referred to by the project sponsor) clearly show that the wind conditions in Prattsburgh and Italy are either less than or barely in line with NYSERDA guidelines.

4. It was announced at the public hearing that the Ecogen project will use 2.3 mw turbines instead of the GE 1.5’s they originally proposed in the GEIS. This alone should call for a new SEQR. The original studies based on 1.5s were not sufficient, comprised as they were of missing data and other flaws. The setbacks for the 1.5s were not sufficient. Now Ecogen is going to use more powerful turbines and SCIDA is rubber stamping that decision.

5. Ecogen does not have the leases it requires to make a contiguous path from the turbines to the substation or for a delivery path. The company has hired surveyors and directed them to trespass on the land of non participating landowners. People have been pressured, bullied and told that their land will be condemned, and still many of them have not signed. Yet SCIDA is about to grant financial assistance to a project whose plans were supposed to be completed during the SEQR and are, in fact, not yet complete.

6. Once again it must be pointed out that it was completely inappropriate for the SCIDA to allow Ecogen to carry out a generic EIS in the first place. Because each wind site varies so much, it is absolutely impossible to make models that will be accurate unless each and every turbine site is studied for noise impact and ice throw, not to mention visual impact and shadow flicker. The impact to well water has never been taken seriously by Ecogen or by the SCIDA.

7. Six to eight full time jobs have been projected by the project sponsor and not once have these jobs been defined. It is not known whether local people will qualify for these jobs and whether they will be jobs with benefits, etc. Surely a project that is going to reap windfall profits because of financial assistance, should be providing many more jobs than that.

Respectfully submitted
Ruth Matilsky, 6724 Baker Road, Prattsburgh, NY 14873


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