Cohocton Wind Watch: Wind farms will spoil Thousand Islands-Lake Ontario area
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, September 06, 2009

Wind farms will spoil Thousand Islands-Lake Ontario area

The Sept. 1 letter of Claire Jones hits a key point. Ms. Jones apparently is a regular visitor to the Thousand Island area from far away. I too am a regular visitor, and like so many, we cannot believe how some local town officials are seriously prepared to transform the area in a most profound way. Having seen the Maple Ridge Wind Farm many times on my way to the Thousand Islands, I am shocked that efforts are under way to bring such visually dominating infrastructure to the Thousand Islands. Seeing the Wolfe Island Wind Farm for the first time this summer made me appreciate that it actually could happen, after I recovered from the shock. Who would want to replicate that in Cape Vincent or Hammond or Henderson?

It has been explained to me that the decision to allow such huge wind farms is made at the local level in New York. The fact that some officials are trying to site them in their own towns forces me to agree that town governments can't be relied upon to take proper care of the compelling larger interests that extend beyond their borders. Local zoning law authority was never intended to deal with these monsters so highly visible from many miles away.

There is no guarantee, but things could hardly be any worse if land-use regulations and laws governing the location of commercial wind farms were to be a matter for county- or state-level control. Wind developers would not be in a position to so easily influence local officials' votes. More significantly, there are officials at the county and state levels who are specifically charged with responsibility for the protection and preservation of historic sites and recreational areas, the protection of wild species and wetlands, and protecting the public from possible health risks increasingly thought to be associated with large wind turbines. County and state-level officials would better (and more objectively) balance these important interests with the interest of increasing the supply of renewable-energy sources.

What may benefit financially a handful of large landowners will come at the expense of so many other important interests. Natural preservation, tourism, boaters, vacationers, seasonal residence owners, and unwilling nonparticipating homeowners living adjacent to a proposed turbine site will all lose. The St. Lawrence and adjacent Lake Ontario area is too widely shared and wonderful to be spoiled by a few.

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