Friday, October 30, 2009

Wind companies are tearing communities apart by Congressman Eric Massa

It is interesting to note that some local officials in Cohocton so aggressively support the decision to spend $74 million tax payer dollars on a wind company that has done so much to divide our local neighborhoods. Cohocton Town Supervisor Jack Zigenfus stated that "the information in Eric Massa's letter is reckless, is irresponsible as a Congressman... A person of his stature should know the facts."

These statements were made in regards to my raising the issue of New York state's strong investigations into First Wind Corporation, a recipient of this $74 million bailout. In fact, the source of my information is of public record as reported on Sept. 2, 2009 in a Rochester Democrat and Chronicle article which stated that "First Wind was one of the last two clean energy firms that State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo investigated last year." If Mr. Zigenfus and Mr. Hunt have a problem with me highlighting that fact to the president, they should take it up with the Democrat and Chronicle who stand by the accuracy of their reporting.

Officials of this company receiving these millions of dollars have also stated that the money will not be used to build the current wind towers. This give away bailout comes on the immediate heels of a $300 million federally backed loan given to the same wind company. That's $374 million of our taxes for a project that was advertised as a profit generating-local revenue sharing-energy company.

The statement that the Cohocton wind project divided the community is beyond argument. Even Supervisor Zigenfus, in a letter dated April 1,2009, told First Wind Corporation that noise levels were a source of "extensive complaint by the Town's residents." He also said that these complaints "were merit-ed." Many local residents, as far back as 2005, warned of this impending problem, bi were shut out of the debate.

It is interesting that both Mr. Hunt and Mr. Zigenfus would so strongly defend federal bailouts of a Wind company that is clearly n financially sound. It is also interesting that they would so strongly defend the Obama Administration's decision to pour millions o our tax dollars into a company that is returning so little to a community that they have taken so much from. This pattern of reckless spending cannot be allowed to continue and is my job as a federal representative to fight tooth and nail for fiscal responsibility. I've heard the concerns of the families of Cohocton and I agree with them. My letter to the president stands — it is not "malarkey."

Published in Hornell newspaper - The Evening Tribune October 27, 2009

Wayland-Cohocton Central School October 28, 2009 Letter to James Hall

David F. Wallace
President, Board of Education

William F. Whyte High School Principal
Eileen M Feinman Middle School Principal
Todd Campbell Elementary School Principal
Kelly Ann Becker. Principal/Cohocton
David I. Mastin Business Manager


October 28, 2009

Blair Hall Trust
Mr. James Hall Trustee
5029 Moore Rd.
PO Box 657
Naples, NY 14512-0657

RE: 2009-2010 School Tax Refund Dear Mr. Hall:

Per the recent court decision regarding a lowering of your assessment, we have recalculated your school tax and we are enclosing a refund to you in the amount of$588.44.

This refund includes both the school tax adjustment as well as the tax that is levied for the public libraries.

We certainly do not object to proper proceedings when taxpayers seek such adjustments, however, the timing of such adjustments also reflects a reduction of expenditures that the school will have due to the loss of revenue of these taxes.

Contractually, we are obligated to still pay the public libraries their full entitlements, but with your adjustment, we are not collecting what needs to be paid out to the libraries.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Sincerely,

David Mastin
Business Manager

Xc: Michael Wetherbee, Superintendent

A culture of corruption by Jack Jones

Posted with the permission of The Naples Record, originally published Wednesday October 28, 2009

Entrenched incumbents lose touch with their constituents

During a 35-year newspaper career, I reported on numerous public uprisings sparked by controversial projects in scores of towns and villages throughout Ontario, Wayne, Yates, Steuben and Monroe counties. As an objective observer and student of human behavior, I came to understand that, in spite of periodic "tea party" eruptions over hot-button issues like waste disposal, wind turbines - even a fire-breathing mechanical dragon in Naples - the elected board members who must decide such controversies are in most cases decent people trying their best to serve the public good. In other cases, they're longtime incumbents who have lost touch with the communities they were elected to serve.

Now a retired taxpayer, I've become as outraged as other irate citizens over the increasing financial burden property owners are required to shoulder because of ill-considered, self-serving actions by elected and appointed officials at all levels of government. But it wasn't until I bought property in Steuben County two years ago and received my county property tax bill that I began to appreciate just how indifferent those long-time incumbents have become to the public will.

I tried to put everything in perspective by considering the public services that government provides - and realized that, except for routine road maintenance and plowing of highways in winter - the Town of Prattsburgh and Steuben County offer little to nothing by way of public services. Rural residents build and maintain their own water supplies and septic systems and public safety calls are invariably handled by the State Police. Reflecting on the high cost of local government and low volume of government services, I have begun in my overtaxed "golden years" to see the overall tax threat as a hometown version of the corruption and incompetence in public office that has created "bailouts" and put state and national economies on the brink financial ruin. A big part of our tax bills is the price we pay for bad decisions made by smugly secure incumbents repeatedly re-elected to public office.

Need proof of just how these incumbents are hurting us? Consider a vendetta over a $13 lunch that has cost Steuben County taxpayers more than $650,000 so far. In a nutshell, this bizarre saga, which literally added two per-cent to a tax bill that our elected officials want to raise three percent this year, involves county officials who for personal reasons filed criminal charges and fired a veteran Department of Social Services employee who had billed the duties.

After the initial legal case was decided against them, diehard Steuben pols and county lawyers refused to abandon the costly witchhunt, launching a high-priced appeal of a court ruling that had gone in the employee's favor. The result is legal costs that when finally totaled will come close to $1 million, including back pay and interest on a defamation of character award to the targeted county worker. Kudos to The Corning Leader reporters who uncovered this inexcusable waste of taxpayer money earlier this year.

The Leader also recently alerted us to outright nepotism in the District Attorney's office, where longtime incumbent DA John Tunney has put his son on the county payroll as an assistant over the objections of others in the department, prompting the resignation of at least one seasoned prosecutor. And that brings us to Prattsburgh, where Tunney has come under suspicion of political cronyism after rebuffing several requests to investigate apparent improprieties in the awarding of contracts for controversial wind farms.

No one who knows Prattsburgh Supervisor Harold McConnell was surprised when the long-time town official was forced to admit that he had accepted money in a real estate deal involving wind farm developers - whose projects he has unwaveringly advanced. McConnell, a town official since 1990 and supervisor for the past seven years, admitted getting paid for the deal only after documents were erro¬neously provided to a local Realtor who made them public.

Nor was it McConnell first problem with state investigators over questionable real estate dealings. In 2005, he was fined $3,000 after a Department of State investigation found he had violated business ethics. According to the state's finding, McConnell - who has shepherded the town board through wind projects that have netted big paychecks for political cronies, including a $439,250 payday for former Town Board member Fran Hall, the father of incumbent Deputy Prattsburgh Supervisor David Hall, engaged in business practices that demonstrated "untrustworthiness and incompetence." Investigators also found McConnell guilty of "the unauthorized practice of law," "breach of duty to deal honestly with the public" and with other offenses arising from his misrepresentation to buyers of a local property and town plans regarding dozens of controversial, 400-foot tall wind turbines.

With a rap sheet dating back to at least 1976 (ask him how he got lost his banking job sometime), McConnell nonetheless has been elected and re-elected in much the same fashion locally as have the big-name scoundrels, like Congressman Charlie Rangel and our indicted former state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.

Thanks in large part to McConnell, the town of Prattsburgh will see virtually no economic benefits from a wind farm project that threatens to devastate property val-ues while property taxes continue to rise. Under contracts that McConnell and other town officials have refused tax-payers' requests to renegotiate, Prattsburgh would receive about one-fourth the amount ($3 million compared to over $13 million) offered by developers for similar project in the neighboring Yates County town of Italy.

McConnell, along with fellow wind advocate and Town Board member Stacy Bottoni, also in recent months attempted to put the town at financial and legal jeopardy over sale of a town parcel awarded to the highest bidder at public auction. When former Town Board member and McConnell-Bottoni crony Donna Campbell came up short ii her bid, McConnell and Bottoni proposed opening up the sale to a legal challenge by advancing a measure that would have overturned the auction result. You may have read or heard Bottom's name in recent news reports regarding her arrest last month for shoplifting at the Hornell Wegman's while on duty as a school bus driver. Regardless the outcome of Bottom's pending petit larceny court case, this overtaxed voters would prefer that a person with better judgment be involved in town government decisions affecting the finance and future of the community - not to mention the welfare d children.

A popular bumper sticker once advised "Think Globally, Act Locally." To paraphrase in light of Steuben County's political incumbents "Think Carefully, Vote Locally." Barring term limits on repeat offenders, beleaguered tax¬payers have only one defense: vote the bums out.

Jack Jones is a frequent contributor to the Naples Record, the Victor Herald and the Honeoye Herald

Incompetence, disrespect rules Prattsburgh

Posted with the permission of The Naples Record, originally published Wednesday October 28, 2009

Town Board's action on mindmill moratorium illustrates dishonesty

To the editor:

The Prattsburgh Town Board will not be confused by the truth. Last month, the Italy Town Board recognized that it could no longer ignore the public outcry against the acceptance of a proposed wind incentive zone that would have allowed the Ecogen project to proceed. Opposition was so great that the Town Board was forced to concede the obvious: the presence of a large scale industrial wind energy facility will alter the existing quiet and scenic setting of the Town of Italy forever. They also noted that there is no reason to expect that the noise problems experienced in Cohocton will be any better in Italy.

At last week's Prattsburgh Town Board meeting Charles Shick made a motion, seconded by Steven Kula to begin the process to consider a six-month wind farm moratorium. In light of the events in Italy over the past few days, the threat of being sued by Ecogen seems to be off the table. A moratorium, therefore, offers solid upside with zero element of risk to Prattsburgh.

The motion was voted down, 3-2. Harold McConnell, backed by Stacey Bottom and Sharon Quigley, said he needed more time to "think about it." Pressed for what he needed to think about, Harold said that he supported wind turbines and didn't want to limit the Town's options - ignoring the fact that the town may not have any options if there is no moratorium to allow the town to make its own rules regarding wind projects.

Stacey, with complete disrespect for the wishes of the town's citizen, said that she didn't need to think about anything; her posture was that if Chuck and Steve were for a moratorium, as a matter of principal, she was against it.

What is the Town Board majority thinking?

Prattsburgh needs competent, honest people to deal with the issues of the twenty first century. Let's hope there is real change on November 3.

Angela Einwachter,
Cook School Road,

Support Wordingham

Posted with the permission of The Naples Record, originally published Wednesday October 28, 2009

To the editor:

We are writing to voice our support for Al Wordingham for Prattsburgh Town Supervisor. It is crucial to the landowners and taxpayers that we have new leadership and we know he will work hard for everyone, regardless of their party affiliation.

Al and his family have lived next door to us for over 10 years. Although we've had a few minor differences, we've always found Al to be reasonable and impeccably honest. He is extremely hard working and has unquestionable ethics. Over the years we've gotten to know more about his background. Al was born in Wayland, lived in Springwater and attended Wayland Central Schools. He became a businessman and inventor by sheer will and determination. He is a wonderful family man and neighbor.

Sometimes we joke about the contrast between our two properties. Ours is a "work in progress" and no one could ever accuse us of trying to keep up with the Joneses, but we love our five acres of paradise and what we've built so far. Al's home and property are immaculate and very tidy. One might think there would be friction between neighbors with such different styles of living. Al Wordingham is no snob and respects the rights of others.

We consider ourselves very fortunate to live next to such a good man and his family. With Al, what you see is what you get - honesty, integrity, and a real willingness to always do the right thing. These qualities of leadership are exactly what Prattsburgh needs.

Kerry and Stephanie Lipp
Cookschool Road, Prattsburgh

Time for a change in Prattsburgh

Posted with the permission of The Naples Record, originally published Wednesday October 28, 2009

The days of doing things the way they've always been done is over

To the editor:

My name is AI Wordingham and I am running for Prattsburgh Town Supervisor, along with Anneke Radin-Snaith, Chuck Shick and Steve Kula, who are running for Town Board seats. I'd like you to take a moment to reflect on some of the issues that have faced Supervisor Harold McConnell and the Town Board in recent years.

We can start with the construction of the new town hall. Four-plus years ago, I took the drawings of the proposed Town Hall to Chrisanntha Construction in Rushville. Their quote reflected a 48 percent savings over what the Town Board was ready to spend. All it required was a different approach for the financing. Supervisor McConnell replied that the financing was already in place, so they would proceed in the same fashion as always. Keep in mind that at this point not one shovel of dirt had been removed.

Then there's the property on Route 74. It took a year, and actually cost the town money to sell this land. If board members Steve Kula and Chuck Shick had not stood their ground, the property would have been sold for half the appraised value, without following a fair bidding practice.

There are many unhappy homeowners who paid dearly to fix sidewalks this year. With forethought and initiative, a grant or stimulus money could have been secured, as it was in Middlesex.

The wind issue always comes up. It does not matter whether you are pro or anti, everyone wants the most economic benefit that can be negotiated. So why was Italy on course to receive $13,700,000 for 18 turbines, while Prattsburgh with 16 turbines I is scheduled to receive $3,000,000?

The answer is simple: Several years ago the board - including! Harold McConnell, Sharon Quigley and David Hall - signed over all of our negotiating power to the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency (SCIDA). David Hall did not excuse himself from voting even though his parents were lease¬holders and have since received nearly hah" a million dollars. While Italy made the necessary changes for their town to be the lead agent for the project (although Italy has since denied the windfarm application), Prattsburgh gave away its rights.

There has been no real growth in business or employment in Prattsburgh for the past decade, and therefore we have skyrocketing taxes. The current board, with the exception of Chuck and Steve, refuses to accept any help or suggestions that don't coincide with the way things have always been done. With this attitude, the town can never move forward. Given the facts, do you want Harold, Sharon and David to handle your tax dollars?

These are difficult economic times. Twenty years ago small communities were not faced with multi-million dollar corporations trying to manipulate town boards. To meet these challenges, Prattsburgh leaders must have background and ability and a willingness to work with taxpayers and with each other.

We are ready and capable to provide Prattsburgh with the leadership it needs to move in a positive direction. All we need is your support.

Al Wordingham, Prattsburgh

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Speakers focus on health effects of wind turbines

Intended as an information meeting for township residents, the evening became a series of dire warnings on the alleged adverse health effects of industrial wind turbines.

The evening's three speakers focused on the symptoms of Wind Turbine Syndrome, a medical catchall of signs that include excruciating headaches, tinnitus, nausea, sleep deprivation and similar debilitating complaints. With a growing number of health-care professionals, researchers and engineers convinced that industrial wind turbines contribute to these symptoms, speaker Carmen Krogh reiterated her position that more epidemiological studies need to be done before further wind-farm developments are approved.

"We've got a lot of evidence there's a problem out there," said Krogh, a retired pharmacist and the former editor-in-chief of the "Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties."

David Colling, an electrical pollution consultant, told the audience about four families that were forced from their homes following a wind-farm development in his hometown of Ripley. Colling's readings from these abandoned homes suggested the nearby wind turbines were helping create "dirty" electricity that aggravated their symptoms.

"Different families will have different symptoms, depending on the frequencies," Colling said.

While the organizing Brooksdale Women's Institute invited industry and government representatives to Wednesday's meeting, these invitees chose not to attend the session. The absence of a provincial government representative was most glaring during the presentation by researcher Joan Morris, who simply questioned the effectiveness of the guidelines in the new Green Energy Act.

During her few minutes at the podium, Morris pointed out a seeming loophole in the legislation that would allow developers to build turbines closer than the usual 550-metre setback through the successful completion of a "noise study." She also suggested the legislation's "safeguards" -- including a 40-decibel maximum -- had been relaxed or omitted in the months since the regulations were first proposed.

"There seems to be a lot of things that aren't clear or a lot of avenues that would let developers take a different angle," Morris said.

Citing "parallel" health scares like the Listeriosis outbreak and the Walkerton tragedy, Morris suggested the provincial government should take a similar approach with wind turbines until further studies are completed to determine the impacts of low-frequency noise and the other wellbeing issues.

"We stopped exposing the people, found out what the problem was and eliminated it," Morris said. "We're at the point where we should be doing the research and not making anybody sick.

"We really do need to do the proper studies and we should be doing them before we expose any more rural Ontario residents."

People First in Orangeville

Dear Fellow Orangeville Citizens,

As all of you know by now, we are about to hold an election that is of great significance to our town. In this election, you voters are provided with real choices. The current Town Board and the People First candidates have totally different views on how our Town Board should operate and how out town will look, aesthetically. My observations of our current Town Board in action is the reason I find myself participating in this election.

On May 7, 2009, all citizens were provided with three minutes to share concerns about the redrafted zoning law including the board's decision regarding industrial wind turbines being constructed in our town. The vast majority of the citizens that spoke asked the board to please consider the health and welfare of the people who live in Orangeville while making decisions about siting 450-foot turbines. At that time the setbacks were set at 700 feet from property lines and 1,250 feet from your residence. After the hearing the only real change they made was to increase the setback from our home to 1,320 feet. A 70-foot difference. The Vestis wind system safety regulations for operators and technicians, dated Nov. 11, 2006, states do not stay within a radius of 1,300 feet of the turbine. It will be unsafe for our families to garden or hike on our own property.

There are hundreds of pages given to the Town Board to verify and document concerns about potential illness and health problems caused by living in close proximity to wind turbines. The board claimed they took all of this information into consideration as well as recommendations from the county Planning Board. At a Wyoming County Planning Board meeting I discovered that our Town Board had also ignored their recommendations.

Well, all of the citizens who packed the town hall that night might as well have stayed home because they did not listen or take anything under consideration when they voted to pass the zoning law. The Town Board did not even listen to the consultants they had hired and spent thousands of our tax dollars to assist them through the process.

I can assure you that if you elect the People First candidates, your concerns will always be held in high regard, whether you own hundreds of acres or just a few acres. You will be given the time you need to voice your issues and concerns and you can expect an answer.

The physical and mental health of the people who live in Orangeville will always be given greater priority than financial gain for a few.

You see, there is an answer to this problem that all of us could live with. However, we have a Town Board that sold out to the first wind energy company that came to town, rejected the concept of district overlays, rejected incentive zoning and refused to take any ideas of town residents into consideration. Is there any wonder that a viable solution for this problem has not been reached?

It is not only the wind issue, but every issue that this town faces in the future. We need a Town Board that will serve all of the people. We need a Town Board that will put "People First."

Thank you and I would appreciate your support.

Mary Jo Hopkins


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cost and Quantity of Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Peter Lang

This paper contains a simple analysis of the amount of greenhouse gas emissions avoided by wind power and the cost per tonne of emissions avoided. It puts these figures in context by comparing them with some other ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation.

The conclusion: wind farms connected to the National Grid provide low value energy at high cost, and avoid little greenhouse gas emissions.

The paper covers the following:

1. Background
2. Electricity generation cost per MW/h
3. Greenhouse gas emissions per MWh
4. Emissions avoided per MWh
5. Cost of emissions avoided per MWh
6. Comparison with other options to reduce emissions from electricity generation
7. Discussions
8. Conclusions
9. References
10. About the Author


Wind turbines generate fat wallets for companies

The pollution of wind farms across our beautiful state has now become a serious issue. The nonsense that it is green energy, saves fossil fuel and reduces pollution has been disputed by many experts in the field.

There is no evidence that industrial wind power is likely to have a significant impact on carbon emissions. Denmark, the world's most wind-intensive nation with more than 6,000 turbines, has yet to close a single fossil-fuel plant. In fact, it requires 50 percent more coal-generated electricity to cover wind power's unpredictability, and pollution and carbon dioxide emissions have risen by 36 percent. Horizon Wind is claiming the proposed Antelope Ridge Wind Farm will generate enough electricity to power 90,000 homes, which is a distortion of the facts. The 90,000 homes could only be provided power if the wind blew a 100 percent of the time at a speed of maximum power production. Production records prove that electricity production occurs only 10-21 percent of the time.

The current company, Horizon Wind owned by EDP Renovaveis from Portugal, recently recorded a net profit of $151 million and was just provided a very large wind farm grant from the U.S. government for the wind farm at Arlington. The other company, Iberdrola Renewables from Spain, also received a similar grant at the same time for their wind farm at Arlington. Between the two, they received $140 million of taxpayer dollars.

In addition to the grants, these foreign-owned wind farm developers receive huge tax credits and accelerated depreciation. In Union County a new wind farm has a real market value of $207 million, but is assessed at only $23 million and taxed at 9.3 percent due to a tax incentive program established by our legislators that somehow wind farms got slipped into. We citizens are paying dearly through taxes for an inefficient electric power system while at the same time fattening the pockets of offshore companies.

The Wall Street Journal warns that "wind generation is the prime example of what can go wrong when the government decides to pick winners."

Stop wind power.

Dennis Wilkinson

First Wind moves office to Boston

The alternative energy company First Wind, which builds utility-scale wind farms, is moving from Newton to Boston.

The company has just over 70 employees working in its new offices on Lincoln Street and expects to grow, said chief executive Paul Gaynor.

“We have room to expand, probably by another 30 to 50 people,’’ he said.

First Wind’s Boston location is just a few blocks from South Station, Gaynor added, meaning that employees will be able to get to work using public transportation - a big draw for a green company.

Gaynor said he also is hoping to take advantage of Boston’s “diverse and deep pool of folks that can help us grow our company.’’ First Wind currently operates five wind projects around the country, is building one other, and has about a dozen more in the planning stages.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino is scheduled to tour the company’s new offices today.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Confession of a former wind turbine supporter


They say that confession is good for the soul, so here is my confession:

A few years ago I thought like so many other people in this country, in particular in this town of Orangeville, that wind must be good, after all it's free. I even went so far as to have a "green energy" sign on my lawn. Free works for me, but it didn't take a lot of research to discover that like the lunch, nothing is free!

I began to ask questions such as: Why does each industrial wind turbine contain 400-plus gallons of oil? Why are the employees of the industrial wind turbines told to not get within 1,300 feet of a working turbine? Why have the issues of wind sheer noise and blade flicker not been resolved? And the questions kept coming. So many unanswered questions and no real answers were coming from the industrial wind turbine people or my elected town board.

For instance, I discovered that if the wind isn't blowing or is blowing too strong, the turbines are shut down, hence, where is the reliability in this? I do not believe we could do a load of laundry or dishes, or even take a shower with this undependable energy source.

The current grid is ancient and when energy is sent into it, the grid is unable to handle the overload and the energy cannot be stored. Hence, all this free energy is now costing us the taxpayer money. I started to wonder exactly how many coal cars have been saved and how many barrels of oil have not been used by the use of the industrial wind turbines? And, my research revealed that the industrial wind turbines that we are seeing are actually antiques themselves. Since they were purchased by the wind company, new models which are more reliable and efficient are now available. But the wind company that wants to put up industrial wind turbines have already purchased these antiques and they want to pawn them off on us, the unsuspecting landowner.

Something else that I discovered while researching industrial wind turbines is that there is now an industrial wind turbine heart condition, which is caused by the adverse affects of having an industrial wind turbine near one's home.

Additionally, I learned that the industrial wind turbine investors are just that. They have no real interest in providing accessible wind energy to this country, New York State, or the town of Orangeville, instead they are more interested in the tax benefits that they will gain from New York State and the federal government. Plus, when they receive too much in tax credits they can actually sell the excess tax credits, as they are fully transferable. We then end up with non-resident owners who really don't care that the current machinery is antiquated and outdated before it is erected.

Needless to say, all this acquired knowledge left my head spinning so I went to the supervisor of one of the wind companies and was told that yes I too could be an investor if I had the amount of money needed to purchase an industrial wind turbine. Further, because of the tax benefits, the profitability of investing in an industrial wind turbine is very lucrative. Thus, I began to wonder how is it that the investors and the industrial wind turbine companies do not pay their fair share in taxes but instead are allowed to pay a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) which amount to several hundred thousand dollars for each town, but again, against the millions generated by tax benefits and credits received by the investors, this amount seems incredibly small and nearly insulting to the towns that accept this PILOT payment.

Now the town of Orangeville wants to put the industrial wind turbine within 700 feet of a property line, not the 1,300 feet recommended by the company.

The industrial wind turbine companies have done to Orangeville what they did in Sheldon, Bliss and all the other towns and counties where they have signed people up for leases or land variances. The industrial wind turbine companies have successfully split these towns and pitted neighbor against neighbor. There is a better way to do business, but the industrial wind turbine company has chosen to come into each town with no information about them and sign unsuspecting landowners up without giving the land owner any knowledge at all about the hazards of these turbines.

Now that you've read my confession I urge you to also look into these industrial monsters before you are swayed by a slick talker from out of town, into signing your property away. Know what your rights are, know what you are signing and know the end results.

Soon an election will take place in Orangeville which gives you, the voter, a genuine opportunity for change, real change. The opportunity to vote for folks who are not anti-industrial wind turbine and indeed support them in non-residential areas. Steve Moultrup, Mary Jo Hopkins and Darryl Dickinson each want what is best for Orangeville, not their own personal pocketbooks.

Here ends my confession. I feel relieved knowing that you, the reader, now have information that you can discern and are the wiser for having received it.

Linda Makson


Bankruptcy in Wind Turbine Maker Highlights Sector Risks (GE, SI, ZOLT, OTTR, BWEN)

Wind energy is supposed to be one of the key puzzle pieces in the quest to get off the dependence of foreign energy sources. Yet a fairly disturbing story from the Daily Camera in Boulder. Colorado last night highlighted how all the federal grant money and all the alternative energy money in the world will still not be enough to keep every player alive. Entegrity Wind Systems Inc. is a Canada-based wind turbine manufacturer that has based some operations in Boulder, CO. And now the company has gone bankrupt. In now way will this kill the efforts and ambition of the two giants in the U.S.: General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) and Siemens AG (NYSE: SI). It might even be good news for the giants as one less future competitor may be gone. However, it does highlight at least some of the potential risks and ongoing risks for three smaller companies:

Zoltek Companies Inc. (NASDAQ: ZOLT), which makes carbon fibers for wind turbines and other key infrastructure;
Otter Tail Corporation (NASDAQ: OTTR), a small conglomerate in Minnesota with wind operations;
Broadwind Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ: BWEN), which manufactures and sells high precision gears for wind turbines.

Even though these three companies are very small compared to the giants, they are also relatively giants if you compare these to the bankrupt company. And in no way is there a direct tie that we are aware of. This bankruptcy might even benefit all existing players because it makes them all have one less competitor if this bankruptcy goes along the same path as many other bankruptcies that go from protection to liquidation.

The bankruptcy news from Entegrity Wind Systems was actually out of Canada over recent days but is small enough that it flew under the radar. The article noted that New Brunswick-based A.C. Poirier & Associates Inc. is going to be the receiver and manager of Entegrity during the bankruptcy. Where this gets a bit disturbing for the green crowd is that the debt is just not that large considering the hype and hope for the field of wind energy. And for the field of alternative energy.

Listed was a debt of over $3 million to Mercantile Finance Services in Toronto and over $6 million to other institutions. Then there is the widening loss because of manufacturing problems in some of the turbines.

You can read the full story from the Daily Camera with many more issues outlined in the piece over the last two weeks since the bankruptcy filing in Canada. This may be of little or no concern to the larger players. In fact, this is just one less rodent to deal with as far as they are concerned. But it also highlights the risks that are still present in an emerging field full of hope and hype. You could even take the same approach in solar, where this earnings season should set apart the children from the adults in that sector.

Jon C. Ogg

Naples Central School District October 26, 2009 Letter to CWW



Mr. and Mrs. James Hall
Cohocton Wind Watch PO Box 638
Naples, NY 14512

Re: FOIL Request October 26, 2009

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Hall:

Please find below a formal response to your most recent FOIL dated September 24, 2009:

Your FOIL request for the complete long version of the leaseholder agreements (including I. Land Owned by the Company and leased to the Agency, II. Company Leases assigned to the Agencies, III. Company Easements assigned to the Agency) is being denied for the following reasons:

1. The Naples Central School District is not in possession of the documents you are requesting.
2. The Naples Central School District is under no obligation to assist to obtain the documents from SCIDA.

Your FOIL request for ALL correspondence between the Naples Central School District and Harter-Secrest attorneys regarding legal action is being denied for the following reasons:

1. These documents are protected under attorney-client privilege.
2. These inter-agency documents are not Final Agency Determination documents.

If you should have questions regarding this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Kimberle A. Ward Superintendent of Schools

County still in running for wind power project

LOCKPORT — Niagara County is still in the running for a $1 billion wind power project the New York Power Authority plans to bid out next month, authority President Richard M. Kessel said last week.

Kessel made the statement after a flap at Tuesday’s County Legislature meeting over a report from the county’s Albany lobbying firm, Capitol Public Strategies.

The firm, in an e-mail to legislators, reported that its effort to set up a meeting about the project with Power Authority staffers was “delayed due to litigation.”

The county is suing the Power Authority in an effort to invalidate the “sweep” earlier this year of $544 million in Power Authority surpluses into the state’s general fund in an effort to balance the state’s recession-wracked budget. The county’s suit asserts that the money ought to be sent back to the authority, but only long enough for it to be used to provide rebates for Niagara County electric customers.

The e-mail from the lobbying firm came after State Supreme Court Justice Ralph A. Boniello III ruled Oct. 7 against a Power Authority effort to transfer the lawsuit to a judge in Albany. Boniello said the case will stay with him in Niagara Falls.

The county put out a news release to crow over the procedural ruling, portraying it as a blow to the Power Authority to keep the case before Boniello, a former Niagara County attorney, instead of placing it with an Albany judge whom the county presumed would be friendlier to the Power Authority.

Legislator Renae Kimble, D-Niagara Falls, was among the county lawmakers perturbed by the lobbyist’s report.

“This does not bode well in terms of a better relationship between the New York Power Authority and Niagara County,” Kimble said.

Kessel called the lobbyist’s e-mail “completely inaccurate. . . . I don’t know who the lobbyist is or what they said.”

“That litigation is irrelevant to our relationship with that Legislature,” Kessel said, noting that he appeared for an hour before the Legislature in Lockport July 28.

However, on that occasion he declined to talk about the sweep or the lawsuit, which was the main thing the Legislature wanted to discuss.

Kessel criticized the county for allegedly failing to respond to a letter he sent last spring, asking the county to become involved in the wind farm project. “No one contacted me to talk about the project,” he said.

Next month, the authority will seek proposals from companies interested in building the wind power project, which is to be located somewhere offshore in Lake Erie or Lake Ontario.

Kessel said any suitable location from Ripley to the Thousand Islands could be considered.

“We’re in the middle of a competitive process right now,” Kessel said. “I’m open to meeting with the Niagara Legislature anytime on this or any other topic.”

Kimble said Lake Ontario is better for wind because it’s deeper than Lake Erie and never freezes.

“This would be a catalyst for many good jobs in Niagara County,” Kimble said. “This is a tremendous opportunity for us.”

The Wind Farm industry in New York State: Capped?

ALBANY, NY (WAMC) - Wind energy has been on the cutting edge of green technology. But that could change in New York State: a regulation adopted by the State Public Service Commission earlier this month has the potential to cripple construction of commercial windfarms upstate. Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

The new PSC rule requires developers to conduct studies to determine whether projects they propose may threaten hydro plants or other existing sources of renewable energy. Spokesman Jim Denn says the PSC has historically supported the devleopment of renewable energy.

There's a transmission problem in the mix: most of the power is needed in New York City but generated upstate. The existing transmission lines lack the capacity to carry the extra power. The wind industry says it shouldn't have to pay to study potential transmission issues. On Wednesday the PSC is holding an all-day technical conference in Albany to discuss further improving the state's renewable energy initiatives.

Monday, October 26, 2009

New rule called obstacle to wind power

ALBANY -- Gov. David Paterson has ambitious renewable energy goals for New York state -- most of which he is trying to meet by encouraging the construction of large wind turbines.

But wind farm advocates say that a new regulation adopted less than two weeks ago by the state Public Service Commission may severely curtail future construction of large-scale commercial wind farms in upstate New York.

The rule requires that developers of new renewable energy projects in New York study whether there is enough transmission line capacity to handle the additional power their projects will create.

It also requires developers to study whether or not their project is merely replacing an existing source of renewable energy such as a hydro plant.

The issue is one of geography and weather in the Empire State. Most of the wind resources in New York are available upstate in places like the North Country and areas around Buffalo.

Most of the power is needed in New York City and Long Island -- but the state doesn't have enough transmission lines to get the power downstate. This lack of capacity causes bottlenecks -- like a traffic jam -- and the power can't get where it is needed.

The wind industry says it shouldn't have to pay to study these potential transmission issues and that it will cause undue uncertainty. They say the PSC could potentially reject their projects based on the study findings. The rule applies to wind farms rated at 80 megawatts or larger. Each megawatt can power about 300 homes.

"It's ridiculous, it's not helpful at all," Carol Murphy, executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, said of the new rule. "It sends a very, very bad message. What it tells people to do is try to avoid the PSC."

Murphy says the Albany-based trade group, which represents wind developers, is weighing its options -- potentially some sort of appeal or legal action.

"That's under active discussion," she said.

Of course the PSC, which approved the rule at its Oct. 15 meeting without debate, doesn't see it that way and doesn't believe it will deter wind development in the state.

Diane Barney, a utility supervisor at the PSC, says that the so-called "energy deliverability" studies will be treated as just one more piece of information that the commission requires for approval. Other aspects include environmental and historical impacts that the wind farms will have on the communities where they are built.

"We already get a plethora of information," Barney said. "It's just one more piece of the puzzle. I don't think you're going to see a project live or die from this information."

Barney said that the commission wants to take a closer look at how each renewable energy project fits into the state's transmission system because previous studies on wind power may have overestimated how much the system can handle considering the bottlenecks and where the turbines were likely to have been built. The state can't afford to build a lot of new wind farms -- which get subsidies from the state -- only to find out that the power can't go anywhere, she said.

"We want to know about that all ahead of time," she said.

(Click to read the entire article)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Wind turbines? Faster than a speeding bullet??

Alas, it is true. Although I’m sure the deceitful carpetbagging windies and their gullible cultish followers will jump up and down, turn beet red, scream “NIMBY” “NIMBY” NIMBY” at the top of their lungs and say it ain’t so — all of which, by the way, are typical bully boy tactics of distraction which those folks use on a regular basis.

Yup. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but turbine noise can, indeed, be faster than a speeding bullet. Low frequency noise and vibration are steadfast companions to those 400 foot high throbbing turbines and plenty is being said about their detrimental effect on humans and wildlife on land. (For a peek at the gruesome details, read the sad example of Kay Armstrong of Clear Creek, ON on the north shore of Lake Erie at )

But are you aware of the more appalling effect in an aquatic freshwater environment like Lake Erie? Would you believe that the low frequency noise/vibration effects can be even worse to God’s scaley-cum-slimey creatures (which are worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the economy)?

On land at 20 degrees C, sound travels at 343 metres per second. That’s pretty darned fast. But underwater — say in a place like Lake Erie or Lake Ontario — sound actually rips along almost 4.5 faster at 1,484 m/s. This is an incredible feat since a speeding rifle bullet usually doesn’t top 1,000 m/s. That physical stunt is used in a positive manner by animals such as the largest whales which can communicate over hundreds of miles of vast ocean by vocalizing in low frequency tones. Elephants pull the low frequency vocal trick out of their trunks (and feet) as well. But low vibes ain’t all good, especially when it comes to industrializing-marginalizing rural and natural areas…

Now imagine those poor Great Lakes fish — millions and millions of them — in a big goldfish bowl the size of Lake Erie. I call it a goldfish bowl because it is virtually an enclosed space of only 92 km (57 mi) width and 388 km (242 mi) length at most — those are the extremes. That might seem like a huge space but it’s a drop in the bucket in the ocean world where marine mammals and fish can traverse thousands of miles with no impediments or borders to restrict their movements or routes of escape. To put it in plain language, Great Lakes fish are homies — the majority stick to the surrounding neighbourhood and don’t travel the world like their saltwater brethren. Whatever goes on in the shallow pool of their ‘hood directly impacts them.

Say, for example, dozens/hundreds/thousands of pulsating industrial wind turbines are placed down the watery street from fishy spawning grounds, feeding areas or travel routes. Suddenly there’s throbbing low frequency noise above the water — which hits boaters or human shoreline residents lickety-split zipping along at 343 m/s — but also a barrage of underwater vibration/noise travelling even faster at 1,484 metres/second.

Let’s do the math: If those towers are placed at the widest point of Lake Erie two kilometres off the shoreline — supposedly a safe distance from human inhabitants (wink, wink) — they’d only be 90 km from the opposite, U.S. side of the pond. That would mean that a series of throbbing, low frequency pulses coming down the towers into the humongous concrete foundations (the ones that screwed the lakebed up) would disperse outwards and reach our friendly American neighbours’ toes — the ones dangling in the sandy shoreline water — in 61.99 seconds. Check my math, but I think I got that right. Since the rotating blades of the turbines will likely be out-of-synch with their neighbours, you’ll have a “rat-a-tat-tat-tat” chorus of thumps coming down the tubes. As band leader Lawrence Welk once quipped, “Wunnerful, wunnerful, wunnerful.”

Yup, a minute and a bit is all it will take to rip across that pond underwater, which would come as no surprise to a blue whale or other underwater sound blaster. The difference between that whale and a 400 foot high turbine? One knows when to shut up, the other doesn’t. And big blues usually don’t travel in tight knit packs of dozens, hundreds or thousands. There are many good reasons why no one in the world has been stupid enough to put offshore turbines in freshwater environments. Take your pick.

The zoned out fish in Lake Erie — the ones getting pounded by the underwater barrage of those offshore turbines (and, by the way, the fish will also likely get hit with out-of-synch noise entering from above the water) — feel the pain on at least two levels:

1) Sound vibrations will go through their bodies to internal ears which also happen to give them their sense of balance
2) Low frequency waves will hit the sensory hotspots of their “lateral lines” which run lengthwise down their bodies, disrupting the fish’s sixth-sense ability for schooling purposes and for prey detection.

Let’s not even get into the subject of what it’ll do to their sex life! Call me an alarmist, but there’s a heck of a lot of money tied up in the freshwater sport and commercial fisheries of Lake Erie — likely more $$$ than anywhere else on the planet. And those proposed (but totally unnecessary) turbines threaten to destroy that economic treasure trove.

Going beyond the economic benefits of the Great Lakes, there’s a spiritual connection to be made along the relatively undeveloped shorelines of those world famous water bodies. Looking out over the horizon from many locations, you’re seeing the same sight that the early explorers were treated to. This is especially true around Ontario’s provincial and national parks. Add even one turbine and the magic is shattered. Industrialization replaces tranquility and marginalization creeps in. Once one turbine is there, why not a few dozen or a hundred or a pipeline crossing to boot?

There’s a goofy T-shirt that I once saw that showed a couple of canoeists on the front of it. The caption, a take on the movie Deliverance, was “Paddle Faster, I Hear Banjos!”. If the windies, their brainwashed Moonie/greenie followers and the corrupt government of Ontario get their destructive way, another watery T-shirt slogan may come to be: “Paddle Faster, I Hear Windies Coming!”. Same outcome in both scenarios. You get screwed in the rearend!

The Wildlife Wizard

'Summer person' from the U. S. hopes she sees wind farm dismantled

The battles over wind farms in Ontario and New York State have had no shortage of press coverage. The battle lines are most often drawn between those who place a premium on scenic and historic preservation, property values and other quality-of-life factors, versus those who place a priority on the personal and municipal income the wind projects offer.

But the processes that decide these battles are seldom fair or transparent, and are skewed in favour of the few over the many. In vacation and recreational areas with many seasonal residents, that group of taxpayers is essentially excluded from shaping decisions. On Wolfe Island, there is the added factor that a good percentage of the "summer people" are, like me, U. S. citizens. Even though we pay taxes to the township, we are still only guests in a very real sense.

All we American citizens who are fortunate enough to have a place on Wolfe Island just want to be welcome as good neighbours. None of us forget that we are in a neighbouring country. Even though I could easily swim to U. S. waters from our place, I know and respect the fact that I have crossed a border into a place that is not my own to criticize and complain about as if it were my own. We are very reluctant and hesitant to inject our opinions into the local decision- making process. We appreciate the hospitality we receive and are grateful for it.

When you decide to invest in a vacation home outside your own country, certain compromises go along with that. You accept that you are not a part of the local democratic process. You can ask, but you can't demand -- and you can't vote.

So, a good number of Wolfe Island taxpayers are complete non-entities when it comes to local politics and policy. But when a massive, radical and unprecedented change to Wolfe Island-- the wind farm -- was under consideration, we summer people should have been paying more attention.

We heard vague talk a few years ago about the possibility of putting up 20 or so wind turbines on the far west end of the island overlooking the lake. Most of us thought we could live with that. But with minimal open process and publicity, the project mysteriously expanded almost fourfold to more than 80 turbines completely dominating the western half of the island and the view for miles around in all directions.

I only wish I had made my way to town meetings to speak up. I wish I had understood what was happening. If I had, I would have set aside my general reticence to inject my views into Wolfe Island business. My comments would have been unwelcome among some, but at least I would have felt like I was looking out for what I honestly believe is in the best interests of Wolfe Island's future and my family's precious retreat and adopted second home, where much of our money and sweat has been expended.

I am going to try to live long enough to see the Wolfe Island wind farm dismantled. I hope new technology will make it obsolete sooner than many think. I know the real productivity of it, in terms of producing reliable and consistent power, will come to be seen as a major disappointment. I know the cost to wildlife will come to be better understood. The size of the project has shocked many people who were expecting something much less intrusive and imposing.

I know for certain that the charm and special rural character of Wolfe Island has been badly damaged. The cost of giving away that quality will be made plain in the coming years.

Claire Jones
Charlotte, North Carolina

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Invenergy mailing played fast and loose with Stony Creek Wind Farm facts


A response to the mailing from Invenergy, an article titled "Stony Creek Wind Farm Fast Facts." This propaganda was mailed out selectively to certain taxpayers and residents of the Town of Orangeville.

Their biggest boast is an annual payment to the town of $500,000. Wind companies stand to make an easy 25 percent on their investment -- at taxpayers' and ratepayers' expense. This projected town revenue is very attractive at face value. However, could a better deal be negotiated in the future by competent town board? One not vested in their own self interest?

Normally a work group or board engages in a process which eventually leads to an outcome. The town current Town Board decided on an outcome first and then bastardized the process to obtain their predetermined outcome. The Town Board sold out to the first wind energy company that came to town. What better deal could have been reached? What other options for wind energy development exist?

The Town Board was presented with copies of research and town resolutions from Livingston County that would provide lower school, county and town taxes for all residents regarding wind development. I believe they not only ignored this information but they never read it. "Industrial wind companies are simply profit machines for multi-national corporations. These profiteers offer to give us back only a tiny portion of our own money, while devastating the natural beauty of our towns."

A group of concerned Orangeville residents have explored a variety of viable renewable energy options. We support the wind turbine project in Perry that has been sited on Route 246 and will soon be constructed at Perry/Warsaw airport. This technology can be utilized residentially, on farms and the rooftops of public building which would lead to lower taxes for all of us.

We should also continue to support manure digesters that utilize methane to produce electricity. This is an endless resource in Orangeville and Wyoming County. These options alone could bring hundreds of jobs to Wyoming County and lower cost for everyone. Wind turbines 450 feet tall that jeopardize our health and safety, decrease the value of our homes and will be sited 700 feet from our property lines is not the answer. Why hasn't Supervisor Susan May, who sits on the Wyoming County Green committee, aggressively pursued this type of development? This would represent a win/win outcome for everybody. Unfortunately, our Town Board is in bed with Invenergy.

The Invenergy deal provides no free electric or energy credits to residents although they claim to produce electricity to supply 37,000 households. In fact industrial wind facilities actual output is erratic, averaging 10 percent to 30 percent at best, and many days provides nothing at all. But I ask, why not offer a percentage (50 percent cut across the board for all property taxes) not just a percentage of our town taxes? When our assessments go up as predicted our school and county taxes will continue to go through the roof. Did you now that all Wyoming County payments in lieu of tax agreements for wind farms are the lowest in New York State?

Noble Wind constructed an electric switchyard and transmission line in Orangeville. What did the town get for this deal? The Supervisor and Town Board gave us a 3 percent tax increase. What a deal, at least Councilman Jim Herman was able to benefit from his financial dealings with Noble Wind. Then there is councilman Tom Schabloski who could not voted on the new wind law since he has financial interest in the Wind Company Invenergy.

Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with private property owners obtaining lease agreements from land developers. However, let us explore the alternative green energy programs which may be more agreeable to the community as a whole. Have landowners looked at the thousands of dollars available, to not develop land, for maintaining agricultural land?

We need to move forward with a more win/win approach to conducting business in Orangeville.

Harold Hopkins

North Java

Time for the winds of change in Cape

The enormous wind towers now predominating the landscape on Wolfe Island have changed my view of life in Cape Vincent forever. They represent a formidable look into our future. The incessant flashing of red lights have robbed me of peaceful sunsets and the joy of star-filled nights.

Giant industrial structures have contaminated the once beautiful gateway to the Thousand Islands. It is so difficult for me to believe that any intelligent person would even consider altering our quality of life to the same extent Wolfe Islanders have experienced. The people of Cape Vincent have been threatened with industrial wind towers for too long. We finally have a choice, and it is time for the winds of change.

It takes courage to run against incumbents in the town of Cape Vincent. If I were asked to write a description of an applicant's qualifications, it would say, "Wanted, candidates to run for public office. Candidates must have strong ethical standards, a history of successful business endeavors, a commitment to open and responsive government and great analytical and communication skills. An ability to represent people unbiasedly and respectfully is a must. Applicants must also be immune to harassment and character assassination. Only Towers of Strength need apply."

I have decided the only towers needed and wanted in Cape Vincent are those of strength. On Nov. 3, I will cast my vote for those who have had the courage and foresight to put people first in Cape Vincent. My choice is Urban Hirschey for supervisor and John Byrne and Brooks Bragdon for Town Council. Let's get back our rights as taxpayers and residents of Cape Vincent. Vote with me to have fair representation.

Janet Haskins

Cape Vincent

Galloo wind farm approvals pursued

The application is available from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at the town barn, 18774 County Route 66.

The drive for approvals on several fronts has begun for the proposed Galloo Island Wind Farm.

This week, developer Upstate NY Power Corp. submitted the site plan application for the wind farm to the town of Hounsfield Planning Board. Before the site plan can be approved, the state environmental quality review process must be completed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Earlier this month, Upstate NY Power Corp. received approval from the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency for a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement separate from the uniform tax-exempt policy in development for wind projects across the county.

Town Supervisor Martin A. DelSignore said the Planning Board scheduled a work session for Monday to begin working through the site plan application, which he described as "several inches thick."

"Our time frames are very compressed," he said.

The pressure is on because Upstate NY Power wants a federal Treasury Department rebate for 30 percent of wind project development costs. The program is available only for projects in which at least some turbines are constructed by the end of 2010.

Upstate NY Power expects to submit a final environmental impact statement by year's end to DEC, spokeswoman Beth O'Brien said Thursday. Ms. O'Brien works for development partner Pattern Energy Group LP, San Francisco.

On the PILOT, JCIDA is distributing information about its plan to the involved taxing jurisdictions. A public hearing on the revenue side of the PILOT will be at 7 p.m. Nov. 9 at the Hounsfield Town Barn. The town, county and Sackets Harbor Central School District will have to devise a way of sharing the PILOT proceeds.

Friday, October 23, 2009

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E.ON: Hartsville wind law could lead to ‘financial liabilities’

Hartsville, N.Y.

Could there be a lawsuit in the tea leaves over a proposed wind law in Hartsville?

For the second meeting in a row, discussions at Wednesday night’s town board meeting focused on a newly-unveiled wind regulatory law. And again, discussions of legal action by those benefiting from the project have been discussed.

This time, the reference came from the developer.

According to Jackie Murray, an attorney for German-owned E.ON Climate and Renewables — the company planning to build around 51 megawatts worth of industrial wind turbines in the town — a proposed law would block wind development because of overly-strict guidelines in the legislation, and could cause problems for the town.

“But as I sit here and as I read through this very thoroughly, what I see is a thinly-disguised attempt to ban wind energy facilities from the town, an attempt that will give rise to financial liabilities under the takings clause of the Constitution of the United States,” Murray told the board.

The takings clause Murray referred to is in the Fifth Amendment.

“...nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation,” the amendment states.

On Oct. 14, resident Larry McCormick threatened to sue the town if the legislation blocked development on his property.

Several towns in the Southern Tier have been sued for wind-related issues, but by residents attempting to block wind power, not by developers. For example, Cohocton was sued five times by residents, and the Town of Howard has been sued twice by residents opposed to wind development.

During the three-and-a-half-hour meeting, E.ON officials presented opinions on the new proposed law, which would replace a 2007 law on wind turbine placement.

E.ON presented a 16-page packet of information pointing to issues in the new law that would prevent wind development in the town, said John Reynolds, a consultant working with the firm on the pre-construction development.

Town Supervisor Steve Dombert accused E.ON of avoiding local residents and saying the project is now blocked because of the law, rather than working with residents to secure easements to get around the stricter noise and setback requirements.

“I think this is more analogous of granting a monopoly,” Dombert said of allowing E.ON to develop in the town, as no other wind developer would be able to build in the town.

Town board member Ben Ray said he felt several town board members were not being honest about their involvement with the project.

Ray said board member James Perry, who is not a participating landowner, could benefit if the town required E.ON to seek easements for properties less than 2,640 feet away from a turbine site, adding Perry’s home is less than that distance from a turbine site.

Ray also accused Dombert of attempting to force the issue before he leaves office.

“You’re trying to push it through,” Ray said.

Dombert’s term ends Dec. 31, and he is not seeking re-election in November.

Town highway Superintendent Roy Woodworth asked if the town could propose a permissive referendum, allowing residents to vote on the law.

Gary Abraham, the town’s attorney for wind issues and who drafted the new law, said if 20 percent of the town residents that voted in the last election were to sign a petition asking for it, a referendum would be offered up for public vote.

Also at the meeting was Hal Graham, a Cohocton town resident who has a wind turbine on his property.

Graham spoke to residents and the board about wind noise, which presents a problem for several families near the turbines in Cohocton.

“We were constantly assured there would be no noise,” Graham said, adding the turbine 900 feet from his house has made living difficult.

The board will meet at 7 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Hartsville Town Hall for a public hearing on the proposed law.

Iberdrola discloses municipal officers it is paying

HAMMOND — Iberdrola Renewables Inc., the wind company developing the Stone Church Wind Farm Project, has released a list of municipal officers and their relatives the company is paying to use their property.

The four people named in the public notice are Hammond Town Councilman James C. Pitcher; John Mitchell, whose wife, Ann, was Hammond town clerk from 1988 to 2005; Hammond Planning Board member Steven S. Demick; and town of Oswegatchie Councilman Kenneth A. Wilson.

The public notice was in compliance with state Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo's Wind Energy Ethics Code, which Iberdrola signed July 29. The voluntary code calls on developers to disclose financial relationships with town officials or their relatives, release written property agreements and establish ethics training for employees.

Under the code, developers are not allowed to hire local officials, give gifts worth more than $10 in one year or pay for an official's or municipality's legal fees related to a law enforcement investigation. Violation of the code could lead to civil penalties of $50,000 for the first violation and $100,000 for subsequent violations.

Prattsburgh town board recap by Arnold Palmer

The first was when Chuck Shick introduced a resolution, seconded by Steve Kula, to begin the process to consider – not enact, simply begin considering - a 6 month wind farm moratorium. In light of the events in Italy over the past few days, the threat of being sued by Ecogen seems to be off the table. A moratorium, therefore, offers solid upside with zero element of risk to Prattsburgh. Immediately, the gloves came off and what had so far been a unified meeting to do the people’s business divided into a partisan event with the industrial wind farm people on one side of the table – Harold, Stacey and Sharon - and ‘You People’ on the other. The resolution was voted down 3-2. Harold, backed by Stacey and Sharon, said he needed more time to “think about it”. Pressed for what he needed to think about, Harold said that he supported wind turbines and didn’t want to limit the Town’s options. Always in character, Stacey responded with something to the effect that she didn’t need to think about anything; her posture was that if Chuck and Steve were for a moratorium, as a matter of principal, she was against it. It does make one wonder just what the divided board will try to accomplish to push wind before there’s a potential changing of the guard in 2010.

The second highlight was Glen O’Connor from Bliss, NY who spoke during the public comment piece of the meeting. Mr. O’Connor, whose home is surrounded by the Weatherford project in the western part of the state, in the 3 minutes allotted him in return for a 3 hour drive, offered a number of sobering thoughts:

• The moment the turbines became operable, his TV reception stopped.
• Shadow flicker lasts for several hours each day and makes his family physically ill; their only recourse to close all their blinds and shades.
• The noise is constant, inescapable, maddening, and makes sleep almost impossible.
• He has already spent $40,000 in personal legal fees to fight an offshore entity with bottomless pockets from billions in revenues that chose his community because it doesn’t have zoning.
• He urged the people of Prattsburgh to educate and protect themselves against a dangerous and completely unethical adversary.

Without taking anything away from Hal Graham’s sad comments on what it’s like to live in the midst of the 40 wind turbines in Cohocton, his warnings had no more effect this time than before. When Harold, Stacey and Sharon have their minds made up, they’re not about to be confused by facts. Of course, none of them lives near a potential wind turbine site. Hal also cautioned that people in the Tug Hill project had had mechanic’s liens placed on their properties when the wind company failed to pay its vendors. It also appears that landowners who sign wind farm leases cannot sell or mortgage their properties because they no longer have free and unencumbered title.

Wind came up once more during the budget discussion. Harold, who just a few weeks ago said the town simply could not afford to spend $11,000 for a noise study (or accept Tom MacAllister’s generous offer to pay for it), said that, through sound business practices, Prattsburgh had at least $175,000 in the Town’s annual budget that would go unspent in 2009.

The final issue that caught my attention was Stacey Bottoni’s concern about whether, in light of the severe recession and the fact that those workers who haven’t already lost their jobs haven’t had a raise in several years, the town should be planning to implement an across-the-board - rather than merit oriented - 4% raise for its employees in 2010. Chris Jensen expressed a concern that, because all of the 5 towns contiguous to Prattsburgh have implemented 3-5% annual raises during the period Prattsburgh had not, he is worried that the town would lose experienced people to other communities. The board elected to leave the decision for the people to make at the public budget hearing later this month.

Bat lover goes to court to stop wind farm in W.Va.

Workers atop West Virginia mountain ridges are putting together 389-foot windmills with huge blades that will turn Appalachian breezes into energy. Retiree David Cowan is fighting to stop them.

Because of the bats.

Cowan, 72, a longtime caver who grew to love bats as he slithered through tunnels from Maine to Maui, is asking a federal judge in Maryland to halt construction of the Beech Ridge wind farm in Greenbrier County, W.Va. The lawsuit pits Chicago-based Invenergy Wind LLC against environmentalists who say the cost to nature is too great.

The rare green vs. green case went to trial this week in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.

It is the first court challenge to wind power under the Endangered Species Act, lawyers on both sides say. With President Barack Obama's goal of doubling renewable energy production by 2012, wind and solar farms are rapidly expanding. As they do, battles are being waged to reach a balance between the benefits of clean energy and the impact on birds, bats and even the water supply.

At the heart of the Beech Ridge case is the Indiana bat, a brownish-gray creature that weighs about as much as three pennies and, wings outstretched, measures about 8 inches. A 2005 estimate concluded there were about 457,000 of them, half as many as when they were first listed as endangered in 1967.

Indiana bats hibernate in limestone caves within several miles of the wind farm, which would provide energy to tens of thousands of households. The question before the judge: Would the endangered bats fly in the path of the 122 turbines that will be built along a 23-mile stretch of mountaintop?

Eric R. Glitzenstein, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in his opening statement that both sides agree the windmills will kill more than 130,000 bats of all types over the next 20 years.

"The question comes down to whether there is some reason to think Indiana bats will escape that fate," Glitzenstein said. "

Invenergy argues that there is no sign that Indiana bats come to the ridge. When a consultant put up nets at or near the site in the summer of 2005 and 2006 to search for bats, no Indiana bats were captured. Some bat experts say the females prefer lower areas when they have their young, and the ridge is simply too high. The company also stresses that there is not a single confirmed killing of an Indiana bat at any wind farm nationwide.

To Cowan, the risk is simply too great. "I think if the turbines kill one Indiana bat that ought to end it," he said. "That ought to shut it down."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Orangeville's approval of new zoning rules raises questions


The new zoning law passed this Sept. 23 with wind turbine setbacks of 700 feet from your property line. Other towns like nearby Wales opted for setbacks of 2,000 feet.

While we have nothing against our current Town Board members personally, in fact as neighbors we may even know and like some of them. We feel that they completely disregarded various documented studies on health issues, property values, etc. as provided by our citizens at the public hearing in May. We feel that they are not representing the average smaller property owner fairly. Passing this zoning law heavily favors the interest of large landowners who stand to gain most from siting these 450-foot industrial wind turbines on their property. Many of these landowners do not live in Orangeville and will gain financially. This is one reason vacant property is being bought by speculators. The rest of us will have to deal with ever increasing assessments and property taxes.

Other than Supervisor (Susan) May, all the other Town Board members will benefit from this law crafted with the assistance of Invenergy. They get the "windfall," small property owners get to live 700 feet from the turbines with the noise, flicker, potential health effects for some people and plummeting property values. Is this fair representation for everyone from our Town Board? I think not! Recent studies have shown that property values will go down 20 percent to 40 percent anywhere near a wind farm. It will take years of lower town taxes (not county or school) to make up the loss in property values. It has been documented that in fact there is no guarantee that any money received by the town would be applied to our taxes. It would make more sense to do what they do in Alaska and send the residents a check annually. It would then be our choice to spend the money to pay our taxes, buy a new truck or go on vacation.

The turbines are heavily subsidized by the federal and state governments (that's you and me) and that's the only reason they are at all profitable. In fact nearly 90 percent of the electric produced by wind turbines is sold at a loss. The money is in the tax credits and subsidies coming out of our pocket. The wind company in Cohocton just received $74 million in federal stimulus funds. Our grandchildren will have to pay back this monumental deficit down the road.

Talk to people in Sheldon and Whethersfield about what it is like to live among 400-foot turbines. Ask the town supervisors if they have any guarantees that the money will keep flowing after the bailout money drys up. Will our grandchildren have to foot the bill to dismantle and take these things down?

Why does Invenergy have way more signed contracts than the proposed 59 turbines indicate? Why does Invenergy keep requesting permission to New York State to construct 90 turbines in Orangeville? Why did our Town Board refuse to include a district overlay plan in the zoning law as the Town of Leicester has to restrict number and location as specified in the Town of Orangeville's Comprehensive Plan? A district overlay plan keeps the power to expand in the hands of our elected officials not the big corporations. This is recommended by the state to be considered in all new zoning laws. When will phase II begin?

The only thing we can do to change this is to vote and elect Steve Moultrup, Mary Jo Hopkins and Darryl Dickinson. If you care about Orangeville this is our last chance -- vote! vote! vote! Nov. 3.

Carolyn Dreyer-Lambright




The Prattsburgh Board has voted once again this year, against having a moratorium so the board can investigate the issues that revolve around bringing wind farms to Prattsburgh. Just like the last no-vote on a moratorium, the majority on the board, made up of Prattsburgh Supervisor Harold McConnell, and Prattsburgh board members Stacy Bottoni and Sharon Quigley, all voted against the wind moratorium.

The idea of having a moratorium was suggested by Prattsburgh Town Board member Chuck Shick. Shick seemed stunned that the Town of Prattsburgh Board's majority voted no to the wind moratorium. "There's no down-side for the Town of Prattsburgh to enter into a moratorium to create rules to protect our citizens," Shick said when the meeting was over.

During the meeting, both Supervisor McConnell spoke of wanting more time to investigate the idea of having a moratorium, board member Stacy Bottoni said she wanted more time. Board member Sharon Quigley did not state why she did not want a moratorium.



During Wednesday night's special meeting on the proposed changes to the wind law, John Reynolds, the Eon Project Manager, asked Hartsville's Town Board why they didn't just come out and declare a ban on wind, as opposed to pretending that they were interested in having a wind project.

Eon, the wind company that wants to locate a wind project in Hartsville, and Eon officials maintain that the wind law that Hartsville's working on would, if passed in it's current form, ban wind farms in Hartsville.

During Wednesday night's meeting on the revised wind law (which has not yet passed), Eon Project Manager John Reynolds called the new changes "a ban" on wind energy. "I don't think any reasonable business person would call this a 'non-ban," Reynolds told our news department after the meeting was over. "This is not a way to work with us, this is a way to prevent us from working with them," Reynolds said.

However, according to Hartsville wind attorney Gary Abraham, the wind law does not ban wind in Hartsville. "It doesn't make it impossible to put a wind farm here," Abraham told our reporter Wednesday night. "It's got a certian setback (the distance from the wind turbine from the neighboring residence), which is quite reasonable, 2460 feet...other towns have adopted much lengthier setbacks, and other towns...have banned them. This is not a ban. It doesn't say it's a ban, it doesn't operate as a ban," Abraham said.

There will be another meeting on the proposed wind law changes on November 2nd.

Wind Turbine Syndrome in Ontario: Same story, different day

Wednesday, October 21, 2009



Uncertainty about Perry wind farm plan prompts delay

PERRY -- Uncertainty over the Dairy Hills Wind Farm led to the decision to freeze its State Environmental Quality Review process.

"We've got a number of projects that are in various stages of development and under review in various towns, and decided to focus on those that had more certainty around them," said Project Manager Gary Davidson on Monday.

Horizon Wind Energy, which proposed Dairy Hills, is also pursuing wind farms in areas including the town of Alabama; the town of Arkwright in Chautauqua County; and near the Marble River in Clinton County.

The company is also planning several projects outside New York state.

"The decision basically was, 'Let's focus our resources on accomplishing these projects we have more confidence in, and bringing along those projects that are in the early stages of development,'" he said.

The Dairy Hills Wind Farm was proposed more than four years ago. It was subject to a major revision last year which reduced its size from 60 to 38 turbines.

The project has generated adamant supporters and opposition, and progress has been slow. In comparison, larger projects were completed during the past two years in Eagle, Wethersfield and Sheldon.

Some residents have expressed frustrations at the town's lack of a decision, pro or con.

The suspension does not mean the project has been canceled. The proposal hasn't been withdrawn, and Horizon's maintaining its agreements with area landowners.

The company will likewise keep its office open in the village, and continues to monitor the town's wind conditions.

Davidson said he doesn't know what the timeline will be. He said landowners were informed two weeks ago at a dinner, and Horizon appreciates their continued patience and support.

"This has been a long process for them, and we've tried to keep them in the loop to the greatest extent we could ... and let them know our intentions, and very much communicate to them we are not going to be leaving town," Davidson said. "We are still very much committed to the project and the community. It's just that conditions are such that we are focusing on the other projects to get those done."

He said he had informed Town Supervisor Jim Brick personally and also sent an e-mail.

The news, which was announced by Brick at Wednesday's Town Board meeting, has given rise to speculation, said Dick Greene, one of the project's vocal opponents.

"We're still a little bit in the dark," he said. "All we know is what the supervisor said at the last Town Board meeting, and that was Horizon wants to put the project on hold indefinitely."

Among other speculation, opponents have wondered if the announcement is a first step for the company to quietly abandon the project entirely, by letting its proposal lapse.

The Town Board on Wednesday had discussed establishing a deadline after which the application would expire, in the event it isn't revived.

Greene said opponents have also speculated the upcoming town elections may have been a factor, with anti-turbine candidates receiving both the Democratic and Republican endorsements.

They're running unopposed, although there's also been rumors of a write-in campaign.

"It's speculation on our part, but (Horizon) might not want to say anything until after the election makes it official," he said.

But the news has given some hope to opponents.

"We're guardedly optimistic," Greene said. "They still have a legal request to go through the permitting process, and it depends on how the town lawyer decides to put a deadline on it. They can't put the project off for five years or 10 years, but I'm also sure they want more than a week, so somewhere they'll have to reach an agreement where if it's not viable, something will have to happen."

He said there seems to be a sense that project support might be dwindling, and noted the recent lack of Horizon advertisements in local pennysavers.

"They presented all of the pros and gone out and canvassed door to door and done a lot of things and so have we," Greene said. "I think public sentiment was pretty much evident at the Democratic and Republican primaries, and we'll see what happens. It's a matter now of seeing what the Town Board has its lawyer do, if they have an agreement they can reach."

Some supporters are upset at the news, and blamed the Town Board for the delay.

"Seems to me this Perry Town Board has produced the exact result it set out to get: a retreat by Horizon so the Town Board is relieved of making a public decision," said resident Linda Huffman, who belongs to the Citizens for Wind Energy group.

If any effort has been made to work out a compromise, it's a secret to anybody who's followed the process over the past four years, she said.

"As far as many of us can see, they've done nothing but stall and allow the town's legal counsel to charge Horizon multiple times the amount of (money) they originally said they'd need to complete the SEQR process," Huffman said. "I don't blame Horizon for the snail's pace this project has taken."

She said she also doesn't blame Horizon to refusing to pay an additional town request to fund its legal counsel for the SEQR process when nothing gets done.

Cohocton Supervisor Jack Zigenfus Slams Congressman Eric Massa at October 19, 2009 Meeting

Cohocton Town Board Councilman Wayne Hunt Lashes out at Congressman Eric Massa at October 19, 2009 Meeting

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hunt: Massa allegations 'It's a crock of malarkey'

Atlanta, N.Y.

Cohocton town board member Wayne Hunt lashed out at wind turbine opponents and U.S. Rep. Eric Massa, D-29, at Monday night’s meeting.

During the public comment period of the meeting, Steve Trude, former president of Cohocton Wind Watch and a Republican candidate for the Cohocton town board in November, submitted a letter to the town board members. The papers were copies of a letter from Massa to President Barack Obama dated Sept. 11 and attacked the project’s developers. The project was developed by Canandaigua Power Partners and Canandaigua Power Partners II, wholly-owned subsidiaries of First Wind.

When Zigenfus received his copy from Trude, he smiled and crumpled it up to be thrown away.

“You gave me a letter I have five copies of,” Zigenfus said after the meeting.

At the end of the meeting, board member Wayne Hunt read the letter to the public, taking issue with many points in the letter and using a sarcastic tone of voice as he read several sections of the letter.

“He has called us corrupt in a letter to the president of the United States,” Hunt said. “None of us has done anything illegal, immoral.

“It’s a crock of malarkey,” he added. “I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit here and take it.”

At one point, the letter states the projects have “stirred great unrest in New York’s 29th Congressional District.”

“And I suggest to you that centers on Lent Hill and in Sen. Massa’s office,” Hunt said.

By Lent Hill, Hunt referred to members of Cohocton Wind Watch, several who live on Lent Hill.

“Now I’m here to tell you the people sitting on this board in front of you right here, right now are honest servants of the Town of Cohocton,” Hunt said. “None of us have done anything that has been illegal or unethical or has profited us in any way because we’ve got a wind farm here in Cohocton.

Hunt also said the town’s law firm for wind-related matters, Whiteman, Osterman and Hannah, said they have “no idea of any investigation at this time in regards to the Town of Cohocton.

“The Attorney General has assured them nothing is going on,” he added.

Town supervisor Jack Zigenfus supported Hunt and the board.

“I concur that the information in Eric Massa’s letter is reckless, is irresponsible as a congressman,” Zigenfus said. “A person of that type of stature should know his facts, check his facts, and be damn sure of what he’s talking about to the newspapers and the public before he shoots his mouth off.”

He added the town board should write a rebuttal letter to Massa.

Trude and other members and former members of Cohocton Wind Watch did not speak against Hunt’s remarks during the meeting, but after the meeting Trude said other sources were available pointing to an investigation of the project by the state Attorney General’s Office.

Monday, October 19, 2009

TSODQ - Wind Turbine You Tube Video

WINDBALL by Jon Boone

Industrial wind technology is a meretricious commodity, attractive in a superficial way but without real value—seemingly plausible, even significant but actually false and nugatory. Those who would profit from it either economically or ideologically are engaged in wholesale deception. For in contrast to their alluring but empty promises of closed coal plants and reduced carbon emissions is this reality: Wind energy is impotent while its environmental footprint is massive and malignant.

A wind project with a rated capacity of 100MW, for example, with 40 skyscraper-sized turbines, would likely produce an annual average of only 27MW, an imperceptible fraction of energy for most grid systems. More than 60% of the time, it would produce less than 27MW and, at peak times, often produce nothing. It would rarely achieve its rated capacity, producing most at times of least demand. Whatever it generated would be continuously skittering, intensifying, magnifying the destabilizing effects of demand fluctuations, for wind volatility is virtually indistinguishable from the phenomenon of people whimsically turning their appliances off and on.

Moreover, the project could never produce capacity value—specified amounts of energy on demand, something that should be anathema to regulatory agencies, with their task of ensuring reliable, secure, affordable electricity. The ability of machines to perform as expected on demand is the basis of modernity, underlying contemporary systems of economic growth, wealth creation and well-being. Machinery that doesn’t do this is quickly discarded, although this wasn't the case for much of history (look at the early days of television or radio or even the automobile). Only in the last hundred years or so have has the West come to rely on machines with this standard. Capacity value allows society to go from pillar to post in accordance with its own schedule. Wind provides no capacity value and can pass no test for reliability; one can never be sure how much energy it will produce for any future time. And generating units that don't provide capacity value cannot be reasonably—and favorably—compared with those that do.

Adding wind instability to a grid may be an engineer's idea of job security. But for rate and taxpayers, and a better environment, it's criminal. For the grid is then forced to extend itself. As the wind bounces randomly around the system, operators must continuously balance it to match supply precisely with demand, compensating for the ebb and flow much in the way flippers keep the steel ball in play during a game of pinball. Windball expends a lot of energy. In real life on the most American grids, more than 70% of any wind project's rated capacity must come from the flippers of reliable, flexible, fossil-fired generation, constantly turned up and back inefficiently to compensate for wind fluctuations. These inefficiencies will result in substantial carbon emissions. And increased consumer costs.

Yes, engineers can make-work by adding wind flux to the system. They can lead a horse to water; but they can't make it change its spots.... By its nature, wind will require lots of whips and whistles, even at small levels of penetration, in ways that will negate the very reason for its being. This is why people quickly switched to steam 200 years ago. Retrofitting modern technology to meet the needs of ancient wind flutter is monumentally backasswards, a sure sign that pundits and politicians, not scientists, are now in charge. It would take more than a smart grid to incorporate such a dumb idea successfully.

Because of wind's unpredictable variability, it can never replace the capacity of conventional generation. Twenty-five hundred 450-foot wind turbines, spread over five hundred miles, can mathematically offset a large coal or nuclear plant; but they cannot do so functionally--for what must happen when 5000MW of volatile wind is only producing 100MW at peak demand times, a common occurrence?

This business is absurd. The whole point of modern power systems has been to move beyond the flickering flutter of variable energy sources. Prostituting modern power performance to enable subprime energy schemes on behalf of half-baked technology is immoral. As is implementing highly regressive tax avoidance “incentives" to make it appear that pigs can fly. No coal plants will be shuttered and little, if any, carbon emissions will be reduced as a result of this project—or thousands of them.

Indeed, wind technology mirrors the subprime mortgage scams that wreaked havoc with the economy. Both are enabled by wishful thinking; bogus projections; no accounting restraints, accountability, or transparency; no meaningful securitization; and regulatory agencies that looked the other way, allowing a few to make a great deal of money at everyone else's expense while providing no meaningful service.

Industrial wind projects will clearcut hundreds of acres, if placed on forested ridges. Even small 100MW wind facilities would hover for miles over sensitive terrain, threatening vulnerable species while mocking endangered species protections--and scenic highways strictures. They will cause unlawful noise for miles downrange. They will devalue properties in the area as much as 50%, if they could sell at all. Dynamiting will threaten wells and aquifers. Out-of-region workers would perform most of the temporary construction jobs and only one or two permanent jobs would result, at modest wages. There would be little value added revenue. Claims about local tax revenues would be typically unsubstantiated and unsecured.

There is little that is cognitively more dissonant than supporting the concept of minimizing the human footprint on the earth while cheerleading for the rude intrusiveness of physically massive/energy feckless wind projects. The slap and tickle of wind propaganda flatters the gullible, exploits the well intentioned, and nurtures the craven. It is made possible because there's no penalty for lying in the energy marketplace. The country has evidently arrived at a point in its legal culture where no negative consequences seem to exist for making false or misleading claims to sell wind energy—the stuff dreams are made of. But industrial wind is a bunco scheme of enormous consequence. And people who value intellectual honesty should not quietly be fleeced by such mendacity, even from their government.

Jon Boone