Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Wind Panel Visiting Iberdrola's Maple Ridge Wind Farm

HAMMOND - The Hammond Wind Committee will visit Iberdrola's Maple Ridge Wind Farm on Saturday to get a first-hand look at an industrial wind project.

A group will leave the village hall at 9 a.m., destined for a two to three hour tour of the Lowville facility.

A report on the tour will be made at the next wind committee meeting, to be held Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. in the village hall.

During Monday evening's meeting, the committee revisited its policy on making comments in public, specifically addressing how contact with the media is to be handled.

Dr. Stephen D. Sarfaty said his understanding of the communication policy consists of "no interval contact with the media."

"Our voice is in these meetings," he said. "The public voice is at the meetings. There should be no individual, ex-parte contact."

The committee agreed, establishing a question and answer session for the media at the end of each committee meeting.

Donald A. Ceresoli Jr. made a preliminary report on the noise sub-committee's findings, suggesting that the study is a work in progress and that sub-group findings are certainly not factual.

Mr. Ceresoli said he had taken 14 readings, including some on Oak Point, Wooster, and Ireland roads, as well as others on state Highway 37 and county Route 3. His average reading was 41.3 decibels.

Ann Root, a community volunteer, reported that she and her daughter, Allison, had taken readings on two separate occassions. One evening, she said, 14 readings were taken, one every mile, on the Calaboga Road (which turns into county Route 6), for an average of 37.2 decibels. The other group of 10 readings, taken in the morning in the Triangle, Pleasant Valley, Newell and Conger road areas, resulted in a 34.5 decibel average.

Thomas Chapman, another community volunteer, also reported readings of 30 to 40 decibels.

Iberdrola Business Developer Jenny L. Burke, during a discussion on environmental issues, said that Iberdrola has been conducting environmental studies in Hammond, beginning with a preliminary avian risk assessment in 2005 (this study, she said, was updated in 2010).

Other studies, Ms. Burke said, have included a habitat assessment, raptor migration surveys (fall, spring, and winter), which included studies on both the native short-eared owl and bald eagle, a waterfowl survey, nocturnal radar study, bird migration survey, including grassland breeding birds, a preliminary bat risk assessment, as well as acoustical monitoring.

She said Iberdrola had been working diligently to meet Department of Environmental Conservation standards and that results of all the studies would be made available to the public as soon as Iberdrola is able to issue an Enviromental Impact Statement to the town board (when the current moratorium is lifted).

Upcoming meeting topics are to include:

Oct. 18 - Maple Ridge report; groundwater effects; television and cellular phone reception; well impacts; property owner complaints; and blasting during construction. A real estate broker from the Cape Vincent/Orleans area is also expected to report on property value impacts.

Nov. 1 - Sound and Health; also, the director of Save the River will present on the group's request for a three-year moratorium for wind power development on the St. Lawrence River.

Nov. 15 - Report on the Chateaugay Wind Farm tour (Nov. 13); ice throw; blade throw; and tower collapse.

Nov. 29 - Visual impacts.

Dec. 6 - Assurances in law; go through law and determine changes.

Dec. 20 - Summarize and finalize report to town board.

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