Cohocton Wind Watch: Orangeville residents issue intent to sue
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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Orangeville residents issue intent to sue

Approximately 80 Orangeville residents are preparing for possible legal action against wind-turbine leaseholders, if the coming windmills adversely affect the landowners.
Buffalo attorney Richard Lippes, who represented homeowners during the 1970s Love Canal disaster, recently sent a notice of intent to sue to approximately 40 lease holders, if the turbines damage his clients’ health, quality of life or property.
David Bassett, one of the landowners represented by Lippes, said the lease holders notified should not be concerned because Invenergy and Orangeville have stated the Stony Creek Wind Farm will not cause problems.

“The (Orangeville) Town Board and Invenergy have assured everyone that there’s going to be no problems – no problems whatsoever – in which case, you’ll have no trouble from us,” he said. “The problem is we don’t believe any of that stuff. We just want to hedge our bets just in case we’re right and they’re wrong (and) give you guys a heads up that we’re not going to go down quietly.”

The group said low-frequency noise called infrasound produced by wind turbines near houses can cause negative health effects, and they have also raised concerns over the proximity of the turbines to houses and other buildings.

That distance between the turbines and buildings, or setback, ties into additional measures being taken. Last month, Bassett, along with fellow Orangeville residents Steven Moultrup and Lynn Lomanto, filed a joint petition to the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) to amend its December 2011 decision that gave Invenergy a conditional go-ahead for the Stony Creek project.

The trio is hoping that new public health information, including two separate 2012 studies commissioned by Health Canada and the Wisconsin PSC investigating human health effects of infrasound, will force the PSC to reconsider their ruling.

In addition, the petition to amend seeks a status report on and an extension of three compliance requirements included in the original PSC ruling. If the extension is granted, all turbines would be subject to a third-party review and Type Certification, and the PSC would ensure insurance levels could cover dismantling and relocation costs should health problems arise.

Lomanto stressed neither the petition to amend nor the potential lawsuit are related to Clear Skies Over Orangeville, a formal group of Orangeville landowners opposed to Stony Creek Wind Farm.

The petition to amend was not on the March 14 agenda, and it is not clear when the PSC will consider the petition.

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