Town Board

Prattburgh, New York 14873


            Global Winds Harvest has chartered a bus to take Prattsburgh residents to the Town of Fenner to see an example of a wind “farm.”  Prattsburgh residents have been led to believe that the Fenner wind “farm” will be similar to the project proposed here. 

In actuality there are some pretty major differences between the projects.  In Fenner there are only 20 turbines. In Prattsburgh, between the Ecogen project and the Global project there will be one hundred or more.  The “farms” will be intertwined.

Even more important is that the governing board in Fenner believed that wind turbines should be subject to special permits because wind turbines represented a new use of land and buildings.  By issuing special permits, the planning board had an opportunity to determine whether each individual wind turbine would create unforeseen problems.  The Planning Board wanted to reserve the right to deny permission if the problems could not be overcome.

            Space does not permit me to list all of the criteria for wind turbines in Fenner, but here are a few highlights:

            Individual towers must be located so that the level of noise produced is no more than 50 decibals at a neighbor’s boundary line.  Note that Global Winds has said they would site towers in Prattsburgh so they would be 50 decibals or higher at a neighbor’s house.  Ecogen has said the same.

            In Fenner the governing body is concerned about beauty to the extent that they say that no power plant can be installed in any location where it would detract from the view of a recognized scenic viewshed as viewed from any public road right-of-way or publicly owned land.  In Prattsburgh we have been told that it is selfish to care about scenic views.

            In Fenner, AFTER the FAA determines the lighting requirements, there has to be on-site field testing as a prerequisite for a building permit.  The Planning Board takes into account the effect of the lighting on residential LAND up to 2000 FEET from EACH tower.  In Prattsburgh we’ve been told that it doesn’t matter if the strobe lights impact on a neighbor.

            In Fenner they specifically say that all power lines from the turbines to substations must be underground.  In Prattsburgh there will be above as well as underground transmission.

            Anyone who wants to build a turbine must provide proof to the town of liability insurance and the town determines the amount of insurance to be carried by the applicant.  In Prattsburgh we are relying on the good faith of the wind companies.

            The Town of Fenner requires that there be a visibility map showing the impact of topography upon visibility of the project from other locations up to THREE MILES AWAY from the center of the project. 

            The Town Board also spelled out safety requirements and procedures in case of accidents and they addressed the potential problem of interference with television and radio transmission.

            As we all know, the town board in Prattsburgh has declined to take a regulatory role in this project.  Global Winds Harvest and Ecogen can come here and do whatever they feel like doing wherever they have gotten people to sign leases.  They will be making a tremendous amount of money for their companies, while New York State subsidizes their power plants and electric customers pay higher rates for electricity.  We are told that the reason for this is the need for green energy, but wind is so intermittent that the turbines must be backed up by coal plants, which will be running at practically full speed all the while that the windmills are working, and full speed when the turbines shut down (which is between 65 and 80 percent of the time.)  Our countryside will be marred, people’s lives will be affected and the reduction in emissions will not make a dent in the problem of air pollution.

            The people in Fenner recognized that it makes no sense to destroy the environment while attempting to save it and they regulated the project to that end.  Who is going to regulate it for Prattsburgh?


                                                            Very truly yours,




                                                            RUTH MATILSKY


John Cole, DEC

Matt Brower, NYS Dept of Agriculture and Markets

Mr. Jim Sherron, Steuben County Industrial Development Agency

Mr. Robert P. Alexander, FAA

Yates County Planning Board

Ms. Ruth Pierpont, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Ms. Amy Dlugos, Steuben County Planning Board

Mr. Lane Clute, Town of Italy

Mr. John H. Smolinsky, NYS Dept of Public Service

Mr. Harold McConnell, Town of Prattsburgh

Naples Record

Corning Leader

Canandaigua Messenger