Below is a formal letter to SCIDA. When writing letters to an agency like this it is important to be sure that it gets to the proper people. The letter should go to the Clerk at the Agency with a cover asking for the letter to be entered into the record and distributed to the Board members. It is the same when writing to the town of Prattsburgh. Do not send letters directly to the Supervisor. The letters should go Pam Kula, the town clerk.
SCIDA is the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency and they have
been the ones who decided to confer tax benefits to the wind companies.
The board members need to be apprised of our concerns.
6724 Baker Road
Prattsburgh, New York 14873
December 16, 2003
Board of Directors
Steuben County Industrial Development Agency
Bath, New York 14810
Dear Board Members:
I am writing concerning Global Winds Harvest and Ecogen, the two companies that are vying to erect wind turbines in the town of Prattsburgh. My husband and I are one of many families whose land and lives will be impacted by the four hundred foot turbines that will be spread out over more than 3000 acres of our town. We are concerned about noise pollution, ice throw, disturbance of the water table by the twenty to fifty foot cement foundations, light pollution, and the flicker effect that has been shown to cause seizures in both humans and animals.
As you probably know, the Prattsburgh town board has declined to take a regulatory role in this project and there are no setbacks. The wind companies plan to put the turbines close enough to homes so that the noise level at people’s houses will be fifty decibels or greater. This is unlike the Town of Fenner in Madison County that carefully legislated the wind farm in their town and made ordinances governing noise and light. In Fenner the turbines may be no more than 45 or 50 decibels at a neighbor’s boundary line.
For your information, both the Public Service Commission and the DEC recommend that the noise level from a neighboring property be no more than 40 decibels at the boundary line. NYSERDA and the National Wind Coordinating Committee state that at the property line the noise of the turbine should be no more than 5 to eight decibels above background noise. In Prattsburgh, of course, there is no steady background noise and in most areas there is no light pollution.
The Wind Companies state that there will be additional jobs due to the wind farms. However it has been the experience of other communities that outside of some temporary local labor for excavation and concrete pouring during installation, there are not many jobs to be had in this “industry.” Once the turbines are erected there will be little for an unskilled person to do.
The tourist industry, however, may well lose jobs. In other locations the turbines have not succeeded as a tourist attraction. In Denmark a 40% drop was reported in tourist numbers where wind power stations have been established. In the Netherlands it was found that the majority of those questioned felt that a landscape lost its interest as turbines accumulated in it.
What this will mean for Prattsburgh, where 40 percent of the taxes come from seasonal landowners who come here to hunt, fish and enjoy the scenic beauty of the area, is that property values will decline and vacationers will go elsewhere. As property values go down it will bring a corresponding drop in property taxes.
This is particularly significant now that Rochester will be installing the ferry to connect vacationers from Canada with the Finger Lakes. Not only will the turbines keep tourists away from Prattsburgh in particular, but it will leave a mental image in the tourists’ minds of the Finger Lakes being an industrial area rather than a vacation spot.
To me the most troublesome part of this project is the growing realization that these wind turbines which are being touted as a form of green energy to produce electricity, will not be able to live up to people’s expectations. Because wind is intermittent and unreliable, it is necessary to back up the turbines with energy from coal plants. The entire time the wind turbines are making electricity, coal plants will be running and emitting toxic pollutants into the air.
If wind is to reduce emissions the turbines should be backed up by a hydro plant such as Niagara Falls (and even then the reduction in emissions will not be great) However, I believe Niagara Falls is too far away to be useful in this situation. It would make much more sense to put the turbines in Buffalo, but Buffalo doesn’t want them.
There is a tremendous amount of information on the web from all over the world concerning wind towers. As an interested agency, I would respectfully ask that you study this issue and contact the lead agency for Global, which is NYSERDA. I do not know yet who the lead agency is for Ecogen. In fact there are a lot of things I do not know yet about these projects, because much of the details have been veiled in secrecy. It was only by chance that I learned that Global wants to put the transmission lines over ground after telling landowners that they would be burying the cables. There is no site map available to the public, so we don’t know where all the sites are.
I would appreciate your attention to this matter.
Very truly yours,
Cc: Elsworth Beckman