Friday, February 19, 2010

Jefferson Co. Says NO to Offshore Wind

Legislature opposed to wind farms in the lake





A wind power project on an island is OK, but turbines in the lake are not.

The Jefferson County Board of Legislators' Planning and Development Committee passed on Tuesday night a resolution opposing the New York Power Authority's plan to put a wind farm in Lake Ontario.

NYPA has asked for developers to submit proposals on building towers for up to 500 megawatts of wind power in possible sites in Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.

This action came two weeks after the legislators approved a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement for the proposed 252-megawatt Galloo Island Wind Farm.

"While I certainly intend to support it at the full board, my concern is our inconsistency in our message," Legislator Scott A. Gray, R-Watertown, said. Mr. Gray is not a member of the committee. "We're opposing a project with some of the very same things we approved a few weeks ago with the Galloo Island project."

The resolution included language that the NYPA project would hurt landowners, "including potential effects on real estate values, scenic vistas, and quality of life."

Chairman Barry M. Ormsby, R-Belleville, disagreed.

"The two projects, when compared side-by-side, are apples and oranges," he said. "One project is on a 2,200-acre island six-and-a-half miles offshore where 84 turbines will be confined."

He acknowledged that a certain section of the shoreline will see the turbines.

"But compared to the possible NYPA sites on the maps, you see a total littering of the Eastern basin from Tibbets Point to Mexico Bay," he said.

The six members of the committee at the meeting approved the resolution, which the full board will consider on March 2

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