Opinion: Questions for Hopkinton wind farm developer before vote
To the Editor:
The stakeholders in the North Ridge Wind Farm have many questions we need and deserve to have answered. With the upcoming vote, our board needs more information to accurately determine what are proper wind law stipulations.1. What is this "newest technology" Paul Coleman states? What model, size, individual MW turbine?
2. Will the transmissions lines be underground or towers?
3. Will the transmission lines go down the current transmission route that exists in Hopkinton?
4. How many leaseholders are currently signed up?
5. Where are "Good Neighbor" agreements filed? Is the memorandum filed with the state?
6. How many "Good Neighbor" Agreements have been signed for the North Ridge Wind Facility so far?
7. When will the next question/answer public meeting be in Hopkinton for the stakeholders?
8. How will we be compensated if/when wells are compromised from piledriving (as in Whitelee, Scotland & Chatham-Kent, Ontario)?
9. What is the fire-suppression-equipment that will be installed at the turbines?
10. How will our fire department be trained to deal with fires relating to the turbines? Will they have jurisdiction?
11. If a forest fire occurs (Iberdrola’s- Pedregal Mountains-1 hectare burned, Tule Wind California-367 acres) on the edge of the Adirondacks and crews are not large/quick enough to fight it, how will the fire be dealt with?
12. Since turbines do catch fire will the insurance be enough to cover damage/cost to town/county if it gets out of control?
13. If the estimated road cost after the project is completed is large, will the company baulk at the cost (as Iberdrola did Providence Heights Wind Farm, Indiana)
14. Where is the projected location for the sound monitoring station?
15. How will complaints be handled? A ho line? An on-site person?
16. If a person/persons have a complaint and the personal go to the site and finds the sound to be in compliance at that moment (possibly days later) how will the next complaint be handled? Who pays for this service?
17. Is it true that if the company comes out to listen/ check if the sound is out of compliance and they wait too long (and therefore the sound is different) the next visit will cost the person who complained?
18. If the World Health Organization states that health issues occur above 30-40dBA why is the town considering 40-45 dBA for the sound limit? Shouldn’t it be 30?
19. Why is the sound measurement not done for the full spectrum? Shouldn’t the sound be measured in dBL, dBC,dBG, dBA, etc. and readings accounting for fast peak pressure changes?
20. Why is yearly averaging of sound allowed? If there are many days where the turbine stands still (no sound) and then large spikes that occur on other (72dBA for example) days then the sound could be averaged out and equal compliance despite the turbines being loud.
21. Will the Wind Company sue our town if the town has more protective setbacks and sound limits?
22. If 2 miles has been the limit some scientists have suggested for a setback to properties why do we only get 2500 feet?
23. Since the project is being seen as “unreasonably burdensome” by many land owners in Hopkinton shouldn’t there be some form of compensation for such a drastic change, especially for non-participating land owners?
24. If infrasound is not attenuated inside/outside a building and can actually increase in homes, how will a reading 10 feet from the residence protect those who are affected? Wouldn’t a reading at the property line and inside the home would be more accurate for measuring the noise?
25. If Hopkinton has issues, as residents within the Hardscrabble Wind Farm have, and they cannot afford an attorney how will their problem be resolved? Will the town set up an account? Will a state agency step in to force compliance?
26 With the documented issues in other “projects” shouldn’t there be more discussion on trespass zoning?
27. Being that everyone who signed a lease agreement, easement agreement, transmission line agreement, and “Good Neighbor” agreements signed a private contract with confidentiality clauses, how many residents can actually file a complaint if the turbines are too loud?
28. What protections do the agreement signees have with provisions such as Non-interference and quiet enjoyment provisions & automatic renewal clauses -- which seem to give unlimited scope of powers over the property to the wind company?
29. Is the $350 fine going to be enough motivation for the multibillion dollar company to fix non-compliance issues they are fined for?
30. When will phase 2 begin? (Maple Ridge has seen a major increase in turbine #’s)
31. Does the Wind company have to file another application for phase 2?
32. If a property owner is unable to sell their property within the "project zone" how will they be compensated?
33. How many acres of trees will need to be cleared for the turbines, roads, easements? (clearing has been going on for a while already on private land)
34. Why are bird and bat studies proprietary information? In Blue Creek Wind farm they had to be FOILED.
35. What is the exact carbon footprint of this particular project from manufacturing to decommissioning, including loss of carbon sink, transmission lines, etc.? What is the actual capacity factor and reduction of fossil fuel use related to this project (considering we have hydro for our energy currently)
36. If every resident or business has to pay full taxation, including the economically challenged families, why does a multibillion dollar foreign corporation get a PILOT, especially when our town supposedly needs more tax revenue?
37. After the PILOT is up will the company pay full taxation- even after the turbines are obsolete? (Madison Wind Farm,NY company will not be paying)
38. If the 6 original jobs promised were for the entire "project' is that number now 3 since the "project area" is now smaller?
39. Since 150 land owners South of 72 signed a petition stating they do not want to host turbines and only 7-8 leaseholders are in that area isn't it fair to exclude that area from the project zone.
40. With the habitat fragmentation, loss of forested acres, watershed pollution will the DEC step in and monitor the effects of the region to ensure that ecosystems remain intact?
Due all of these questions and the division within the town board as well as the community, wouldn’t a 1-2 year moratorium give the town time to figure out all of these variables and decide what is best for everyone? The residents have asked these questions and have not received answers.