Wind companies divide North Country communities
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 7:42 am

To the Editor:

It’s good to see the Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT) taking the lead in expressing concerns to the Article X Siting Board. It’s also encouraging to hear Save The River publicly reiterate its stand for a comprehensive overview of the impacts of multiple wind projects along the river and to hear the 1000 Islands International Tourism Council support home rule and local jurisdictions taking precedent in siting these projects. I  profoundly hope that both of these institutions will follow TILT’s lead and contact the Article X Siting Board (secretary@dps.ny.gov) to express their stated concerns to that body.

Paul Copleman, attorney and spokesperson for Iberdrola Renewables, is on record speaking to Carmelia Mataloni, YNN News, on Jan 16, 2013, that the main reason for their withdrawal from the Hammond project was a lack of wind. Uncertainties over the energy market and production tax credits also played a role in Iberdrola’s decision, according to Copleman.

Here’s the rub. The first meteorological tower in Hammond went up in 2005. It took seven years to decide if there was adequate wind in Hammond?

During those seven years, Iberdrola effectively divided the community between leaseholders, supporters and everybody else. And at the end of 2012, the leaseholders got a certified letter indicating their leases would not be renewed.

What did the community get from Mr. Copleman and Iberdrola? An apology? An explanation as to why it took seven years to decide whether Hammond was a good prospect for their project? Or did it have more to do with production tax credits?

Regardless of the reasons, Mr. Copleman chose to say there wasn’t enough wind in Hammond. Did we just fall off the turnip wagon?

This is the type of industry that has come to the North Country looking to profit at our expense.

Were we truly living in a home rule state, common sense would dictate that communities would recognize that promises of the sort offered by the wind industry are often too good to be true. They would compose defensible local ordinances to deal with this type of development. Unfortunately, the state has decided that siting an energy generation facility is too important a decision for locals to make, not because the locals are incompetent but because the industry has corrupted the process by offering leases to municipal board members, neutering the municipal board’s ability to take action. Then, in a machiavellian twist, punishing the aggrieved municipalities, Albany dictates that their state energy siting board will make the decision as to what are valid siting criteria for those localities. The industry is only asked to sign a voluntary code of ethics.

Those communities dealing with this industry need to look very closely at what happened in Hammond and recognize the true nature of the opportunity-threat at their door. Why would any community want them as neighbors?

David Duff, Macomb