North Country Rep. Stefanik says proposed wind projects would interfere with Fort Drum’s ability to execute missions
Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - 11:43 am

Another North Country politician has spoken out against wind projects near Fort Drum. The North Ridge Wind Project could see about 40 500-foot wind turbines placed in Hopkinton and Parishville.

North Country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, R-Queensbury, expressed concerns over the potential effects of industrial wind turbine development on Fort Drum’s ability to execute current and future missions.

Last week WWNY reported that North Country Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne plans legislation to prevent state subsidies for wind projects. To read that story, click here.

Stefanik sent the following letter to U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Mark A. Milley:

“I know you share my pride and appreciation for the 10th Mountain Division and its home at Fort Drum in northern New York.

I am writing today to express my concern about the potential cumulative effects of industrial wind turbine development on Fort Drum’s ability to execute current and future missions. I remain supportive of clean and renewable energy development in the North Country and understand its potential for long term economic benefits. However, we need to adequately asses its impact on military readiness.

Military readiness today, relevance tomorrow, and the safety of our service members is paramount when evaluating and approving the location of these projects.

In recent months, I have grown increasingly concerned that the Department of the Army (DA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) are not appropriately considering the cumulative impact of industrial wind development projects on Fort Drum and other installations around the country.

I urge the DA and DoD to heavily scrutinize each project throughout the approval process to ensure aggregate effects of new wind turbine construction are factored into determinations of “no hazard.” Fort Drum is finalizing a Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) that will assist in guiding our strategies on identifying areas for compatible land use and best growth management practices.

In 2012, the first established Mitigation Response Team (MRT) addressed rapid industrial wind turbine development in the North Country and advised the DoD Siting Clearinghouse on adverse impacts to Fort Drum’s mission.

Unfortunately, I remain concerned subsequent MRTs have not assessed the cumulative impacts of an additional 12 proposed industrial wind projects within a 30-mile radius of Fort Drum. Additionally, the MRT did not adequately address adverse impacts on the DoD Doppler weather radar system specifically sited to support Fort Drum, the effects of ground based clutter on Wheeler Sack Army Airfield’s digital airport surveillance radar (DASR-11), and failed to account for the effect of industrial wind turbine development on the future airspace requirements.

The Air Force and Air National Guard currently conduct specialized training missions, and we must protect this training opportunity for F-35s and other manned and unmanned aircraft to approach targets utilizing the proper air space corridors.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter, and I look forward to your response.”