Think Local

By Chris Hoffman

(Town of Madison, Hamilton, NY – Feb. 2012) If you live anywhere near the northern hills of Hamilton in the southeast section of the Town of Madison, you might want to pay attention. A proposed wind farm is poised for approval by the Madison Town Board.  Upset residents believe they have been intentionally kept in the dark about the project, which planning for appears to have commenced over a year ago.

The project area comprises almost 7,500 acres south of Route 20 to the north and west of the Madison County/Oneida County border. The western boundary covers property as far west as Sigby Corners and the Albee Pond property to the border between the Towns of Hamilton and Madison on the South.

The developer is EDP Renewables North America (formerly known as Horizon), a subsidiary of EDP Renováveis, the world’s third largest wind energy company, Portugal’s largest industrial group, and one of Europe’s main energy companies.

The project applicant is Rolling Upland Wind Farm LLC (RUWF), incorporated in Delaware on Dec. 21, 2010. A mere seven weeks after its formation, RUWF registered as a foreign limited liability company with the NYS Department of State on Feb. 7, 2011.  RUWF proposes to construct a 60MW wind farm consisting of 36 GE-100 turbines, including installation of access roads, all electrical systems, underground collection lines, a substation, a temporary staging area and gravel roads. Each turbine will be almost 500 feet high above ground.

In the meantime, several studies have already been completed, including an FAA study resulting in a determination of “no hazard” completed on Aug. 2, 2011; an environmental assessment report in the name of (mysteriously) “Stone’s Throw Wind Farm” prepared in May 2011; a telecommunications survey conducted by Comsearch; an emergency services report prepared by Comsearch; and bird studies, wetland and sensitive habitat studies that appear to be general in nature and not specific to the project area.

On Dec. 16, 2011, RUWF submitted an application to the Town of Madison for a special use permit pursuant to the Town’s “Windpower Facility Special Use Permit Regulations.”

Even though the application states, “The project map does not provide all details required for the special permit, and Applicant [RUWF] requests a waiver of this requirement at this time,” the Planning Board has accepted the application for review.

A review of the application materials reveals:

The project will produce noise “exceeding local ambient noise levels and will result in an increase in energy use.”  However, the materials contain no noise level analysis, as required by Town of Madison regulations. Nor is there an analysis of lighting and its effects on area residents or any study showing an analysis of the effect on viewscapes in relation to existing residences.  Windmill towers can be sited as close as 750 feet to an existing residence, and some residences, according to maps provided as part of the application, will be virtually surrounded by multiple towers.

The “List of Landowners Within Proposed Project Area” is not accurate; many residents within the project area are not included.  Residents believe the characterization of the area as “residences associated with farms, although a few are for recreational purposes (e.g., second homes)” is grossly misrepresented.

The application states, “The Project may result in one or more large and important impacts that may have a significant impact on the environment, therefore a positive State Environmental Quality Review [SEQR] declaration will be prepared.”

There is also considerable concern among residents about the effects on wildlife. In 2010, the National Wind Coordinating Collaborative (funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind and Water Technologies Program) released a fact sheet on research that confirms that wind turbines kill birds and bats. The proposed project area is a major thoroughfare for Canada Geese, not to mention a native habitat for raptors (including eagles) and migratory songbirds.

Residents believe the application for the special use permit and the draft environmental impact statement as submitted are inadequate and inaccurate, and that it would be irresponsible for the Town to grant the permit at this time; the data are incomplete and information has not been made available in a timely manner to the residents who will be most affected.

Aside from all of these critical issues, the overarching question is this: Why are local residents only just now learning about a massive project that will significantly affect their properties and their lives?  Is it too cynical to inquire whether the Town of Madison’s new windpower regulations, adopted on April 14, 2011, were developed specifically in anticipation of this project?

A special meeting of the Town Planning Board to discuss the project will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16, at the Town of Madison’s offices at 7358 State Route 20, Madison, telephone 315-893-7020.

Chris Hoffman lives in the village of Sherburne in her 150+ year-old house where she caters to the demands of her four cats, attempts to grow heirloom tomatoes and herbs and reads voraciously. She passionately pursues various avenues with like-minded friends to preserve and protect a sustainable rural lifestyle for everyone in Central New York. 


By martha

4 thoughts on “Yet Another Corporate Invasion on the Horizon; Public Hearing in Madison is Feb. 16”
  1. Chris
    You are up against the same thing that we on Cape Cod have been fighting for 10 years.
    “The dirty politics of clean power”
    From your article, I would suggest a couple of important steps.
    1. The endangered species act is one of the most powerful tools you may have. Look up Michael Boyd in CA. Expert on suing wind farms for the endangered species act. The killing of protected Raptors and Bats
    2. Both the turbines and the Electric Transformer Platform will contain hazardous toxic transformer oil (probably 15,000 gallons) and hazardous transmission, gear oil, and transmission fluid in each turbine (500 gallons each). I mention this because in the description of your location, you mention “pond”
    If this is the source of your town watershed or aquifer, the release of these oils could contaminate your water supplies. (This could involve the EPA)
    3. If your state is as crooked as the politics in Massachusetts have been on the wind permitting, you may want to start using the freedom of information act to find just who has been involved in the drafting of your recent wind permitting bylaw.
    4. Follow the money, who is getting the land lease, equipment contracts and other related concessions.
    5. I would contact your state attorney generals office using registered mail so that they cannot ignore your inquiries.
    6. These projects require massive clearing so that they may function properly, the land clearing is never mentioned in the permitting process.
    7. Your FAA permit is probably as crooked as the rest of the project. They have marching orders from the Department of Energy to green light these projects. You will probably find that they have ignored any local airports, radar systems and weather radr systems. You may also want to check if you have any local military facilitys with radar systems. Believe it or not, the FAA usually doesn’t check with the military, only to be overturned later.
    8. Who is buying this power? What will it cost? Who is bonding the oil spills and damage to local roads. Will local ratepayers have to pay for the cost of the transmission upgrade?
    9.These don’t get built without Federal and State subsidies, Check and find which local congressman or senator’s pocket this developer is in. Expose them and the true cost to rate and taxpayers,
    I wish you the best of luck in your fight to protect the beauty of your area.

    Best regards

  2. My team and I were in Hamilton this summer -treated with courtesy even tho we were working on new technology to treat produced water from gas shale fracturing. Yet we saw “no frac” signs all over the county.

    Folks, everyone needs SOME form of energy – for your well being, your community, and your children as they grow up.

    Please consider becoming and activist FOR new forms of energy

  3. Several days since you broke the story and still no public comment from our town government.
    We seem to have a town supervisor only during election season.
    Madison needs a public website and use it to keep citizens informed.

  4. While I recognize the validity of your concerns, we should look at these within the scope of which they affect. Compare the “toxic fluids and lubricants” to your average content in personal commuter vehicles alone, traveling through or parked within the same area and the wind farms operate. The proportion of possible leaks, combustion, and spills during fueling, oil changes and tank/engine block rupturing accidents is exponentially greater than any potential risk by turbines and turbine construction alone. Existing fueling stations and oil change businesses as well as commercial manufacturing facilities has not even been considered in this fact. Compare the measurable pollution, noise, and environmental effects produced by coal and gas fired energy plants within your local area as well as the ambient noise levels produced by passing traffic, other civil construction, and residential “noise” you deal with every day to the level of 45db produced by an operating wind turbine at the point of location. Now, compare all this to that of an actual wind farm only after personally visiting one. My last point is for your research. As far as environmental impact on local habitat and species, I explore you to read the information at for your review and consideration. My wife has a BA in Field Biology, and an MBA in Education and will soon have her masters in Field Biology (mammal and avian specialty). I state this to emphasize I/we not some wacko wind hippies. I respect everyone’s opinion, and am not here to argue one proponent over the other. Rather to simply provide the “flip side of the coin” for you to make your own “educated” decision and not to allow any one source to make up your mind for you. I am currently in Shelby, MT 100 miles from Glacier national park) building MET towers for monitoring wind data at Glacier 1 wind farm (over 200 turbines when completed), sister farm to Glacier 2 (completed and operating over 180 turbines) 30 miles away. I am not privy to all of the behind the scenes happenings as mentioned in the article and comments but I have seen nothing but acceptance from local residence, clean well maintained and environmentally compliant operations on the wind farms, and little interruption to the local population or the environment, rather an economic blessing in the form of additional income for local residents and clean energy jobs. During our time here there has been strict mandatory compliance to, and continued studies, to manage and minimize disruption and damage to any environmental, habitat, and native or migratory species by 3rd party environmental consultants. (Again, please see the included link). I am from Racine ,WI (soon to be moving to Madison, WI). From what I have personally witnessed and researched on my own and through articles for and against wind farms, I would support a wind farm development “in my back yard”. These are my observations and my opinion, so I implore you to respect that before posting any argumentative or attacking follow-up comments. Thank you for the the opportunity to express my experiences and views.

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