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VN 7/10 - Thump, Thump

Two weeks ago the Cohocton Planning Board uncritically accepted UPC Wind's FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement) without further review and appears to be poised to grant "Special Use Permits" (zoning variances) giving the developer local approval to go ahead as planned. Since then we've seen the voluminous FEIS and done a preliminary review of some of its revised findings.

What improvements does the FEIS contain?
- Absolutely none. Unsurprisingly, it's more of the same self-serving project justification that we've seen all along.
- Hessler's "new" noise study fails to correct its underlying fatal flaw: a totally inaccurate assessment of ambient noise (at least 5 dBA high). However, it does tell us that the Clipper turbines are much louder at the low thumping frequencies than previously estimated - up to 120 dBA - a fact that is glossed over in the sound projection contours.
- Revised visual impact studies note that the most dramatically negative impacts are where turbines are within 1/2 mile of the viewer (where most residents on the hills live). But simulations showing turbines this close are hard to find. Why? Probably because they won't fit on a page without using a camera with a special "fisheye" lens.
- Shadow flicker studies only measure impacts at one window in a house, not on the landscape within view of each dwelling.
- PILOT payment estimates - negotiations with SCIDA are still incomplete - keep getting smaller. What is SCIDA's status, anyway?

Are we really ready to approve this project? If it gets past the legal, political, logistical, and economic hurdles that lie ahead with ongoing local concerns, the PSC, and limited availability of Clipper turbines, what will we have? Defaced hills cluttered with looming industrial machines that make disturbing thumping noises night after night. And the promised PILOT payments? How small will they turn out to be?

Browse our website for more information, and make sure you come out to this week's Planning Board meeting on Wednesday night at the Hatch Hose Fire House, 30 University Avenue in Atlanta, at 7:30 pm to find out how our leaders handle UPC's Special Use Permit request.



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