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Letters to the Attorney General

Regarding the recently proposed abuse of Eminent Domain by Prattsburgh, NY town officials, we are joining with others in urging you to write a personal appeal to Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and send tonight or by Monday, April 28th.

It is important to have as many people as possible contact Attorney General Cuomo ASAP. Developments imply that contact from voters at this time can have a positive influence. Pass on this message to your own lists.

You may submit your appeal in one of 3 ways:
Fax: (518) 473-9909
Online: http://www.oag.state.ny.us/online_forms/email_ag.jsp
Mail: NYS Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, The Capitol, Albany, NY 12224-0341

Click here to read an example letter.

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UPC Eminent Domain Threat

On Monday April 21, 2008 the Prattsburgh Town Board voted to approve a resolution that allows for the use of eminent domain proceedings in order to facilitate the Windfarm Prattsburgh Project. Cohocton Wind Watch is appalled by a threat of an inappropriate application of legal confiscation that only benefits UPC Wind. UPC representatives and attorney refused to provide any evidence that sufficient wind exists in Prattsburgh to generate electricity from industrial wind turbines.

When a Board member asked, what quantity of electricity can be expected to be generated and go into the grid, no total amount was provided. UPC has had six years to secure easements for transmission lines. If they are unable to buy these rights from property owners, they seem determined to rely upon state force to compel objecting land owners to give up their property rights. No meaningful benefit to the community, region, or society has ever been documented or proven.

Legal actions from two local school districts over a PILOT tax exemption are pending against the Town, SCIDA, and the UPC developer. The Prattsburgh Board voted 3 to 2 to approve condemnation initiatives that can apply to any property within the township. Councilman Charles Shick and Steven R. Kula courageously voted against the eminent domain resolution. Supervisor J. Harold McConnell, refused to recue himself from the vote after admitting he took money as a commission from the sale of property to a wind developer while overseeing the passage of wind projects approvals.

James Hall for Cohocton Wind Watch



Prattsburgh Conflict of Interest

We have heard from reputable sources that the Town of Prattsburgh Supervisor has been hired and earned money as a real estate agent for UPC Wind Company. He has been helping them purchase property necessary for the company’s transmission lines and transport routes. Also, from his Town Supervisor’s position he has sent letters to landowners asking them on behalf of the town, to sign contracts with the wind company. Conflict of interest??? We think so!

Nancy Wahlstrom

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Current Cohocton Realities

1) Intermittent and unpredictable wind to produce reliability electric generation, according to Iberdrola's brief in the PSC - Energy East acquisition hearings. "As a result, energy from these wind projects cannot reasonably be sold in NYISO's day-ahead market, in which the substantial majority of New York electricity is bought and sold."

2) Clipper Wind C26, 2.5 MW turbines used at Steelwinds have gear box and blade failures, requiring replacement. Cohocton turbines blades need re-engineering.

3) SEQR disclosures claim transmission lines less than 10 miles. Reality is over that limit which requires more rigorous PSC regulations for projects.

4) Industrial turbine siting from residents vastly inadequate. Smaller Vestas turbine safety regulations warn of a danger zone.

5 Low frequency noise UPC claims vastly underestimate the reality at Tug Hill.

6) Significant farm land area taken out of production, contrary to UPC claims.

7) Road damage from construction severe and restoration not funded by UPC.

8) Decommissioning letter of credit on a foreign bank for $1,084,000. Cost to take down a single turbine is well in excess of $1,000,000 each.

9) PILOT tax exemption wholly inadequate as fair compensation from an industrial project that alters the fundamental character of the community.

10) UPC HOST Agreement is not enforceable and developer can void terms with no penalties. Contract can be terminated by 9/1/08 with no additional payments.

11) Planning Board members and family now employed by contractor and suppliers.

12) Transmission leases lacking to complete the project, as construction proceeds.

13) Proper permitting, insurances and guarantees lacking, as construction proceeds.

14) Active legal actions pending in court that may require abandonment of project.

15) Family turmoil and neighbor discontent among Cohocton citizens.

16) Significant reduction in property values as a consequence of industrial spot zoning has already occurred with specific documentation from sales.

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Letter to Time Magazine

I read your recent article about the clean energy myth surrounding ethanol fuels. There is another major clean energy myth and it concerns the use of wind power. Large "wind farms," are being built all over the U.S. in the mistaken belief that they will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Wind farms only produce usable power in a fairly narrow range of wind speeds and this does not reliably occur at times when the power is needed. Base power plants burning fossil or nuclear fuels must be cut back to balance the grid, but must be kept idling to take up the demand when the wind dies. In such spinning, idling conditions, power plants are relatively inefficient and their fuel usage and emissions are not effectively reduced. Here in northern New York, the grid manager is often tempted to use hydro-power as the balancing power for wind as it is more easily controlled than coal fired or nuclear power. In this situation, there are obviously no savings in fuel use or emissions from the use of wind generated power.

Wind power produces only very small and intermittent amounts of power at a very high cost, considering the large investment required. What wind power does accomplish is the transfer of large tax liabilities from wealthy investors to the rest of us because of large tax write-offs and subsidies granted by federal, state and local governments. These subsidies, coupled with an increase in our utility bills, constitute the economic drive supporting construction of these mammoth wind towers. In addition, investors are allowed the accumulation of false "energy credits," permitting industry to continue polluting practices elsewhere. The wind developers proceed with construction based on the myth that they are creating "green energy," - a myth that is not questioned or examined critically by the public or our elected representatives. Wind energy is a false solution to our problems of energy consumption and global warming. It gives people comfort that we are on the way to solving our problems while diverting attention and financial resources from the task of finding real solutions.

Until we can find reasonable solutions to our energy problems, simple programs for energy conservation can go a long way to mitigate our situation.

Albert H. Bowers III
Naval Architect & Maritime Consultant



Schools File PILOT Suits

In an article by published in this week's Corning Leader, Mary Perham reports that

Two local school districts claim they aren’t getting their fair share of tax payments from a wind farm development in the Prattsburgh area. Charging deliberate attempts to prevent them from receiving proper payments, two local school districts filed lawsuits recently against the Town of Prattsburgh and Steuben County Industrial Development Agency, and other agencies.

The lawsuits filed by both the Prattsburgh and Naples school districts allege the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement for the 36-turbine wind farm project creates a significant loss in anticipated revenues for the schools. Both districts want the tax agreement thrown out for the wind turbines that stretch along hillsides in Prattsburgh and Naples.

Click here to read the entire article, including UPC Wind's oblique response.

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