June 20, 2008

Sackets Harbor, N.Y., Residents Ask Questions About Proposed Wind Farm

By NANCY MADSEN, Watertown Daily Times, N.Y.

Jun. 18--SACKETS HARBOR--What did we miss?

That's what state Department of Environmental Conservation officials were asking members of the public who attended hearings on the proposed Galloo Island Wind Farm at 3 and 7 p.m. Tuesday at the public safety building, 411 W. Washington St.

DEC, as lead agency for the environmental review process, sought input on what studies should be required for the project's environmental impact statement.

"We're hoping to get input from the public on what should be in that document," said Jack A. Nasca, the chief of energy projects and management division of environmental permits for DEC.

He said the department is holding the sessions to create a broad list of the areas in which the public is concerned about the effects of turbines.

There are areas where locals have more expertise than DEC.

For example, Lawrence C. Barone, a village trustee and business owner, asked that special attention be paid to the historic significance of the island.

"I'd like to see you have a professional photographer with a naturalist and a historian create a digital record of the island as it is today," he said. "The tree-stump field, cedar roots, rock piles and shoreline construction, wood and stone fencing, outbuildings and utility poles are all examples of the type of objects that tell the story of the island and should be left in place."

The draft scoping document does include some archaeological studies in consultation with the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Christine Eggleston, chairwoman of the Hounsfield Zoning Board of Appeals, said she wanted to know more about the way the facility's supply system would work. "I'd like an investigation of the impacts on the shore-side residential and recreational resources," she said.

While Oswego would be the port used for the large barges of equipment, small goods and staff would come from Henderson, Sackets Harbor and other north country landing sites.

Other members of the public veered from the areas of the environmental impact studies and gave statements supporting or opposing the proposed project.

David W. Altieri, the village's Heritage Area director, asked if the company and state would consider maximizing the positive effects, not just minimizing the negative effects.

"By opening access to the island, you could open historical resources, natural resources and recreational resources to the public," he said.

About 40 members of the public appeared at the evening hearing and 12 gave statements during both sessions.

The department will accept written comments through June 30. The draft scope is available at the Hounsfield town clerk's office, Hay Memorial Library and Henderson Free Library.

After the scope is finalized, the developer will work on the studies outlined in the document.


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