LOWVILLE — Public comments about the Number Three Wind Farm and the recommended decisions made by judges in the Article 10 process are welcome until Sept. 12 before the state Siting Board will make its final decisions on the project.
On Aug. 22, Presiding Examiner Maureen F. Leary, administrative law judge for state Public Service, and Associate Examiner Molly T. McBride, administrative law judge for the Department of Environmental Conservation, recommended that the Siting Board grant the certificate needed to begin construction of the wind farm only if Invenergy, Number Three’s parent company, meets a number of “conditions designed to minimize the impacts on the local community.”
The conditions include changing the acceptable decibel level for wind farm noise to be in alignment with World Health Organization standards and to consider the cumulative impact of Number Three with the existing Maple Ridge and Copenhagen Wind Farms.
Specific steps Number Three should have to take to minimize harm to protected species of grassland birds and bats are outlined along with a number of checks, balances, monitoring and evaluation standards to help learn more about the long-term impacts of wind farms and to identify and fix issues that arise throughout the 30-year life of the project.
The recommended change that has received the most public comments on the project’s state Public Service’s website is that of adding radar-activated lighting to the Number Three turbines.
About seven members of the Tug Hill Alliance for Rural Preservation, known as THARP, mentioned lighting recommendations specifically in their comments.
Some conceded that while they aren’t happy about the project moving forward, decreasing the number of red lights steadily blinking in the night sky to decrease the wind farm’s impact on their lives was an important step.
“It certainly would be better for residents if all Lewis County wind farms used ALDS systems — however, they don’t — so the next best thing would be to make it the standard for all new wind farms,” said THARP co-founder Rebecca Sheldon.
Shari Simmons, who is impacted by the Copenhagen Wind Farm, has been outspoken about new wind farms proposed in the area and raised the issue of bald eagles in the area that were not considered in the Copenhagen Wind Farm nor by Number Three.
The siting board’s final decision is expected in November.
To read the judges’ full recommended decision and make comments, go to www.dps.ny.gov and search by case number for “16-F-0328.” or email email@example.com and note the case number in the subject line of the email.
By traditional mail, send a letter containing the case number to Secretary Kathleen H. Burgess, NY State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment, 3 Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12223-1350, or by calling 1-800-335-2120 to leave a comment.