Wind farms depend on tax write-offs

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

To the Editor:

Thank you for your article reporting on the recent public hearing in Italy on Pattern Energy’s proposal for its Italy-Prattsburgh wind farm and on the Pattern’s request to the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center for a PILOT agreement (Chronicle-Express, Sept. 23, 2009).

Your readers should know that 91 of 112 speakers at the public hearing spoke against the Pattern application.

Your readers also should know why so many property owners in Italy are opposed to the Pattern project.  As Congressman Massa has stated at numerous meetings in our area and as Energy Secretary Chu also has noted, wind farms will not solve our energy problems.  Wind energy is unreliable.  Wind farms must be backed up by coal-fired, nuclear and other plants that cannot be shut down and restarted quickly or easily.  The electricity produced by wind farms also is very expensive to transmit and store.

Wind farms also have severe environmental impacts.  The Italy-Prattsburgh wind farm would increase noise levels at homes in the surrounding area from 25 to 45 dBA and on occasion to 50 dBA.  The DEC regards an increase of 20 dBA as “intolerable.”  In addition to being loud, the wind farm will produce impulsive and low frequency noise that will rattle homes and force out property owners.  The turbines will kill many birds and very large numbers of bats.  None of this has been given a “hard look” by the Town of Italy or the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency.

It seems unlikely that industrial wind development would take place in New York if it were not supported by subsidies.  Tax write-offs for wealthy developers, paid for by all tax-payers, falsely masquerade as “green.”  In addition, as Congressman Massa has observed, small, ill-informed, and ill-equipped town boards across Western New York are being crushed by powerful companies and powerful lawyers who don’t care about homeowners.

Italy and Yates County should think long and hard before they buy this pig in a poke.

Anthony Carter