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Tug Hill Land Trust report raises questions about proposed wind farm

By Charles McChesney


SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A proposed wind farm on 20,000 acres of private land in Oswego and Jefferson counties raises concerns, according to a study by two professors at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF).

While noting that wind energy is “largely expected to lower or reduce the risk of potentially catastrophic effects to selected wildlife populations from unmitigated climate change,” David Newman and Brian Fisher wrote in the report that the wind farm could create a number of problems.

The report noted that the proposed Mad River Wind Farm, proposed by Avangrid Renewables, would include an estimated 88 wind turbines installed in the “core forest” of the Tug Hill Region. The turbines would stand more than 500 feet tall and include blades more than 200 feet long.

The report, prepared for Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust, noted that installing and maintaining the project would require roads as well as clearings, breaking up the habitat. The Tug Hill forest, the report said, “is the third largest and most contiguous forested region in New York State, after the Adirondacks and Catskill forests, and can be considered one of the most relatively undisturbed and ecologically important areas in New York State.”

The report also noted that U.S. Department of the Interior guidance calls for locating wind turbines away from wetlands while the Mad River proposal includes turbines near wetlands.

An Avangrid spokesperson tells BJNN in an email that the state’s Article 10 permitting process, used for permitting power plants, is “one of the most rigorous” and Avangrid invites Tug Hill Land Trust to participate in the process.

“Wind farms have historically been compatible with active working landscapes that support multiple uses, as this property currently does, but we look forward to the environmental studies conducted in accordance with the Article 10 process,” the spokesperson says. “They’ll detail what if any impacts this project may have, and with state oversight, how best to avoid or mitigate those concerns.”

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