BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - Nearby residents opposed to a proposed wind farm in Eastern Broome County are stepping up their efforts to have their voices heard.
They've formed a group called Broome County Concerned Residents and have developed a long list of objections to the Bluestone Wind Farm Project planned for portions of the Towns of Sanford and Windsor.
Developer Calpine wants to build a 124-megawatt wind-powered electric generation facility made up of 33 wind turbines that would stand over 600 feet tall, much taller than conventional land-based wind mills.
BCCR is concerned about a loss of property values, light pollution, threats to birds and other wildlife, the toxic chemicals used to de-ice the 500 foot-long blades, and a phenomenon known as ice throws in which chunks of ice rain down from the turbines.
Opponent Anne Lawrence of the Town of Sanford says her biggest concern is the negative health effects from the vibrations and the noise. "Anything over a certain level of decibels, you have that going on 24/7 next to you will make your ears start ringing and the whole annoyance. You don't sleep anymore at night. People have to leave their houses in certain places because they just can't sleep."
Lawrence says she and others are outraged at the secrecy surrounding the project over the past couple years.
She claims that Calpine and the Town of Sanford did little to publicize the ongoing planning process which now just requires state approval.
Complicating factors is a form of gag order that is part of the leaseholders contracts with Calpine that forbids them from discussing the terms.
"They had to promote the project. So, they could say nothing negative about it, they had to be quiet about it or they had to promote it. So, in a small town, where everybody speaks to each other, these things would have become part of the conversation. But, because they gagged the people that signed, it was never really revealed."
Lawrence says Calpine has been able to advance the project far enough now that opposing residents may have to resort to litigation in order to have their concerns addressed.
They plan to attend town board meetings in the Town of Sanford at 7 tonight and Windsor at 7 PM tomorrow.
They'll be asking Windsor to adopt protective ordinances establishing minimum setbacks and noise restrictions.
A phone call to Calpine's Corporate Communications office was not returned.