Cohocton Wind Watch: July 2006
Cohocton Wind Watch is a community citizen organization dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life in Cohocton, NY and in surrounding townships. Neighbors committed to public service in order to achieve a reasonable vision for a Finger Lakes region worthy of future generations.


READ about the FIRST WIND Connection to the Obama Administration

Industrial Wind and the Wall Street Cap and Trade Fraud




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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Media Release regarding Article 78 Supreme Court decision by attorney David Miller

On July 21, 2006, Supreme Court Justice John J. Ark issued a Decision and Order in the matter of James Hall v. Jack Zigenfus et al., constituting the Town Board of the Town of Cohocton. Judge Ark dismissed Mr. Hall’s petition on the narrow grounds that Mr. Hall lacked standing to commence his lawsuit.

Mr. Hall disagrees with the Court’s decision and regrets that the Court declined to address the merits of the case, namely that the Town Board failed to comply with the State SEQR environmental review process before it adopted the windmill local law. This was an allegation made by Mr. Hall in his lawsuit and which was not denied, by the Town Board in any of its responding papers.

Mr. Hall firmly believes that as a resident of the Town of Cohocton in an area where wind turbines generators are now permitted he does have the standing to contest the Town Board’s action. Furthermore, he believes that the Cohocton Town Board should have complied with New York State law before it adopted the windmill law. Accordingly, Mr. Hall will appeal the Court’s decision.

David P. Miller - ESQ

Glenn R. Schleede letter to the Editor

July 27, 2006

The Editor
The Washington Times

Dear Editor:

Your July 27, 2006, story, "Energetic turn to wind power," is a perfect example of an apparently naive reporter being "taken in" by Washington-based industry lobbyists. The result is a biased, uninformed story about wind energy masquerading as "news."

You and your reporters need to realize that the wind industry and other wind advocates, including the US DOE, have for years been spreading false and misleading information about "wind energy."

If the wind industry or its sycophants in DOE were in fact able to get President Bush to "predict" that wind might someday supply 20% of US electricity needs, the President's staff needs to give him better protection from DOE officials and check facts before having him make more uninformed statements and "predictions."

Specifically, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that wind provided 36/100 of 1% of US electric generation in 2005 and predicts that wind might provide 1.09% by 2030.

In fact, the wind industry and DOE have greatly overstated the environmental and energy benefits of wind energy and greatly understated the environmental, ecological, economic, scenic and property value costs. Their lobbying has led to faulty federal and state wind energy policies, tax shelters and other subsidies that:

1. Annually transfer millions of dollars from the pockets of ordinary taxpayers and electric customers to the pockets of a few large companies that own "wind farms" or manufacturer wind turbines.

2. Misdirect billions in capital investment dollars into energy projects ("wind farms" or "wind parks") that produce little electricity -- which electricity is intermittent, volatile and unreliable.

Thanks to citizen-led groups from around the US and other countries where "wind farms" have been proposed or built, facts about wind energy are gradually being exposed. Those facts are quite readily available if your reporter had looked for them instead of listening to obviously biased wind industry lobbyists. She would have learned, for example, that:

1. Tax avoidance, not environmental and energy benefits, has become the primary motivation for building “wind farms.” Currently, two-thirds of the economic value of wind projects comes from federal tax benefits.

2. Huge windmills – some 35 stories tall -- produce very little electricity, as demonstrated by the data provided above.

3. Electricity from wind turbines has less real value than electricity from reliable generating units.

4. The true cost of electricity from wind energy is much higher than wind advocates admit.

5. Wind energy has NOT been a great success in other countries. Denmark and Germany have residential electricity prices that are among the highest in the world and are experiencing many problems due to their use of wind energy. Opposition to wind turbines is also growing in other countries. Expectations that wind energy will make significant contributions toward meeting European Kyoto goals have been discredited.

If you or your reporter would like documentation for the above facts, please let me know -- or you might have her check such web sites as http://www.windwatch.org/ and http://www.windaction.org/.

Above all, please do not again let your reporters turn in such one-sided, uninformed stories.

Sincerely,

Glenn R. Schleede

18220 Turnberry Drive

Round Hill, VA 20141-2574

540-338-9958

cc: White House speech writers and fact checkers

WHY I VOTED AGAINST WINDPOWER by John F. "Jack" Sullivan

John F. “Jack” Sullivan
Town Councilor
Malone, NY

July 22, 2006

To whom it may concern:

To some, my vote against wind power in Malone was a vote against progress; however, be assured that this decision was based on hundreds of hours of study and research, as well as numerous mathematical calculations backed by years of business experience and a graduate degree in physics. This vote was against the degradation of local property values, destruction of some wonderful viewsheds, lowering the quality of life of some local residents, and the accruing of millions of dollars of NY taxpayer dollars by a few wind developers.

The following should be kept in mind concerning New York wind power projects:

(1) Not a single kw-hr. of electricity will go directly to local residents. Over 99.9% of the power produced goes out of town, mostly to large urban areas.
(2) Wind power WILL NOT be cheaper. Currently, National Grid offers wind power at 1.5 cents above market. ( How can they possibly separate wind power to an individual house?) Last year, when the largest wind project in the east went on-line, did your light bill decrease?
(3) Wind power has almost no relation to oil imports. Almost no electricity is produced by burning oil. Because of the expense of oil, the few oil fired plants in the country are used mainly as backups during peak demand, such as sultry summer days when wind is virtually nonexistent. Wind power would not dent our oil imports. All of New York's wind turbines produce less energy in a year than is contained in ONE DAY’S WORTH of imported oil. Besides this, the tiny amount of oil used to generate electricity all comes from the residue (basically, sludge) left over in the tanks from refining gas and diesel fuel. Essentially, then, this oil is a waste by-product of gas and diesel refinement.
(4) The typical PILOT program offered by area wind developers is far less than 1% of the total budgets of the taxing entities involved. PILOTS are a tiny percentage of company profits. You & I pay full taxes; it is unfair not to demand this of the wind energy companies, which contribute very little by way of jobs to the local economy.
(5) Currently, North Country wind projects can have towers within 1000' of an inhabited dwelling. This distance is much too close for a 400' tall tower. Towers this close have a potential for causing many problems, including: lowering property values, shadow flicker (an annoying problem and, for people prone to seizure disorder or car-sickness or sea-sickness, a serious health hazard that occurs when the sun is low on the horizon), bird kills (especially on migratory routes, as we have here with the Greater Snow Geese and other species), and excessive (health-damaging) sound levels. NOTE: sound pressure levels (decibels) emitted by wind turbines vary widely, depending on wind speed and direction, distance from turbine blades, and even time of day. Scientists using professional-grade instruments have measured sound levels up to 84 db. at 3300' ( over half a mile). That's twice the noise level of a 500 hp Corvette under full throttle.
(6) Windpower is unpredictable: you never know how much you are going to get or how long it will last. The wind salesmen are wont to lead us to believe that the nameplate capacity is the same as the constant output of the turbines. A 1.5 MW GE turbine doesn't produce 1.5 MW until wind gets to 16-18 m/s (about 36 to 40 mph ). Production drops off dramatically at lower wind speeds: less than 0.2 MW at 20 mph, and a miniscule 0.02 MW at 10 mph. Malone's past 2-year average wind speed was 6.05 mph—not enough even to start a large wind turbine. Why try to have a wind project in Malone? READ ON!
(7) The current 1.5 MW turbines have been in use over ten years. Why then, only now, do we get this onslaught of wind developers? The answer is recent government tax credits, subsidies and rapid depreciation allowances. Actually, their cumulative value is more than the value of the electricity produced. It seems likely that without our tax dollars the New York wind industry would simply vanish.
(8) In testing its own turbines GE found their overall net efficiency to be 10 percent!
(9) Wind developers say wind turbines use free fuel and are totally emission free. What they don’t acknowledge is that the emissions produced in manufacturing, transporting, construction and erection of a tower may take up to 7 years of operation to get back.
(10) The wind industry's goal is to produce 10% of NY's electricity. This is either an impossible dream or a blueprint for unbelievable destruction of rural NY landscape. Ten percent of NY's power is about 4000 MW, which translates into 15,000 1.5 MW turbines at 25% efficiency (probably a generous figure ). Since NY wind projects use an average of 60 acres per tower (according to NYSERDA), this means using 900,000 acres of our land for the next 20-50 years. According to NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research & Development Authority), 4000MW of (unpredictable, often gusting) wind power is likely to completely destabilize the entire power grid.
(11) Wind turbines shut down other facilities when in operation, thus reducing polluting emissions. However, figures of reduced emissions published by wind developers are greatly overblown, since only certain types of plants are taken off-line. The first to shut down are pure turbine natural gas plants, which produce much less pollution than coal plants and, secondly, hydro plants are shut down. It is absurd to replace one non-polluting renewable source with another.
(12) In initial presentations the wind salesmen promised up to 45 permanent jobs as a result of a 67 turbine project in Malone. My research found the industry average was 1 job per 10-12 turbines. Either the wind salesmen were exaggerating or they had the most inefficient company in the industry. In addition, their claimed "economic benefits" for the area included the cost of turbines (purchased in foreign countries) and construction contracts (most of which would certainly be awarded to out-of-area firms).
(13) The wind salesmen who invaded Malone actually had their lawyers write a zoning ordinance to govern themselves and then tried clandestinely to sneak it into the Planning Board as a sample from another town. One provision would have allowed 400’ high turbines less than 500’ from a home (the closest in NY State, I believe).
(14) The Malone wind project proposal would have impacted 5000 acres of land for up to 50 years, with little net gain to the community at large.


In attending a number of wind developer presentations it became obvious that they contained duplicitous, misleading statements, exaggerated benefits, and ignored the disadvantages. This, alone, was enough to turn me against wind power for Northern New York.

In addition, I really can’t reconcile the wind companies’ insistence on leasing land when they can buy it cheaper. Liability avoidance? Plans to walk out when the project is depreciated?

And you should see the lease agreements! I have never seen such a one-sided document in my life! I find it hard to believe anyone who signed this read it carefully. I’m sure many only read the financial clauses. I say, “Get a lawyer!” I would be happy to share a lease agreement with anyone wishing to examine one.

Is industrial wind power presently a viable choice for Northern New York? I think not. Yes, we need to reduce emissions and find user-friendly alternatives. Here are some realistic ways of accomplishing this:

(1) Industrial & residential conservation. The average homeowner can reduce electricity use by 15-25% with only very affordable expenditures.
(2) Clean up emissions from coal plants. Entirely feasible and less costly per megawatt-hour than wind power.
(3) Build some nuclear plants. France is 80% nuclear, SAFELY. It is far more dangerous to cross Malone’s Main St. than to live near an American nuclear power plant.
(4) Encourage small wind turbines (as the Malone local law does) and solar installations, both of which give realistic energy aid to local residents, instead of resorting to industrial wind turbines, which provide billions in tax money to multi-billion-dollar companies that take most of the profits out of the area.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

James Hall Article 78 against Town of Cohocton Decision

Hon. John J. Ark
Supreme Court Justice

Supreme Court Chambers
State of New York
412 Hall of Justice
Rochester, New York 14614
(585) 428-3547

Facsimile 428-3570 Law Clerk 428-2488

July 21,2006

Patrick F. McAllister, Esq.
31 Main Street
P.O. Box 338
Wayland, New York 14572

Re: James Hall v. Jack Zigenfus, et al. Index No. 97580

Dear Counsel:

Enclosed is the original Decision and Order relative to the above-captioned matter; a copy of which is herein forwarded to Mr. Miller.
Kindly file same with the Ontario County Clerk's Office and forward time-stamped copies to counsel and the Court.

Honorable John J. Ark Supreme Court Justice

JJA/dac Enclosure
c: David P. Miller, Esq. (w/enclosure)


STATE OF NEW YORK SUPREME COURT

COUNTY OF ONTARIO

JAMES HALL,

Petitioners,

DECISION and ORDER Index No. 97580

JACK ZIGENFUS, JEFFREY WISE, JOSEPH DYCKMAN, MILTON LEVESQUE, and WAYNE HUNT, Constituting the TOWN BOARD OF THE TOWN OF COHOCTON, NEW YORK,
Respondents.

Petitioner, a resident of the Town of Cochocton, Steuben County, has brought an Article 78 Petition in Ontario County Supreme Court, seeking annulment of a local law. The Petition, brought against members of the Cohocton Town Board, asserts that Local Law No. 1 of the Year 2006 of the Town of Cohocton (also known as the "Windmill Local Law") was promulgated in violation of the State Environmental Quality Review Act ("SEQRA").

The law purports to restrict and regulate the use and operation of residential, commercial and industrial windmills. The law is applicable to five town zoning districts which comprise the entire town. Petitioner resides in the Agricultural-Residential (AG-R) zoning district of the Town of Cohocton.

Respondents have moved for dismissal of the Petition, alleging that petitioner lacks standing to attack the local law in question. The affidavit of Jack Zigenfus, Cohocton Town Supervisor (and Town Board member) enumerates the public hearings that were held prior to the law's passage on January 24, 2006 (see, Zigenfus affidavit, paragraph II.). It further states that, while the petitioner may have attended various Town Board meetings and the public hearings, he was never heard to object to the proposed law's impact on the use or enjoyment of his property (kL paragraph 12.).
In the alternative, respondents request a change of venue to Steuben County, since the petitioner resides in the Town of Cohocton, said town is located entirely within Steuben County, all underlying events took place in the Town of Cohocton and Steuben County, and the respondents should not be required to travel outside the county within which Cohocton was incorporated, in order to respond to the Petition, which they deem to be groundless.

Before addressing the question of standing, the Court wishes to restate the parties' respective positions. Petitioner maintains that the Town Board did not follow the dictates of SEQRA in formulating the local law. Respondents point out that SEQRA is invoked in the law as part of the approval process, under §§ I (A)(l) and II (A)(l). Petitioner asserts that the law allows construction of windmills where none has ever existed. Respondents reply that the law, far from permitting windmill construction, merely regulates it, which regulation is of first impression, and of necessity beneficial to the town's environmental quality.

The thrust of petitioner's argument (though not well particularized) is that the method of enactment was deficient, in light of SEQRA's mandates. Respondents point to petitioner's failure to claim any existing or imminent danger to his property. They therefore deem the Petition to be fatally defective.

On the threshold issue of petitioner's standing, respondents cite The Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc., et al. v. County of Suffolk, et al. (77 NY2d 761 [1991]). That case required, as a prerequisite to standing, that a petitioner demonstrate an "injury in fact," and that the interest asserted be arguably within the zone of interests protected by the law. Respondents also cite Society of Plastics far the proposition that rite subject injury must be "... in come way different in kind or degree from (hat of the general public" (Matter uf Brighton Residents Against Violence to CMdrtn. Inc v. Town of Brighton. 3(K AD2d 33 (200)], at page 36. ching AvrfeQ' of Plastics} Petitioner is of the belief that mere residence in an affected zoning district grams him automatic stmding to challenge the validity of the Windmill Local Law. The parties also differ over whether Qiis is actually Bland use case. Petitioner holda that it ii not. Respondents claim that it is in fact a land use case. The Court is cooctrained to agree with the respondents

While petitioner opines that his denial of standing would prevent anyone else from gaining standing to challenge this or any contemplated legislation on the subject, he is missing the point In order for a party to have standing, there must first be a justiciable controversy.

SEQRA is an aivironmentally-mutivated statute. The inleresta it seeks to protect arc the integrity and viability of the physical environment. Petitioner's interest (though not articulated by him) is at beiiieconomK; and at the leasi, aesthetic. These are not interests germane to an environmental monitoring vehicle such as SEQRA.
Petitioner has not been damaged by the mere bet of enactment of Local Law No. 1 of the Year 2006. Unless and until a special ose permit for corutruciion and operation of a windmill is granted, there exists no potential Tor environmental injury to his property.

Onty after die granting of an application could petitioner assert con-compliance with SEQRA *s procedural mandates. He would also then be required to allege environmental degradation, current or potential. to his property. Factors sucb as numbers and proximity to his land of any proposed windmills would enter into any judicial review or the Town Board's action.

However, since any such procedural errors or incidents/threats of damage are speculative and hypoihelicnl, Ilic IMilion ift preiimlme.

James Hall fails to allege any items of actual or potential environmental injury to his property that would convey .sltuuliug on him to challenge this Windmill Local Law of Cohocton, New York. He has not in fact specified injury of any kind, whether of a type that would affect the public at large, or of a nature specific to his property.

HONORABLE JOHN J. ARK, JSC
A motion to dismiss James Hall's Article 78 Petition is granted. The alternative request for a change of venue is moot.

Notice to Sandor Fox, Jack Zigenfus, and Jim Sherron by Robert C. Strasburg II

Below are two letters that you may have seen. My reason for bringing them to your attention is because they bring sound reasons to consider an immediate moratorium on all wind turbine projects in Steuben County. We have all studied this issue long enough to understand it is simply about money, not energy. If you consider this fact, and if money is the sole justification for this project, please consider the logical points brought out below.

We all know how the dark side of politics works. Wind Companies have bought their way into the income streams of government supported high jacking of tax revenues. There have got to be better answers for Steuben County and its Towns. I urge all of you to consider how you can in good conscience go forward with this violation. Concerned citizens of honorable reputation and education have brought sufficient information to the forefront of this issue to justify a moratorium.

Can any Town government point to a serious study from an unbiased reputable source in which all economic impacts from this program have been considered? We as residents of Steuben County are at the bottom of the food chain in this Federal and State level political swindle of taxpayers, yet we do have the ability to stop this with the cooperation of our government.

Preserve us from the victimization being perpetrated on us.

Sincerely,

Robert C. Strasburg II

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Bradley E. Jones letter to Philip J. Roche - Chairman, Steuben County Legislature

July 22, 2006

Philip J. Roche
Chairman, Steuben County Legislature
3 East Pulteney Square
Bath, New York 14810

Dear Mr. Roche,

I was part of a group of neighbors who spoke out against the Windfarm Prattsburgh at last Thursday’s Public Hearing. We were all very appreciative that you took the time to attend and listen to our concerns. Though we will be submitting a comprehensive analysis and critique of the DEIS, I wanted to send you some comments sooner so that you may have some additional time to consider some of the broader economic development issues.

First, let me give you a little background. Our family has worked our 175 acres in the town of Italy since 1958. We have done Timber Stand Improvement, planted tens of thousands of pine, spruce, and larch, thousands of wildlife shrubs, built four ponds (stocked with bass or trout), and strived always to maintain the character of the former farm and forestlands. In recognition of our accomplishments we received the Conservationist of the Year award from the NY DEC. Dad was deservedly proud of this recognition. Today we are a Certified Tree Farm with a DEC-approved Forest Management Plan. And our heritage orchard, which was planted last year, will be bearing fruit next season.

It goes without saying that we are totally committed to this area, its continued economic development, and the preservation of its cultural roots.

Regarding economic development I believe that there are a number of potential threats given the scope of the proposed windfarms that require serious, thoughtful, and objective analysis. The DEIS consideration of economic development impact is not serious, thoughtful, or objective. Here are a few issues that deserve further study.

1. Impact on Central Finger Lakes Tourism. Carole Kost covered this issue well in her remarks Thursday. Based on the studies she referred to as well as plain common sense the windfarms are a major threat to this $200M annual revenue stream. This threat needs to be carefully looked at by the various tourism groups, and studies need to be conducted by objective third parties.

2. Impact on property values. This issue will be covered in detail in our DEIS comments prepared by local real estate experts who believe that the impact to higher value properties will be devastating. For example, Canadaigua Lake waterfront is some of the most expensive property in the entire country. There are many multimillion-dollar homes, the majority of which are permanent residences. Danny Wegman (CEO of Wegmans Food and Pharmacy) and his wife reside on the west side. Tom Golisano (billionaire founder of Paychex) also has a place there. In addition to the waterfront value, there are hundreds of high-end homes on the hillsides overlooking the lake, including the massive investment at Bristol Harbor. The Prattsburgh, Italy, and Cohocton windfarms will be directly in the viewsheds of hundreds of millions of dollars of residences, yet there is not even a mention of this in the impact statements. The potential impact on such real estate should not be overlooked. It needs to have fair and objective analysis so that negative impact can be quantified and evaluated.

3. Implications for population growth and tax rolls. Back about six years ago my sister built a beautiful new log home on the northern portion of the property. Two years ago we completed a major renovation and expansion of our own home. Our neighbors to the north, the Bromleys, have just completed a significant expansion to their residence. Our new neighbors to the east, the Livingstons, just moved into their newly built home last summer. All of these families re-located from urban areas to make their permanent residences here. The total construction cost for these four projects was well over a million dollars, money that went to local suppliers, builders, and craftsmen. This incremental value is directly reflected in the tax rolls, and our taxes. Additionally, because we now all live here full-time, we spend our money here. A significant amount of annual revenue now goes to local businesses because of these new residents such as these.

This aspect of economic development is also quite eco-friendly, as existing large parcels were utilized; there has been no subdividing whatsoever. Perhaps it is not surprising that all us came from different places (Buffalo, Rochester, Geneva, and Raleigh-Durham) but we all came and made major investments for the same reasons: the countryside is just spectacular, and the peace, tranquility, and rural character more than make up for the inconvenience (several of us have rather long commutes). We came hear to live with nature; we moved away from urban, industrial, and commercial areas. It is quiet here all of the time; it is so quiet at night that guests from the city remark about it. The skies are deep black with billions of visible stars. There is no ambient light at night. There are no manmade structures anywhere in our viewshed. For those of us who choose to be here, it truly is God’s country. And for many of us who have been here for a long time, it is part of our culture and heritage.

I’ve only told you about four families within a single square mile. But our stories are not unique. They are being repeated throughout the area in Italy, Naples, Jerusalem, Prattsburgh, Cohocton, Springwater, Middlesex, and South Bristol. In aggregate, this influx of new residents is an economic development engine. We pay lots of taxes, we spend our money locally, we contribute to local institutions, and (in general) we demand few if any additional municipal services. This is an economic development engine that is all positive. There are loads of positives with no tangible negatives. A simple analysis of changes in residential values in Appendix K clearly shows rapid growth over 5 years in the >$100,000 sector while the lower end (<$60.000) is flat. New money is coming to our towns.

I expect you can see where I am going with this but it is an undeniable fact that none of us would have come here to live next to industrial scale wind turbines, to have our viewsheds ruined, our dark and still evenings taken away, or to have our health and safety compromised. If the turbines go up, this economic engine will cease to operate. And without question the economic value contributed from all of these new residents is far greater than what the windfarm developers promise, even if you believe what they claim. Will some of our neighbors decide to leave because their quality of life has been impacted? I can only speak for our own situation, and for now, we just don’t know. This property has been a central part of my life for 48 years and is a significant element of my identity. Since I was a child, I wanted to live at “the farm”. Our dream is now reality. This property speaks to our priorities and to our values. Should the Prattsburgh and Italy projects sprout multiple clusters of giant turbines smack dab in the center of our view, we may decide to move on. As I said, we just do not yet know. Of course, selling a high-end property with a viewshed marred by an industrial park may be pretty difficult.
So please study and carefully consider the longer-term implications of the windfarms on population growth and the tax rolls.

4. For a number of years I held an executive level position with ALSTOM USA. Of our 28 sites across the country, two were in upstate NY, in Rochester and Hornell. Between these two sites we had over 500 white-collar professionals in addition to a large blue-collar workforce. Recruiting professionals to Rochester was relatively easy. Recruiting them to Hornell was very difficult. Here is why. Most of today’s college grads live and work in urban or suburban environments. They make these choices for lifestyle, amenities, plentiful jobs, and friends and family. The decidedly rural character of Hornell is not the least bit attractive to the vast majority of engineers and scientists that ALSTOM Transport required. Based on many years of recruiting experience I would estimate that less than 10% of technical professionals would choose to work in a place like Hornell. So right off the bat we had a tiny applicant pool compared to Rochester or Seattle or Hartford or other sites. Since we were not going to be successful marketing Hornell as the next Silicon Valley, we had to sell it for its genuine assets: natural beauty, rural lifestyle, etc. This did appeal to that small segment of the population that would consider living in Bath, or Arkport, or Dansville, or Geneseo, or Naples (we still have a number of managers residing in Naples). This recruiting strategy paid off, and our attrition for technical professionals was quite low. Those that joined up liked it here, and stayed.

Unfortunately widespread development of industrial windfarms would significantly reduce our ability to attract new technical talent because we will lose the attributes that they value. In search of rural, they will not choose industrial. With all of the project plans on the table right now, I cannot in good conscience recommend that a client consider an expansion site in Steuben or Yates Counties. The risk of not being able to attract top talent would simply be too great. Again, this is an area of substantial economic risk that isn’t even considered in the DEIS.

I would also like to offer another example, a rather timely one. There are plans underway to build a luxury hotel/spa adjacent to Reservoir Creek Golf Course on Route 21 south of Naples village. If the Cohocton windfarm is built it will place a large number of turbines on Pine Hill that would tower over the hotel and ruin the entire southern viewshed. This project (120 permanent jobs) will not move forward if there is any possibility that Windfarm Cohocton (4 – 6 jobs) will be. This is not a rational economic development trade-off. We need to look at the bigger picture; we need to evaluate the cumulative impact of all of the proposed developments. Looking at each project separately without considering the aggregate impact on the local economy is not sufficient due diligence.

I believe that much additional study is required to honestly and objectively determine the real economic impact of the windfarm projects. To do this, one would first need to accurately quantify the economic benefits of the projects, and correct many of the blatant inaccuracies in the DEIS. Everyone agrees that there is economic benefit in PILOT’s and lease payments but they may be trivial in light of the economic risks described above. Another economic benefit described in the DEIS is the amount of electricity generated by the windfarm. But a close examination of the facts (courtesy of NYSERDA and GE Energy) reveals that they will generate a mere fraction of the usable energy claimed: only about 8 or 9% of nameplate capacity, not the 50 to 75 MW claimed in the DEIS. There is also the $75M price tag for decommissioning that somehow must be funded.

So by overstating the benefits and understating the risks, the DEIS wrongly concludes that the project will result in positive economic development. In fact, it is highly probable that the windfarms will hurt tourism, reduce property values, discourage business investment, and result in public health and safety problems. This is not alarmism. Rather, it is a valid conclusion based on many hours of research. In my professional opinion, industrial windfarms have the potential to turn Steuben, Yates, and surrounding counties into an economic development wasteland. Given what I have learned to date, I do not see that the risks can be justified by the rewards. Surely it is prudent to have unbiased experts objectively and comprehensively evaluate the pros and the cons of such a massive undertaking before we proceed any further.

Should you or Mr. Sherron wish to discuss any of these issues in more detail, I am available to meet at your convenience. I have also enclosed for your review a letter that was published in the local paper last week. Thank you for your consideration.

Bradley E. Jones
President, PerformancePlus Business Consultants
3996 Donley Road, Naples NY 14512
585 374 2627 (office), 585 233 8539 (cell)

cc. James P. Sherron, Executive Director, Steuben County IDA

Wind Farms, Why Here, Why Now? by Linda and Brad Jones

Wind farms are certainly not a new phenomenon. Particularly in Europe, with Denmark being the clear leader, wind farms have been producing electricity for many years. So why is it that the developers didn't arrive here back in 1980 or 1990? What took them so long to discover our hilltops? And why have they been so aggressively persistent in the face of so much opposition?

The reason the developers need us so badly today was explained in a Wall Street Journal article several months ago (2-9-06). This article tells the story of Denmark's national commitment to renewable energy, and its rather sudden demise.

In the late 1990's the Danish government mandated that utility companies sign 10 year agreements with suppliers of wind-based electricity. These agreements required the utilities to buy wind-based power at above market rates, sometimes double the market price. These mandated subsidies made wind-based power popular and profitable - for the people who owned the state-subsidized turbines. The general public did not profit from this arrangement, as they were forced to pay much higher prices for their electricity.

In 2005 though, things began to change. A more market-friendly and citizen-friendly government was voted in. According to the Journal, this resulted in "a shift in philosophy, a belief that the market will give more cost-effective solutions." The new government immediately began to reduce the subsidies for renewable energy and will end them completely in 2009.

"The result was a collapse of the overall domestic market for wind turbines. Although the market is small and saturated it had been a laboratory for Danish turbine makers like Vestas Wind Systems A/S to hone their technology. Now Vestas is depending on China, the U.S. and other markets for growth."

So the reason that Vestas is so desperate for sales here is because their own government recognized the folly of propping up a non-competitive business. Today, without subsidies, wind power is not viable in Denmark. The only reason it is even being considered here is because of our own government subsidies (courtesy of corrupt politicians who have accepted contributions from the turbine manufacturers and the developers). Your tax dollars provide the sole profit opportunity for the developers. No subsidies means no wind farms.

The existing federal subsidy is a temporary one, requiring Congressional re-approval every two years. Given massive federal deficits and the impending Social Security collapse, our lawmakers are scrambling to find money to pay the bills. Isn't it likely that subsidies for non-competitive technology will be high on their list of cuts? Isn't it possible that our lawmakers are at least as smart as the Danes?

Without subsidies, there is no market for wind power. Without subsidies, there is no money for turbine maintenance and repair. Without subsidies the developers cannot make any money. Without subsidies there will be a lot of very large, very useless, but well-lit towers sitting idly on our hilltops.

We encourage elected officials in neighboring towns to take their fiduciary responsibilities seriously, to educate themselves about the factual economics of wind power, and to act in the best long-term interests of all citizens of our region. And although it should go without saying, they must exercise full disclosure to demonstrate that there is not even a hint of personal profit influencing their deliberations. Perhaps the Naples Record would do us all a favor and interview town board members on the full disclosure question.

One final comment on wind-based electricity. There are some good-hearted citizens who believe that the proposed wind farms will reduce our reliance on foreign oil. The truth is that the proposed developments are so small that they will make no difference whatsoever. We have in this country over 963,000 MW of electrical generating capacity, 92% of which comes from coal, natural gas, nuclear, and hydro. Petroleum contributes a mere 3.5%, and much of that is sourced domestically. Adding 100 MW of unreliable intermittent wind capacity in Prattsburgh and Cohocton will do nothing to reduce our reliance on foreign oil. It is important that we look at facts, not the fiction handed out by the wind farm developers.

Linda and Brad Jones
Parish Hill

Published in The Naples Record, 7-18-06

Why is our Town Board allowing elevated fire risk to threaten the neighbor’s of Industrial Wind Turbines?



Below is an exert from the site of Allianz Center for Technology:

Fire Engineering
”There's very little firefighters can do in the case of a fire at a height of 60 to 100 meters. If a wind turbine is not equipped with an automatic extinguishing system, a fire inevitably means a total loss. Falling parts or debris also represent a danger to the surrounding vicinity. AZT has been involved in the development of extinguishing systems and technology for decades and can also provide effective support in the area of fire engineering.”

SEE THE SITE

For those that have a serious interest in protecting Cohocton, it does not take long to understand that Windmill Law #2 leaves the entire burden for preventing and fighting fires from a wind turbine failure squarely on the back of our firefighters.

UPC is wishing to industrialize our Town. The burden to have fire sensing and automatic fire suppressant/extinguishing systems in place, including a firebreak band around the turbine site, should be the Burden of the developer.

How do we make this happen? Our Windmill Law #2 should have provisions in it for this requirement. Why should this come out of our pockets? Let it come out of the developer’s pocket!

Can a Negligent Wind Company or Leaseholder be Held Liable for a Forest Fire?

The following is an excerpt from: See the article “Under state and federal law, any person or corporation whose negligence or intentional acts cause a forest fire is liable to the relevant fire fighting agency for the costs and expenses of fighting the fire. Large forest fires burn millions of acres, and often take thousands of people, and millions of dollars, to put out. Perpetrators may also face criminal penalties, such as fines, imprisonment, probation, and a criminal record. In situations where little harm is done, the authorities may only issue a citation or warning.”

Letter to SCIDA's Jim Sherron by Robert C. Strasburg II

Jim,

As you know, I am opposed to the wind turbine industrialization of the Finger Lakes region as currently proposed. I am sure you have heard all the reasons why… that is not the purpose of this email. I told you I would send you some information, but before I do, I would like to review a part of our conversation after the Prattsburg meeting on DEIS. If I understood your correctly, did you say that each wind project is subject to the approval of SCIDA, or were you referring specifically to just the Prattsburg project?

If SCIDA is in position to approve/deny each project, what criteria are you setting for each project to meet? I have not been inclined to be politically involved in the past for reasons I will not take the time to explain right now, but this issue violates my core beliefs concerning what I believe America is all about. Bottom line, this boils down to money being offered to leaseholders and Towns to cooperate with this scam built on the back of a real energy need we have. Towns and leaseholders are violating sacred principles in pursuit of money without considering issues that effect people’s rights and safety and are currently willing to sacrifice long term benefits to our region for short term gain.

Are you aware of any program in the energy industry that fits into the nature of our area and competes in revenue with the wind program, yet yields a more substantial effect on our energy needs? How about the ethanol and/or the biomass programs? Is there anything good about either one of those programs that warrants investigation of them prior to commitment to wind energy? I am in the timber industry as you know and we are desperate for local markets for low grade timber. Our industry has been severely affected by the dramatic reduction in the demand for material used to make paper pulp. As a result of importing pre-processed pulp from South America and elevated trucking costs, our market for what we call “scragg” has all but disappeared.

The direct effect this has on timber management is very measurable. When a woods is marked for harvest, not only should mature good quality timber be considered for removal, but the low grade trees that are of no value to the stand because of injury that has effected their quality and health, or it is an undesirable specie, or it is consuming to much of the sun deterring the growth of other more desirable trees, etc, should be considered for removal for the betterment of the stand at the same time we are selectively harvesting desirable trees. The problem is, we cannot pay good wages and run machinery to cut and haul these low grade trees out of a woods when we have no good market for them, so many times they are just left standing in the woods. Prior to the high cost in fuel, this material could by used for paper pulp, masonite products and low grade uses like making pallets.

The negative result of this practice is that a full improvement to a wood lot is not accomplished. Undesirable trees are left to grow and cast their seed producing more of the same. This results in a harvest that we call in the industry a “high-grade harvest”. Therefore because of lack of markets, this cycle gets repeated over and over at each harvest and rather than improving a woods through good forestry practices, many times the woods is left spiraling down in quality. If a biomass plant was to be considered in our County, it might develop a market that we could probably bring this material to and recoup the harvest cost and maybe even make some money and improve the woodlot we are harvesting. There is an abundant supply of this low grade wood just waiting to be utilized. Utilization of this renewable resource seems to fit our region better than the industrialization though the placement of 400 foot high turbines does.

Can a farmer grow a product to feed this biomass plant? Is ethanol a good way to put unproductive crop land into service and help the farmer? Rather than pay farmers not to plant to try to control supply and demand, can they productively contribute to our energy need and make money to help their farm. How can I help? I will wait for your reply.

Sincerely,

Robert C. Strasburg II

Jasper works on wind law by Michelle King

JASPER — Wind companies be warned: The Town of Jasper is doing its homework before adopting a wind law.

In fact, town Supervisor Lucille Keman attended a seminar on local wind legislation at the State University of New York at Albany.

"There was a good law that Spitzer wrote, but there's some things that need to be included and we're working on it," she said. "It's to protect the town and its residents from being taken advantage of by a wind powered company."

That law — and several others — have been read and will be evaluated during the writing stages of Jasper's prospective law.

"While I was there (at the seminar) I picked up several different laws that have already been enacted by towns that seemed to have been working for them," Keman said. "It gave me a lot of insight into what we needed to do."

Although no wind companies have formerly presented a proposal, the wind energy company has approached the board about opportunities.

Not really, it's just in the very early stages of it," Kernan said when asked if there's any set plans yet. "They've talked to us and people in the area."

The next phase hearings with Invenergy in August, Kernan said, adding the town board is aiming for an informational meeting that will inculde public input.

"I really want people to tell me or the board members how they feel about it," she said. "I want it to be a very open process.

"I think maybe some of the other towns got in trouble when it looked like they tried to make it a secret, and I don't want mat to happen," Kernan added.

Above all, however, protecting me town will be the focus in drafting the wind law.

"It will give them guidance. Where they go they will have to pay for any testing and make sure it's feasible and post a bond, so if they walk away from what they're in with."

Some other things Kernan mentioned specifically are making sure the towers will be far enough from property lines, noise will not be offensive to neighbors and to ensure minimal lighting.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Don Sandford letter to the Cohocton Town & Planning Boards

Last night at the T/Hartsville town board meeting about wind turbine law, it was proposed that a provision be include of a “Diminished Property Value Bond”, which would give monetary relief to any property owner who’s property falls in a designated area of adverse turbine impact which lowered property value. This provision is most interesting and certainly goes a long way to satisfy a persons concern that monetary relief for such a cases has been provided to them by law. The testimony at Hartsville was that property values WILL BE greatly lowered in value as I too also believe. This could be a powerful provision to incorporate in a local law in T/Cohocton and go along way to satisfy valid a concern.

It is my suggestion that somebody of the planning board contact the T/Hartsville and find out more about it, I for one had never heard it discussed before and I certainly hope you are concerned about effected parties as I, and interested enough to find out more about it and make it a priority in future plans.

Respectfully,

Don Sandford

Friday, July 21, 2006

Letter sent to Cohocton Wind Watch from Mark Cudney

I'm a retired illustrator, having spent thirty years as an artist in the Commercial Art field--including fourteen years as a staff illustrator for the Bob Wright Creative Group in Rochester. My wife and I live on Bronson Hill, pay town of South Dansville taxes and Wayland/Cohocton School taxes. We've been here for forty eight years. We became aware of the imminent invasion of our environment by the turbine developers in May of this year. I've been following the debate closely since then and have had, if you will, manic-depressive variances in temperament as a result.

One day my spirits are lifted knowing there is an element of the population such as you who are waging the good fight and standing up against the large conglomerate of developers/
investors/government operatives and all their big money. I'm in awe of the research you've done and the time you've sacrificed to get at and present the facts. On the other hand, I'm saddened by, frustrated and disgusted with town officials, not only in Cohocton, but all across our state, who are salivating at the dangled carrots offered by schemers and money-grabbers to the point of sacrificing the priceless heritage of their own turfs under the guise of pretensions of providence.

I find it difficult to believe that three or four men/women in small towns such as Cohocton have the power to force such an intrusive project down the throats of so many who have so much to lose. I'm worried too, about the scope of this scheme by numerous developers operating under different names selling their wares to all the neighboring towns. They're (the developers) like a bunch of frenzied sharks attacking bloodied bait. If this nightmare becomes reality, there won't be a clear horizon to be seen, there won't be any more "roads less traveled" and the historic ambience of this bejeweled rural area will be lost forever. Welcome to Turbineville. I guess, to their glee, the Wayne Hunts of New York will have lots of "green" spaces in which to stage their "parades" and "neat" towers to picnic under. They'll have no trouble accessing these areas what with the numerous new and widened roadways cutting across what used to be scenic fields. (By the way, who will be responsible for the expense and the manpower to maintain these roads, especially during the winter?)

If only I were a Cohocton resident and had the opportunity to vote there. Since I vote in So. Dansville I'll have to wait and see how the inevitable turbine proposals there play out. I cringe at the thought of even a single behemoth erected on this side of the Schwartzenbach Valley, as my Dad used to call the Route 21 corridor. He called this area "God's Country" and would use a blue choice of words to voice his thankfulness that these "virgin hills" at least, had not been screwed-over by man and industry. It's with an artist's eye, reinforced with the vision of my father, that I view the hills and the horizons. I can't imagine them any other way than the way they now stand. It'll be tragic that my grandkids may not see them in the future the way their great grandfather and grandfather saw them: in their natural state free from industry and its intrusion on our fields of view; free of metal and steel obliterating the horizon; free from the visual litter of obnoxious blinking strobe lights competing with the clarity of the stars in the beautiful night sky. What they'll lose in terms of nature's gifts will far exceed the gains to power a few more electric light bulbs or hot tubs of people far away from here. Those "born-again greeners" so enamored with wind power and the monies from the developers would do more to save energy by taking the second car off the road and driving less and it would have no impact upon their neighbors.

Here on Bronson Hill, we're proud of the work you're doing and we sincerely hope that when the time comes, there will be others like you in Dansville and Wayland and Fremont, et al, who have the courage and the will power and the resourcefulness to stand up for all who are in jeopardy of one day finding themselves living beneath the shadows of giant turbines. As for myself, I've relied on what I do best and have joined the fray in my own small way. I will continue to do so as my limited budget allows.

Thank You,
Mark Cudney

Public hearing attracts crowd: Residents, board members contemplate wind law for three hours Thursday night

HARTSVILLE - While a public hearing in Hartsville was hosted for discussing a proposed wind ordinance, questions for town attorney David Pullen also delved into conflict and lawsuit questions.

Pullen was at the meeting to outline the law he developed based on one recently adopted by the Town of Clinton. He told the crowd he wants to make sure Hartsville protects itself.

“As of right now there is no zoning and no land use law in place,” Pullen said. “That means if someone wants to build windmills you have no way to stop it. I was asked to create one that allows the town board to consider each project.

“As soon as this has been adopted, every potential windmill would be required to submit an application,” he added, saying projects would have to meet a certain set of standards. “Since no one has had any project approved by anyone, this would apply to any project.”

Before the law could be adopted it would have to go through the State Environmental Quality Review process, he said, adding he'd already approved the environmental assessment form. He stressed this SEQR process would only look at the environmental impact of the law, not wind farm projects. It is not expected the law would cause any negative impact, Pullen said, because it is not doing anything to the environment.

If the law is approved, it would require any permits submitted for a wind farm project to be subject to a public hearing.

“Every time there's a permit application there will be a public hearing,” Pullen said. “A notice will be sent to everyone within the site area.”

The standards set in the law include all power lines to be buried underground, a maximum height of 450 feet for turbines, a minimum distance of 20 feet from any blade to the ground, and a 50-decibel sound limitation. An exception with the sound standard would come if the ambient sound level exceeds 50 decibels; then it be the ambient level plus 6 decibels.

Setbacks also are provided for in the law. Turbines would be required to be at least 1,000 feet from off-site residences, 100 feet from state-identified wetlands, and 1.1 times the turbine height from nearest boundary lines, rights-of-way, above-ground utilities and off-site cabins.

Resident Steve Dombert did not feel the setbacks were adequate and called for longer distances.

“I think a setback of 1,000 feet is too permissive; that needs to be beefed up,” he said. “There should be a minimum of 1,200-feet on setbacks.

“I also don't think there should be a different standard for off-site cabins,” Dombert added. 𔄙.1 times the height from property lines isn't enough, it's going to be flying a lot farther than that (if a turbine came down).”

He also said penalties spelled out in the law - $350 per week for violations - needed to be stiffer.

“There should be some mechanism in the event it goes on where the violator be increasingly punished,” Dombert said. “The one listed here seems to be insufficient.”

Pullen noted the law also spells out the fact the town may go to court to get an injunction if the violations continue.

“I think you have to give it more teeth,” Dombert responded. “It's unfair to expect one person with an uphill battle to fight it.”

Pullen said he was open to suggestion on how to do that.

“I don't know how to level the playing field between the people with money and the people without money,” he said.

A question about whether leaseholders would be able to sue the town if they declined to allow the Airtricity project to go forward, elicited an affirmative response from Pullen. He did, however, note that anyone is able to file a lawsuit, but it doesn't mean they'll win.

“Anyone can sue anyone at anytime for anything,” Pullen said. “You may be unhappy about something, but you may not be able to do anything about it.”

As for a perceived conflict of interest for Supervisor Amy Emerson voting on the wind ordinance due to the fact she and her parents all have some sort of agreement with Airtricity, Pullen said there is no conflict.

“If you adopt this law dealing with a matter of general interest - not a specific permit - she gets no special benefit from adopting this law,” he said. “No official will benefit from this law.

“If anything, it would protect all people in the town equally,” Pullen added.

The attorney will meet with the board to discuss the law, and if significant changes are made another public hearing will be scheduled. If only grammatical-type changes are needed, the law will go before the board for consideration.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Letter by Don Sandford

Hello: My name is Don Sandford and I live on Brown Hill. Before this spring and public meetings on wind turbines at the school, I never heard of Mr. Robert Strasburg ll, Mr. James Hall or Mr. Steve Trude. Up to that time what I learned about wind turbines in Cohocton was from reports, radio, TV and friends and there was far more unanswered questions than answers supported by hard facts and the town boards were not proceeding as cautiously and prudently as I would have expected, so I attended board meetings knowing that I could be impacted negatively in the future. Now, after several weeks have gone by and board meetings, I am more convinced than ever Strasburg, Hall and Trude should be listen too and that a MORATORIUM needs to be enacted and seeing it for what it really is, a “Gold-Rush Mentality” money grab, supplied by taxpayers to UPC, and some board members that have a direct or indirect gain from a successful outcome. To proceed further is wrong, shortsighted and not acceptable. If it walks, sounds and looks like a duck, it no doubt is a duck and in this case you do not have to be business genius to recognized this a administrative money grabbing duck. The God given beauty of the hills of our town is well know but would be changed dramatically. The potential for devaluation of proper and homes is certainly very real around and near the proposed tower sites therefore any resale value greatly diminished. Have you heard of any “Diminished Property Value Bond” proposed by the town or UPC to cover this loss? I haven’t. WHY NOT? The silence says it loud and clear.

In particular, it would be hard not to notice that Mr. Strasburg has raised valid concerns about wind turbines and asks questions of our town board without having them answered and be continually ignored, brushed aside or made fun of, to silence him without success. I have witnessed this man’s amazing gift to be calm, confident and spontaneous in debate because of his careful, time consuming and extensive research of the facts to support his positions. He is a proud American, a leader that will not be silenced or put down for what he believes and is truly a special person who is that “candle in the darkness” giving light to much that has been hidden, silenced and the attempted legislative rape by UPC and the complacent town board.The obvious silence in public meetings by our town board members best shows why open and revealing debate isn’t considered. Perhaps they know they can’t defend their positions as opposed to Mr. Strasburg’s based on truth and facts. So much for democracy. Some prefer the Valley News for a good reason.

Retired from law enforcement, served my country in the US Military, I appreciate and recognize a man of honor and integrity. This man has earned my respect and I’m proud to stand with him .

Don Sandford

Just a math mistake? by Robert C. Strasburg II

Wayne Hunt said in the Valley News of July 18, 2006 “I have done a little math using the 1500 feet as a base line. A circle 3000 feet across contains 715.909 square feet. An acre is 43,560 square feet so each tower will stand IN ITS OWN (caps added) “green” island that is 16.4 acres big. There will be 41 towers on Lent Hill that will create 672.4 acres of “green” land that will NOT CONTAIN A HOUSE (caps added)”.

Actually a circle that is 3000 feet across has 7,065,000 feet in it when using “Pi” rounded to 3.14. This means each turbine would control 162.19 acres, not 16.4. This then means that these 41 turbines will control 6,649.79 acres, not 672.4 as you say. Now the purpose of this article is not to point out your mathematical error Wayne, we all make mistakes.

The purpose of this article is to point out two much more very serious problems:

1. The first is an ethical problem. When you say a turbine will stand “in its own” island, you are very wrong. Because you have worked very hard at discounting the importance of the neighbors to these projects, it may be possible that you are beginning to believe your own story and there is left no trace of any consideration of them in your mind. They obviously no longer come to mind to you when you are considering this project. If you allow these turbines to be placed *500 feet from a neighbors property line, the 1500 foot setback you mention in your article extends 1000 feet into the neighbors property. Therefore, your “green” island is sitting partially on the neighbor’s property. So, it is not sitting on “its own” “green island”, it is sitting partially on the land of the neighbor you obviously are not considering anymore. If you look carefully at the deed to the neighbor’s property, it does not name “turbine” as owner.

2. The second is evidence of a conceptual problem. Wayne, when your math revealed only 672 acres, didn’t this trigger anything. If you really have worked hard at understanding all the facets of this program, being four years into the study of this, didn’t 672 sound just a little out of place to you? Is this the first time you are learning that this is controlling over 6,600 acres on Lent Hill and not 672?

Wayne, you have declared yourself the “leader” of this parade. I humbly ask you to consider passing the baton.

Respectfully,
Robert C. Strasburg II

*500 feet – actually since this 500 foot measurement is to the center of the turbine, when you consider the 280 foot diameter of the blades, this means each blade will reach to within 360 feet of the neighbor’s property.

BOARD DENIES VERMONT WIND FARM PERMIT

MONTPELIER, Vt.

A company’s bid to build a wind farm atop a remote Northeast Kingdom mountain was rejected by the Public Service Board on Monday because of concerns about how the turbines would affect birds and bats.

In its decision, the board said that officials of the East Haven Wind farm had not presented sufficient evidence to show that the four 329-foot turbines would not hurt populations of bats and migratory birds in the area.

“We.. know that wind turbine sites located in eastern forested high-elevation sites have experienced elevated bat mortality rates. And we know that there are likely to be resident bat populations on East Mountain.” Said the board’s 108-page decision.”

“The record shows that there is little solid information on the risks of migrating bird collisions with wind turbines for high-elevation sites in the northeaster United States,” the order said. “Without preconstruction radar studies, we are unable to determine whether the project’s design has been optimized to avoid or minimize bird impacts.”

East Haven Wind farm Vice President Dave Rapaport said Monday officials were reading the decision.


FREMONT PLANNING BOARD GATHERING INFO FOR WIND LAW

Town looking to avoid conflicts taking place in other area municipalities
By Rob Montana staff writer

STEPHENS MILLS-No big decisions were made at the Fremont planning bard meeting Tuesday night- except it’s time for the town to get a wind ordinance in place.

While board members had heard rumors people in town had been contacted by wind companies, none knew of any plans for a wind project in Fremont. Nonetheless, Chairman Robert Osborn said it’s time to draft a law to protect the town in case of future development.

The board has copies of the Howard ordinance, as well as Ever Power’s building permit application submitted to Howard officials for construction of towers there. While the plan is to draft its own law, the board wanted something to look at before writing one.

“We need some sort of outline to go through for an ordinance, “Osborn said.
Code Enforcement Officer Dan Hammond also suggested the board keep the town residents informed about the process, and let them know the board is drafting a local wind law.

“If we get it in here before anybody is approached, they can’t complain.” He said.

“They won’t have a leg to stand on if we keep getting it out there that we’re meeting and talking about a law.”

The main thing, said Councilman Larry Hammond, is to eliminate the fighting that has occurred in other towns dealing with potential wind farm projects.
“What we need is to stay away from all that bickering like there is in Howard, Hartsville, and Cohocton,”he said.

The planning board will meet again at 8 p.m. Aug. 15 at the town hall.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Naples may prohibit wind farms

Town officials used South Bristol'slaw as their guide.
By TARYN ELIZABETH DOBBS

Messenger Post Correspondent

The ones we don't
want to see are the
wind farms that are
400 feet high.
Doug Pulver, Naples Planning Board chair


NAPLES — Naples could adopt a wind-farm law that effectively bans industrial wind farms such as those proposed in neighboring Prattsburgh and Cohocton.

Town Planning Board Chairman Doug Pulver said Naples took its cue from South Bristol, which banned wind farms in August 2003.

Wind farms to power a home or a business are fine, Pulver said, adding, "The ones we don't want to see are the wind farms that are 400 feet high."

A turbine as tall as a skyscraper and bearing a flashing light would detract from Naples' scenic vistas, which draw tourists and their dollars.

"We want to have alternatives (to coal- and natural gas-fired power plants), but we want to be careful how we do it," Pulver said.

The Town Board held a hearing on the proposal July 10 and sent the draft to the Ontario County Planning Board for review. The Naples Town Board could vote to adopt the law at next month's meeting, Monday, Aug. 14, at 7 p.m., unless the county board suggests further work.

Height restrictions would be 150 feet for residential towers and 220 feet for towers powering a business. The turbines for the proposed Prattsburgh and Cohocton wind farms would be 400 feet tall to the tip of the rotor.

Additionally, the output for turbines may not exceed 20 kilowatts for residential use, or 50 kilowatts for commercial operations.

Turbines would be limited to one per parcel of land. However, if a business can prove to the Planning Board why a second turbine is necessary, it may be approved.

Two wind-energy companies, Ecogen and Windfarm Prattsburgh, want to put up about 50 turbines each in Prattsburgh while UPC Wind Management LLC has proposed two separate projects with 41, and 17 turbines respectively in Cohocton.

Prattsburgh has no wind-farm law. Cohocton has a law that does not ban industrial wind farms but does put certain limits on them. For example, the law requires that a turbine be at least 1,500 feet from a residence.

At least a few turbines from the Prattsburgh and Cohocton projects would be visible from Naples.

Messenger Post writer Lenore Friend contributed to this report. Contact us at (585) 394-0770, Ext. 256, or at messenger@mpnewspa-pers.com.

CWW and Concerned Residents of Cohocton Consists of Upstanding Citizens of the Town of Cohocton


There are numerous people in the town of Cohocton that have contacted members of CWW and have asked not to have their names spoken for fear of harassment and retaliation from Yes! Oppositon group.

Not a day goes by that one of us, whether in CWW or just a concerned citizen doesn’t receive emails, letters or phone calls supporting our efforts to get the scientific and health and safety information out to them.

As Yes!, many of our group are life-long residents of Cohocton, many are people who have moved into our area and have become community minded members of Cohcoton. We do not feel that the people of Cohocton who occasionally buy gas or groceries from our merchants to be any less valuable to our community. Without them spending money in our town the price of those groceries would be much higher. Some of those residents may not visibly be seen rolling up their sleeves and volunteering their time and efforts to make our community better as what is stated by Yes!, but are behind the scenes being productive citizens of Cohocton. Yes! Wants you to be visible painting and planting flowers to make the community better, they don’t see the importance of all citizens duties to make the communtiy better.Some in our community have life experinece and practical intelligence,they have a stake in where they live and stand in this town.

Yes! And UPC have their hand in one pocket taking our rights to our land and property away from us by stating that the leaseholders have the right to do what they want with their property, yet at the same time taking away from the ajoining property owner. This is unexceptable, our land is our land as much as it is the leaseholders.The other pocket has a hand in by NYSEG who will be taking more to pay the higher price for this so called free wind.
Scenic beauty in down town Cohocton seems to be more important to YES! Than the scenic beauty outside the village,this is very sad, roll up your sleeves or should I say eyes and see that scenic beauty is more than paint and flowers around town.

YES! Has you belive that they would NEVER consider suing their neighbors or not speak to friends over a difference of opinion, nor would they disrespect the elected and appointed officials of their community. Never is a very strong word, if they were honest with themselves they would not have used the word NEVER, the spark for their never just hasn’t come yet, or maybe it has come and gone and they just aren’t being honest with themselves or you.

One last thing, RESPECT, respect is earned, it isn’t given freely. YES! Wants you to respet our public officials for their endless hard work and concern. I would have RESPECT for our public officials if they were to put this wind project up for a moratorium. This way concerned citizens of Cohocton would feel that the officials were looking out for all issues of this project, that the health and safety and all the other concerns put before them have been answered. Respect would be given if I had something in writing stating that my property is off the DEIS and map that UPC put together. For Chris Swartley to verbally tell me is not good enough.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

To the Firefighters of Cohocton, Atlanta and surrounding areas

Some of you know me and some do not. The issue that I am hammering on of the fire hazard from these turbines is an important one. I was a professional timber harvester and am very familiar with the need for being properly equipped to do a tough job. This is the point I am hammering on.

I have been accused of disrespect to you, but if you read any of my postings, there is not one derogatory comment on your abilities or you as people. Where is the money going to come from to properly equip you? How are you going to get from downtown Cohocton or Atlanta or neighboring Towns to the tops of these hills to stop these fires before they burn onto the neighbors?

Are there real plans to help equip you? Am I out of line here? I am without a doubt capable of mistakes, but I think I am on point with this issue. Please see my posting below about requiring the wind company to install firebreak roads.

I understand that the political current in our Town offers resistance for you to inquire about this to the Town Board, but all of you have lived on this planet long enough to know that to do what is right; one must sometimes buck the pressure that is trying to silence you. You possess the courage to enter a burning building to do what is right, please use that same courage to stand up for those of us that depend on you. Please make an assessment including the new introduction of these turbines and their effect on your needs to do your work effectively and present it to the Town Board. Time is short.

Thank you,
Robert C. Strasburg II

Monday, July 17, 2006

What Fire?

Do new circumstances relative to increased fire liabilities warrant the need for new tools and strategies?

Below is link to a letter from Vincent Dunn, Deputy Chief FDNY (ret) to then Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge in which Dunn lists and assessment of the needs the FDNY has a result of the changes brought about by the new elevated risk of terrorism.

The reason for this posting is to show what responsible government does to keep abreast of new changes by proper planning and assessing how this new change will effect the governments need to make changes.

Plans are being made to industrialize Cohocton with the new introduction of industrial wind turbines. Cause and effect needs to be measured and properly prepared for. Responsible government recognizes and deals with new issues such as this. I request that at the up and coming YES! meeting on July 26th that a section of the meeting be given to allow the Town Board a few minutes to show us how the elevated exposure to property damage through fires from these new turbines is being addressed.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

How about a Firebreak around these turbines to protect the neighbor’s land from fire?

In the interest of protecting the neighbor’s property from fire from these turbines, do you think it would be wise to put a fire break around these turbines? Each turbine needs an access road to service the turbine. This access road could be required to encompass the turbine forming a fire break.

Inside these fire breaks, the wind company could be required to install fire suppressing systems with sensors utilizing foam spray just like the ones at a gas station that would probably be very effective at controlling fire. Independent Engineers, with input from our fire department, could research what the diameter of this firebreak should be and our local law #2 could contain these specifications as a requirement to the wind company.

Since these are industrial turbines, I would think that a solution to the fire hazard should be on the industrial level. Why put the burden on our Town to pay for the equipment to fight these fires? Let’s put the burden on the wind company to prevent the fire!

There should be wording in the local law #2 requiring the wind company to maintain the ground under these turbines to keep them free of flammable debris and stiff penalties if they do not do so.

If we residents are going to be pimped to a wind company, let’s at least require the use of protection, or did we lose that right too?

I was very disappointed to find out from my conversation with Councilman Wayne Hunt, that the Town Board has not sought an offer from any other wind company. I asked him that if he was going to buy a dump truck for the Town, wouldn’t he seek at least three bids? Again, it is sad to say … I didn’t get much more than a puzzled look from him.

Robert C. Strasburg II

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Judge Hal Graham said...

Hunter, According to your logical views, you would not want gas trucks delivering to gas stations, as they may have an accident, how about heating oil for our houses, maybe the trucks would have a fire in an accident?? How about airplanes flying over head. Just maybe one would crash in our area and would cause a problem. SEE how UNLOGICAL your views are. No logic from you on any position.Hal Graham

Robert C. Strasburg II responds:

No Mr. Graham, I was very plain in my dialog. UPC and the Town Board along with the support of people as yourself that are putting turbines on their property for money and others who are also in line to receive money from the wind company are moving so fast in your pursuit of this income that time is not being taken to consider the NEW impacts these turbines bring with them.

You being a judge understand as well as I do that we do not live in a perfect world. Our inventions and machines for convenience bring with them certain inherent dangers. My analogy clearly states that we have a need for electricity that these industrial turbines do not significantly contribute too, but many have created this fallacy on the back of this need for energy and are in hot pursuit of the money.

My statements are clear when I say that if you are going to ignore the fallacy of the supposed energy fulfillment and join in pursuit of the money, at least slow down and help us prepare for the NEW liabilities these turbines bring. Yes, we have fires started by cigarettes, fuel trucks and cars, but how many of these cigarettes, fuel trucks and cars do you see burning 265 feet in the air throwing 500 gallons of flaming oil around? Our fire department has been trained in fighting fuel fires from fuel truck leaks.

If these industrial size turbines are 500 feet from a neighbors property with a fire 265 feet in the air at the hub, spewing 500 gallons of flaming oil with 257 ft. turbine blades spinning in the wind adding to the dilemma, are you going to use the same technique to combat that fire before it gets to the neighbors property only 500 feet away and burns his assets. While you are in hot pursuit of money that you want, don’t you think it the proper thing to do to take at least a moment and consider how you are going to protect your neighbor’s assets? Are your neighbor’s financial interests to be sacrificed for the pursuit of yours? You are a Judge, you judge …

As you know, there is nothing wrong with money; we all need it to live our lives. The Bible is very plain when it talks about money. Although it is misquoted many times to say that “money is the root of all evil” that is not what it actually says. I am sure you are aware that it actually says that “the LOVE of money is the root of all evil”. Love for money causes us to set aside concern for our neighbor and makes us do things in our pursuit of it to violate the commandment given by our Savior; Mt. 22:37 Jesus replied: "`Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38. This is the first and greatest commandment. 39. And the second is like it: `Love your neighbor as yourself.'

Verse 39 does seem to say that you should tend to your neighbors interests as you do your own, doesn’t it? Is this logical to you Mr. Graham? Judge, you too will stand in front of a Judge one day and you will answer to Him.

Now, If I have made any sense to you so far, rather than try to think of some way to tear down what I have said, instead, please direct your attention to how you are going to protect your neighbor. The risk you take for your pursuit of this money is that your property might be burnt and you may not care, but I would think your neighbor cares if his gets burnt, or worse yet, him and his family while they are in their house sleeping.

Who is going to pay for the new tools and training our firefighters need? What type of tools are they going to need to be able to know about these fires immediately before they get to the neighbors property? What kind of early warning mechanisms are out there and how much do they cost? How many of these devices do we need? How are our volunteers going to get from downtown Cohocton and Atlanta to the tops of these hills in time to contain the fire before it travels 500 feet to the neighbor? How far will these turning turbines hurl this flaming oil? How close can our firefighters get? How are they going to reach the flaming turbine? Will a ladder work? Do they need aerial equipment? A helicoptor? One or two? If so, how much will that cost? Who is going to pay for all this? Are our taxes going up so you can get your money? Maybe UPC will donate what we need out of their $25,000,000.00 per year.

You have credited our Town Board for doing such a wonderful job in preparation of these turbines; surely they have given you the answers. I would like to see these answers presented at the upcoming meeting on July 26th in a detailed report of how they have studied the issue and have the answers. I would like to see the results of all this hard work. Or was the hard work just to get the money? You wouldn’t suggest to me that this issue of preparing for the liability brought by these turbines has been ignored would you? You wouldn’t suggest to me that these neighbors financial interests are being ignored while they seek their own financial interests would you? We will see on the 26th.

Those that are in such a frenzied pursuit of this money remind me of the monkey that has found a peanut inside a jar that he wants. He reaches in to get the tempting morsel and finds himself frustrated beyond measure when he clenches his fist to secure the object of his lust and although is seems so close … he can’t get his hand out.

They remind me of this monkey in the fact that they can’t break the jar. They present their spin on the issues only to find the jar is not broke. They scream and hop around as this frustrated monkey does declaring “no loss in property value!”, “no ice throw”, “these are green”, “it’s our patriotic duty”, “they reduce the use of oil”, “what fires?’, “we planned so well!”, come to our meeting (P.S. , please leave your brains home) and listen to us tell you! ” … and yet, the jar does not break. Your spin is not effective and you are losing credibility in your arguments because as this issue lingers on, more and more facts are coming out to defeat your spin.

This is just one small segment of the liabilities these turbines bring. How many more would you like to discuss with me Mr. Graham?

Robert C. Strasburg II

Alley Heist writes:

Mr. Strasburg, I get the impression that you do not have faith in the local Fire Departments. These men and women donate their time to assist us when in need. They risk their lives to help us out and you question their ability to fight fires? As for turbine fires causing a major wildfire. A tree could just as easily get struck by lightening and spark a fire just like what is happening near Pioneertown in CA this week. Last I heard several thousand acres were burned. I think that you are super sizing this issue for some reason. Fires start every day from hundreds of reasons. (Car accidents, Freight Train derailments, Gas leaks, playing with matches, throwing out a cigarette butt etc.) Fire Departments not only train for a multitude of events, but they have what is called mutual aide. This means that if something were to occur on the Hill, on 390, in your neighborhood, or in one of the many plants, businesses around here, the FD can have access to whatever resources needed. Cohocton is never alone in any emergency. I think you should put some faith in our FD as someday you may need them. I guarantee they will be there for you and your family. I support them 100% and am confident they can handle any problem that could arise from the wind turbines.Alley Heist

Robert C. Strasburg II responds:

Alley Heist:

Ms. Heist, I would like to introduce myself to you. I do not believe we have ever met. I appreciate your opinion as to what message I am trying to get across. I live on the corner of Maple and Erie Street in the Village and I invite you to stop and visit with my wife and me. Our door is open to all in this Town. Please remember, we are discussing issues and I remember that those that hold different opinions than I do, are people who would stop and help me along side the road if my car was broken down and I would do the same for you.

Respectfully Ms. Heist, I have already been accused of not respecting the Fire Department. Spinning my concern for properly equipping our Fire Department into lack of faith in them is quite a stretch. In my 18 years of living in Cohocton, members of the Ambulance and Fire department are directly responsible for saving my daughters life when she was less than 3 years old, my father’s life when he had a very serious life threatening sugar spell while driving, and my wife’s life after she died on our couch… they brought her back to me. I am talking about very serious emergencies that the Ambulance/Fire emergency crews responded to and I owe them a debt I will never be able to repay. My heart is humble before these people. I not only need them now, I have needed them in the past and they have performed wonderfully. The reason they could is … they had the HEARTS, TRAINING and THEY HAD THE TOOLS! Their good hearts without their good training and tools would mean three members of my family would be dead. Do not accuse me of not having faith in these people, these people walked with me to deaths door and returned with my loved ones. I will not accept this accusation from you Ms. Heist.

Now, I hope you will take the time to understand my position before you wrongfully criticize me again. My position is:

Our Fire Department needs tools to be able to respond to the new challenges that the Town Board is placing in front of them. I am in the timber industry and I understand it well. On the sides of these mountains that we call home is growing millions of dollars worth of timber that does not belong to the Town or UPC. This timber is privately owned. I wish I could tell you how many times I have been called to come evaluate timber in New York State that people have been saving for years as an asset to help them send a child to college or contribute to their retirement only to find that fire has damaged these trees years ago before they owned it and I have the task of reporting to them that their timber value has been greatly reduced or destroyed by these old fires.

A fire passing through a woodlot on a hill has the tendency to catch the forest debris on the high side of the tree on fire and burn deep into the Cambium layer of the tree, ruining it for timber production later. Because many of these trees are on a steep hill, over the years debris slides down these hills and gets lodged behind the tree at its base and accumulates in piles on the high side. A fire on a steep hill is much different than on level ground. In a level ground woods, the debris does not generally concentrate around a tree in such a manner and therefore if a ground fire passes through, many of the trees sustain no serious damage.

Now, what does this mean? This means that those that are consumed with their drive to get the financial crumbs that UPC is seducing our Town with, are not taking the time to think about their neighbor’s asset. If they were, rather than try to discount my point, they would share in this concern that the industrialization of Cohocton by the installation of these turbines brings new challenges. How about some positive dialog of how we are going to pay for the tools that will allow early detection of fire and save precious minutes to help our good men and women get up on these hills quickly to prevent these fires from entering into these neighbors woods? Is this a bad idea or a good idea? Training? Planning? Tools? Are these strange concepts to a responsible government? $160,000 will not go very far in helping.

Let me ask a logical question. Can you tell me how any of our firefighters are going to get close enough to a burning turbine hub 265 ft. in the air to effect putting out a fire when it is spewing flaming hydraulic oil and molten metal parts with the tools they have now? Does anyone have a real answer they can give me yet rather than accuse me of disrespect? I think I am showing much more respect for our firefighter’s lives than those throwing the bogus empty responses I am getting trying to bury this issue and not deal with it. Please … deal with the issue. How are you going to pay for the training and tools to empower these people to do their job? Are you just going to let the turbines burn and hope that someone will see it in time to alert the fire department in time enough to stop the fire before it gets to the neighbors property THAT IS ONLY 500 FT. AWAY?

I have spent hours disseminating information that would lead reasonable people to understand the crafty deception played on them by fortune seeking corporations suggesting that these turbines in our area are going to contribute in any significant way to our energy need. We need energy during the day and in the summer. Out west the wind blows strong during the day and in the summer. That makes a lot of sense to put them out there, especially when there are tracks of land that are tens of thousands of acres large and they are not being placed 500 ft. from neighbors property. Around here we have minimal wind and it blows best at night and during the winter.

If the wind companies had not lobbied in Washington and Albany as they have to secure laws that control our tax dollars to pay for this wind generated electricity, (even if it comes on the grid at the wrong time … they still get paid and it is your and my money paying for electricity when we do not need it) this program would go bust.

It is sad to say, same goes for a good share of “pro-wind” people. If they or their family were not in line to receive some of the financial crumbs from the wind company, do you think they would support this industrialization of Cohocton? I think not. How many of these pro-wind people have you ever seen prior to being offered money from the wind company doing anything in a sacrificial way to contribute to some save-the-earth program?

This is not about electricity; this is about a huge money grab. All I am asking is that while you are grabbing for the money … please help your firefighters protect themselves and be effective in protecting your neighbors and their property. We need tools for our fire people… expensive tools. Who is going to pay for them? Do you think the wind company is going to? As best as I have been able to discern, the wind company is in line to receive $25,000,000.00 per year in revenue off the first two phases of this program. Are they going to fund this need? The Town does not have the money … maybe that is why the entire subject is being ignored?

What do you think some attorney will do with this after the fact of a fire from these turbines? It won’t be me suing the Town, but someone suffering loss will take this to an attorney to try to recover damages and when it gets in the hands of an attorney … you know what will happen then. I smell negligence all over this. Can the Town defend themselves against negligence if they fail to even deal with this prior to the installation of these turbines. I think not. Do not continue to try to sweep this issue under the rug … deal with it! I have only talked about trees so far. There are also people … men, women and children living up where these turbines are going? Negligence?

I do mean what I say when I say that my door is open to anyone in this Town who would like to come visit my wife and I and talk respectfully about any of these issues.

Sincerely,

Robert C. Strasburg II

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Another thing they do not want you to know by Robert C. Strasburg II

Below is a news clip from Associated Press documenting where an electric Company passed its cost of purchasing unusable wind generated electricity on to its customers. The Electric Company still has to buy the unusable power and therefore passes the cost on to its customers.

When you first read the account, the extra amount seems small until you do the relative math. The electric Company had to pay 10.4 million for this unusable power and distributed the cost amongst its 203,000 plus customers.

This is a huge customer base that this particular electric Company in the following article has to distribute this cost too. On the other hand though, we are in an area where we are nowhere as densely populated and costs like this will have to be divided amongst a much smaller base. This simply means that this government welfare to wind companies will be paid for by just a few.

If the wind company only is going to pay us 160,000 a year, divided amongst the approximate 1500 taxpayers in our Town, that amounts to a meager $9.00 per month per taxpayer. Has any of our Town Government considered how much our electric bill is going to go up a month to subsidize this welfare program? $5 … $10 … $15? … Who knows?

Come on Town Board … WAKE UP AND HELP YOUR PEOPLE BEFORE IT IS TO LATE!


News Article

Xcel customers pay for wind energy not transmitted

The typical Xcel Energy customer paid an extra *$3.20 cents a month to the utility company for wind power the company paid for but couldn't transmit from wind farms from February 2004 to May 2005, the state Commerce Department said.

June 3, 2006 by Associated Press in In Forum

The Commerce Department report said Xcel paid developers about $10.4 million for wind-generated electricity that it couldn't accept. Those costs - called "curtailment payments" - are passed directly to Xcel electricity customers. The Commerce Department said the typical residential customer paid $3.20 during the 16-month period.
Wind farm owners are guaranteed payments by Xcel whenever their machines produce electricity, even though the utility doesn't have enough transmission lines to deliver all the power to consumers. Because of those guarantees, wind machines have sometimes been disconnected on the windiest days when the most power could be generated.
Xcel officials said curtailment payments are unavoidable because it takes just a few months to build a large wind farm but requires several years to build the transmission lines to move the power the farm produces. However, state officials were surprised by the size of the 2004 payments. "Am I impatient that we don't have more transmission? Yes," said the Commerce Department's deputy commissioner, Edward Garvey. "But I also understand why there aren't more wires in the air."
The payments have been made to the developers of five large wind farms in the Buffalo Ridge area of southwestern Minnesota. In early 2004, Xcel could accept only about 56 percent of the 466 megawatts of electricity the ridge could generate. The wind farm developers set up a rotation system in which they took turns turning off their generators or otherwise reducing output. "We are doing the best job that we can, as far as trying to stay ahead of the curve," said Stephen Wilson, an Xcel analyst of the program.
By late 2004, the utility had upgraded part of its system to handle more power, so the curtailment payments for 2005 significantly dropped. Wind-industry advocates argue that Xcel should have moved move quickly to build and upgrade transmission lines because it has known since the mid- to late 1990s that laws required it to provide substantial amounts of wind energy over the next decade "If we're paying too much in curtailment payments and are basically dumping the wind, maybe there should be a tipping point at which utilities can't get reimbursed from customers," said Beth Soholt, director of Wind on the Wires, a nonprofit organization in St. Paul that focuses on wind-energy issues.
In April, the utility's rate regulator, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, also expressed concern. The curtailment payments were supposed to be temporary, but turned out to be longer and larger than state officials anticipated. The commission decided that Xcel may continue charging customers for the costs, but ordered it to submit monthly reports on the payments and to project what they will be during the next five years. Xcel responded two weeks ago. It reported that because two or three new wind farms will be added to the system this year and next, the utility will again have more wind-generated power than it can accept.
Xcel estimated that curtailment payments will be about $8.5 million in 2006 and $10 million in 2007.
*corrected typo (see body of article)

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