Centerville Citizens Challenge Wind Farm Law

March 18, 2007

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

Centerville Citizens Challenge Wind Farm Law


Lawsuit filed in Allegany County Supreme Court seeks nullification
A group of landowners in the Town of Centerville filed suit Friday alleging the town board worked hand-inhand with Noble Environmental Power, LLC, to craft a local law that accommodates Noble’s proposed Centerville Windpark, but without looking at the environmental impacts. The project would add at least 60 wind turbines, each about fifty stories high, to Noble’s Bliss Windpark in the Town of Eagle. Sixty-seven wind turbines have already been approved in Eagle. A comparable wind farm is planned by Noble in the Town of Farmersville in Cattaraugus County.

According to Dennis Gaffin, a professor at Buffalo State College and president of Centerville’s Concerned Citizens, “Many of us knocked ourselves out finding the most objective studies of noise and other effects of industrial wind turbines and submitted our research to the town board, but they said they would not look at it until later, when Noble submits a formal application.” Noble approached the town board with a proposal in January 2006, and paid for an environmental attorney to draft a law the board enacted last November.

George Ellis, a member of the citizens group, thinks the town board was misled. “I’m a farmer. Supervisor Sardina thinks a wind farm will save farming in Centerville. I think he and the farmers got snookered.”

“These are primarily investment schemes taking advantage of lucrative tax breaks,” according to the group’s attorney Gary Abraham. “The public pays billions in lost taxes and there is little regulation except at the local level. Landowners get a small rental payment if a wind turbine is operated on their land. But the value of property all around them plummets.”

The Centerville town board decided a 1,000-foot buffer to a dwelling is safe, except hunting camps are excluded from the protection. “That’s not enough” for Cheryl Sporysz, a member of the group suing the town. “My neighbors signed easements with Noble that allow a wind turbine within 500 feet of my property. Most independent studies recommend a setback of one mile. If Noble gets its way, I’ll have to stay away from the area between my house my property line.”

“We believe we can show the buffer areas required under the town law were determined by the easement agreements Noble made with landowners well in advance of the local law. In fact the town board reduced the buffer and excluded hunting camps that were protected in an earlier version of the law when Noble complained,” according to Mr. Abraham. “State law requires environmental review at the earliest possible time in the development of a project, but here the town decided to do no review until after buffer distances are in place.”

LAW OFFICE OF GARY A. ABRAHAM
170 No. Second Street
Allegany, New York 14706
716-372-1913; fax is same (please call first)

gabraham44@eznet.net
http://www.garyabraham.com

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