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State’s Captured Agencies Are Letting The Fox Guard The Henhouse

I am writing in response to a recent Post-Journal and OBSERVER article regarding the Cassadaga Wind Project. Owner RWE claims, “Local support for the project remains strong.” I do not believe our local bats, eagles, raptors, songbirds, most living creatures or most turbine neighbors agree with RWE.

Residents within one mile of the wind project recently received a mailer giving instructions on how to register a complaint with Cassadaga Wind once the project is operational. The letter did not state why residents will likely be putting the complaint hotline on speed dial.

Cassadaga Wind has petitioned the state Siting Board to alter noise testing protocol and compliance requirements as ordered in the Certificate. It seeks to eliminate testing to verify compliance with Certificate condition 80(b), the World Health Organization’s health standard, an annual nighttime noise limit of 40 dBA. Cassadaga Wind and RWE — the German parent company worth worth billions of dollars — claim it is too time consuming and costly to perform the testing they agreed upon as a condition of Certification.

In their revised Sound Monitoring Protocol, Cassadaga Wind has actually redefined “on” to mean “off” during sound testing. I quote,“Without this clarification the protocol could be interpreted to mean that on means all turbines must be turned on and operating at full power. … However, our modification to the protocol allows for wind turbines to be off no matter how much that turbine contributes to the overall sound level, so long as it is part of “normal operations.” They obfuscate the meaning of “normal operations” to include shutdowns for bat curtailment, shadow flicker and wake interference; all totally avoidable testing times.

The Complaint Resolution Protocol, should be renamed the Non-Resolution Protocol. As written, it will exclude the vast majority of resident noise complaints from being eligible for sound testing. Only those few residents modeled by RSG in the pre-construction guesstimate/ analysis to receive over 40 dBA, will be eligible for testing and then only once every five years.

Tragically, New York state’s captured agencies are allowing the fox to guard the henhouse and allow developers to write the rules at our expense. Adding insult to injury, Cassadaga Wind’s Power Purchase Agreement, which includes the Renewable Energy Credits, is not even with New York but with the New England Independent Supply Operator.

Joni Riggle is a Sinclairville resident.

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