By John Gaus
The Galloo Island wind power project should not advance for many reasons which include: environmental and socioeconomic injustice; misuse of taxpayer dollars and NYS resources; potential violation of Federal land grant deeds; the project does maximum harm for minimal gain, and the project is not needed in its location.
The project is sited in an environmentally sensitive area with expansive scenic, waterfront vistas. The pristine nature of the project impact area is a historical component of the geography and culture of the region. Thousands of people live in and travel to the region to use State Parks and public boat launches to access the area for water views; sunset views; nighttime sky viewing that is unpolluted by light; and to experience the outdoors and wildlife. Hundreds of blue-collar workers have sacrificed much to buy or maintain properties on the waterfront that have passed through generations. Small contractors and those employed in seasonal tourism depend on investments and commitments of these people to this important, undisturbed, natural resource. And it is due to these investments in waterfront properties that multiple towns in the impact zones are able to collect taxes to maintain their municipal operations.
The project does permanent and irreparable harm to the view shed and its wildlife including Bald Eagles, protected species, and innumerable migratory waterfowl. As a result many people will loose property value, towns will loose tax revenue, and tourism businesses will loose revenue and jobs. The people that are harmed by the project are at an economic and educational disadvantage to those that will benefit. Certainly, there are many people in the region that do not even know this process is underway or that they have any means to influence it. At the same time, the North Country produces the overwhelming amount of renewable energy in NYS for downstate energy consumers ¿ and downstate industrial wind projects have been stopped by people possessing the education, money, and influence to do so. The few people from one small town that do support the project are also poor and uneducated in comparison to the developer. They are lured to support the project with the promise of PILOT payments that pale in comparison to the profits that the Harvard-educated developer will extract from them. It is an environmental and socioeconomic injustice that a wealthy and privileged developer that makes substantial political contributions can be further enriched by the environmental destruction of Galloo Island to the detriment of thousands in an impoverished region.
The project misuses taxpayer dollars and natural resources. The nominal 104MW project is in a region that already produces excess power and is located at the reaches of transmission and distribution infrastructure. After capacity factors, intermittence, and transmission losses, the project might produce a useable 11MW for downstate power consumers. There are better and higher uses of money than this project, including for other more economic renewable energy efforts with better access to existing and planned transmission.
The NYSDEC controls land on the island granted by the federal government for wildlife preservation. The land is deeded for this specific environmental purpose and should not be used for industrial development. It may be a violation of law or deed restrictions to do so.
There is no location in Northern New York that could impose more harm on more towns or landowners. Galloo Island is the equivalent of center stage in 50 miles of waterfront amphitheater. The project will do permanent harm to towns and property owners that will gain no benefit from the devaluation of their properties.
The region is which the project is located already operates at excess power capacity. There is no need for power generation in this remote location.
This project fails under any logical analysis or honest scrutiny and should not be approved.