CHERRY CREEK – A group of residents in Chautauqua County are calling on the State DEC to take action amid environmental impacts caused by wind turbine installation efforts.
Several people spoke out in protest on Saturday against both the Cassadaga Wind Project and subsequent fracking that is taking place.
Many picketers are concerned about drilling related to the installation process, which last week caused a heavy flow of mud in the area.
Specifically, many residents, like John Conway, are upset about the frac-out, as it is called, which is now impacting a nearby wetland area.
“The only thing green about this project is the green money,” remarked Conway. “It makes me sad, it makes me angry, I’ve cried over it, just to see what we’ve done to this beautiful land we had.”
Picketers held signs with messages like, “Cassadaga Wind, you’ve ruined Chautauqua County,” and “Cassadaga Wind, you turned my water brown. Would you drink it?” during the hour-long demonstration.
The group is now sending a petition to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which Dr. Mark Twichell says calls for the immediate pause of work not just in Cherry Creek, but statewide.
Twichell, who headed the petition attempt, noted other issues associated with the construction and use of wind turbines as well.
“[The DEC] agreed there would be no forest clearing… during the maternal nesting season of birds and bats. Well, the wind company petitioned the siting board to allow them to clear the forests during the maternal season, and the DEC backpedaled and said ‘Well, it doesn’t really make any difference. It’s not going to have an adverse environmental impact,’” explained Twichell.
Twichell furthered that the noise from the turbines hurts sleep patterns and limits residents’ ability to spend time outside.
“The DEC had published earlier a finding that industrial noise in residential neighborhoods should not exceed seven decibels above the ambient noise level,” which is about 20 decibels in an area like Cherry Creek, according to Twichell. “But then they allowed the wind company to create noise at three or four times the ambient noise level of the community.”
In total, 48 turbines are part of the Cassadaga Wind Project that spans from the Towns of Cherry Creek to Charlotte.