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Official denies claim of fracking

Four months ago Susan Baldwin of Villenova appeared before the Chautauqua County Legislature. She had photos in hand to show her water and alleged that it was infected from people fracking in the town when they installed wind turbines.

She returned in February after it was tested. According to Baldwin, the water tested positive for chromium, stronium, lead, arsenic, methane, and a huge amount of salt.

“They’ve been fracking, hydrofracking in Villenova,” Baldwin said at the meeting. “That’s what they’re doing and it’s ruining everybody’s water.”

Baldwin added that her daughter who lives two miles away, had her brand new washing machine had been destroyed from the water. She showed photos of grease that was in the machine.

The Post-Journal/OBSERVER reached out to Villenova Town Supervisor Yvonne Park for a response. She denies there is any fracking going on in Villenova. “She lives no where near the tower project. No one that I know of is having water problems. There is no fracking regarding the wind tower project,” Park said.

Fracking is a process by which water, sand and chemicals are injected underground at high pressures to crack open rock layers and release the oil or gas trapped inside. The practice has been banned in New York state since 2014.

Baldwin’s complaints are likely focused on drilling required to install the wind turbines. She has been an outspoken critic of the Ball Hill Wind Turbine project since it was first proposed.

The Ball Hill Wind Energy project is an approximately 100-megawatt wind powered electric generating, transmitting, and interconnecting facility.

According to Park, the project will consist of 25 individual wind turbines located in the towns of Villenova (22 turbines) and Hanover (3 turbines).

According to the company website, turbines are proposed on 80 meter and 98 meter towers to remain below FAA maximum heights due to a local county airport. In addition, 17 miles of access roads to connect each turbine to the town, county and state roads have been planned to meet strict regulatory guidelines and land owner lease requirements.

Last summer the county issued a permit to Northland Power to use Ball Hill Road. The company agreed to pay the county $722,100 for expected damage of the road when the heavy equipment would be brought in.

According to the company website, the Ball Hill project is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Chautauqua County already has two other wind farms. The Arkwright Summit wind farm is located in the town of Arkwright and has 36 turbines. The second one is the Cassadaga Wind Project that is located in the towns of Charlotte and Cherry Creek with 37 turbines.

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