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Big wind drifts into Perrysburg

The Town of Perrysburg in Cattaraugus County now joins the list of neighboring towns across Northern Chautauqua County as a target of wind turbine aggression.

My family and I have lived on, or enjoyed property near Perrysburg’s highest point, Peck Hill, for 45 years. I’ve been dreading this since the first invasion of the wind industry in Chautauqua County over a decade ago. U.S. Navy hero Oliver Hazard Perry observed British ships on Lake Erie from Peck Hill in 1812. Named for Perry, the town of Perrysburg wisely adopted a twelve month moratorium in January to allow time for upgrading its town wind turbine zoning regulations.

This follows the November, 2023 application for a wind data collecting meteorological tower (MET) to be placed atop Peck Hill. The MET application has been reviewed by the Town Planning Board and sent to the Cattaraugus County Planning Board for further approval. The Town Board will eventually rule on the MET application.

I joined a standing room only crowd attending the Town Board meeting February 12 to voice our concerns. The developer in Perrysburg is New Leaf Energy, based in Massachusetts. New Leaf’s wind turbines collect subsidies for its parent investment corporation Energy Capital Partners.

The installation of the MET tower would be followed by 650 foot tall wind turbines if they are allowed by Perrysburg’s wind law. The map lines of the resulting sacrifice zone would be drawn by NY State’s misplaced economic and climate mitigation policies, and shaded by ecocide with disregard for community health and wellbeing.

I think Perrysburg has a chance to avoid being blown away. Cattaraugus County has declared itself a Constitutional County which signals a motivation to protect its citizens from the State’s overreach.

Unlike the larger wind projects in nearby Chautauqua County towns, the New Leaf project is smaller in capacity. This allows the Town Board to adopt a protective wind law without threat of interference by the State. And unlike the wind strewn Chautauqua County Towns, there are no apparent conflicts of interest between the developer and the Town Board.

Towns across the State have passed strong laws which serve as models for citizens actively involved in advising the Perrysburg Town Board in its lawmaking. Peck Hill itself is demographically shared by the adjacent Town of Dayton, whose citizens and Town officials have already voiced concern for impacts from a Perrysburg project.

I believe the strongest evidence for optimism is the well-informed impact of Town residents and neighbors who see the possibility of preserving a quality of life which they have historically enjoyed. The future of the Town belongs to them and their families, not to investors in shining city towers a thousand miles away.

Mark Twichell is a Fredonia resident.

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