To All Concerned Residents of Barre

To All Concerned Residents of Barre:

In response to the application filed by Apex, the Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment sent them a letter identifying seventeen problems they had to fix before the application could move forward to formal consideration.

How can it be the case that a huge company like Apex, who employs many lawyers, submits an application so badly written that the Electric Generation Siting board finds seventeendeficiencies in it that have to be fixed before the application can even be considered? Don’t all these lawyers between them have the competency to fill out an application? The experience Apex boasts of having in this area would suggest they shouldn’t be making these mistakes.

We would like to explain and discuss the many problems with their application here for you to understand.

Problem 1) As part of the application Apex was supposed to submit a map that showed all properties that would contain a major component of electrical generating equipment or related equipment, and any other properties within 2,000 feet of those properties, properly labeled with the tax parcel number and owner of each property. However, the Maple St. and Oak Orchard Road parcel numbers are missing. Either it was left out deliberately, or they did shoddy research.

Problem 2) The application is supposed to include a map of the existing zoning districts and proposed zoning districts within the affected area of the project, including what is and isn’t permitted in each zone. However, the map they submitted completely left out the Town of Barre in spite of the fact that we are the host of these proposed turbines. The application goes on to claim that Wind energy generation is allowed in any of the town’s zoning districts as long as they have the correct permits, but they only identify the requirements for one of the three districts they mention

Problem 3) The application has different widths listed for the access roads in the site plan drawings and the decommissioning plans creating an unresolved inconsistency. This is par for the course with Apex, whose proposals are typically not well defined or easy to understand.

Problem 4) The setbacks for turbines from occupied structures are inconsistent with the height of the turbines. This being one of the primary concerns of the residents of Barre, this should be very well laid out in the plans. Also, the setbacks should be from the property lines, and not from the edge of the occupied structures. The law states that nobody can build anything within the potential fall zone of the turbine which is twice its height or more. If someone else’s turbine is on the edge of their land up against the edge of your land, then you will lose the right to build anything in the area where the windmill may fall. Once Apex has an agreement in place, they will request right of way permits, which will give them the right to use your land even if you do not have a turbine lease on your property.

Problem 5) The drawings in the application do not include the necessary local setbacks related to the proposed collection substation, Point of Interconnection switchyard, and Operations & Maintenance building. Was this omission deliberate to keep the people from realizing how close to their homes the high voltage equipment would be placed?

Problem 6) The citing board states that architectural drawings for the collector substation are missing the necessary elevation views throughout the application. Also, the application doesn’t have architectural drawings for the POI (Point of interconnection) switchyard. Was this another deliberate omission?

Problem 7) The design drawings for underground and overhead power collection circuits contain NONE of the necessary details regarding Right of Way, limits of disturbance, anticipated depth and level of cover, clearing with limits for construction and operation of the facility and elevations for overhead facilities and transmission lines, structure layouts, span lengths and separation requirements. Right of way are usually requested after the signing of the agreement with the host community, therefore the town will grant right of way in order to keep the project going, which will leave residents who do not have a lease with Apex having no say over who can or cannot come on their property for the purposes of the project.

Problem 8) The citing board states that the application requires that the owners of record for all parcels included within the facility site and for all adjacent properties must be provided, but this was not done. Why were the names of the lease holders and the owners of adjacent properties left off? This is quite the omission and the idea that it is an accident is laughable.

Problem 9) The application requires that Apex must include the results of a literature review on any public health and safety concerns associated with potential ‘blade throw’ and tower collapse. The relevant exhibit (#15) in the application does not report on manufacturer recommendations or local requirements for this issue. How could one omit the manufacturer recommendations?

Problem 10) The application requires that Apex must include sound power level information from the manufacturers of the turbines, however this information was not included with the application. One of the primary concerns surrounding wind turbine projects is infra-sound, therefore this is an alarming omission.

Problem 11) The application requires that Apex must include the full Archeological Phase 1B report, which they failed to do. They only included a summary. Was this omitted because of the possibility of Indian grave sites?

Problem 12) The application requires that Apex must identify and evaluate reasonable mitigation measures regarding the impact of blasting and the use of alternative technologies or structures, and a plan for compensating people for damages that may occur from blasting. No alternate technologies were described and no plan for compensating individuals for blasting damage was described. The blasting locations were also not concisely described. A plan for compensating people for damages incurred by blasting is essential before any work can be allowed to begin.

Problem 13) The application requires a map, based on publicly available information, that shows all areas of the study that impact groundwater. However, the map supplied by Apex does not show groundwater flow direction as required. Their map is also required to be parcel-based for the purposes of showing the locations of public and private water supply wells, which it does not do. Without a properly conducted water flow study this could result in wells running dry or crops not getting enough water or the loss of wetlands

Problem 14) The application requires that Apex identify the nearest downstream drinking-water supply intake to the facility site, or specifically state that they take the position that no surface water intakes would be adversely impact, which they did not do. We need a statement from Apex as to where they think the nearest drinking water supply intake is so that we as citizens can verify what they are telling us.

Problem 15) The application requires Apex to propose various ways of reducing the visual impact of construction on the area, including a simulation that illustrates how the mitigation will be prepared for the observation points where it is proposed to go in. Apex proposes to reduce the visual contrast with some form of perimeter plantings, but no simulation was provided for this planting so the board could not be clear on what they are proposing to do. We will need to see how Apex intends to reduce the visual impact of their construction before we can make an informed decision about their project and any potential damage to the native environment.

Problem 16) The application requires Apex to provide a summary of their consultations with relevant emergency service providers (first responders and helicopter rescue etc…), which they did not do. Why was a summary omitted? It is extremely important to establish that Apex is prepared to deal with emergency situations as they may arise. The turbines cannot simply be allowed to burn if a fire takes place because this could easily wipe out an entire field and endanger the surrounding residents.

Problem 17) The application requires Apex to list all of the requests they anticipate making to the Board for the purposes of their project. Apex states that they anticipate requesting the Siting Board to authorize NYSDOT to issue “over-sized vehicle permits, highway work permits, and other ministerial permits associated with road work in State highways or rights-of-ways.” However, this statement in the application does not clearly state what exactly Apex intends to ask for, which it must do. We will need specific details about where, when and what type of vehicles are to be used before this request can be evaluated as to whether or not it is in the interest of the town to grant it. We need to know what hours these oversized vehicles will be operating, how much greenhouse gas we can expect them to dump into our air, and the total number of vehicle miles traveled on our roads. Apex’s failure to disclose this crucial information shows blatant disregard for the host community and their indifference to committing a huge environmental injustice.

            We are extremely concerned that a supposedly expert Wind Turbine firm like Apex could have so many problems and inconsistencies in their Article 10 application. Aren’t they supposed to have done this before? Several of the problems involve a failure to include the owners of land parcels, property setbacks, and even a failure to include our town in their map of affected zoning districts! They didn’t include technical information from the turbine manufacturers about windmill collapse or blade throw and they left out the technical information on sound power levels. They didn’t include a plan to compensate people for damage to their property from blasting and they didn’t bother to specify their Right of Way requirements or conversations with emergency services. Apex is simply not prepared. With all these inconsistencies can the residents of Barre really trust Apex to honor their agreements?

Just for the information of the Residents of the Town of Barre, the town supervisor and town attorney made some changes to the Town of Barre wind laws and took them to the Orleans County legislature board for presentation. However, they were not given permission by the board of the Town of Barre to do this. The information was not even given to the Barre town board members until an hour before the Barre town board meeting on Wednesday, August 12th 2020. They did not have time to read these changes or discuss them but the town supervisor pressured them to pass them anyway. It was refreshing to see that the board rejected this pressure and requested a workshop meeting to discuss the changes before voting on them. It would be good if the town Board of Barre registered an official reaction to two recent independent surveys, one conducted by Mr. McKenna and the other conducted by Citizens for a Better Barre. Both surveys overwhelmingly reported that the residents of the Town of Barre do not want the windmills to be constructed. A petition presented by Ms. Swan showing between 200 and 250 residents supporting the windmills consisted mostly of leaseholders and their family members. We ask the board to represent the majority of residents within the Town of Barre and not just the vested interests of a relative few.


-Alexander Nacca

For any questions contact 585-283-4576

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