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Committee Recommends Support Resolution for Black Oak Wind Farm Project

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Committee Recommends Support Resolution for Black Oak Wind Farm Project

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Planning, Development, and Environmental Quality Committee of the Tompkins County Legislature today recommended that the Legislature approve a formal resolution of support for the timely development of the Black Oak Wind Farm project in the Town of Enfield.

Following discussion, the measure was recommended without dissent (Legislators Carol Chock and Rich John were excused); with Legislator Dooley Kiefer abstaining due to her status as an investor in the wind farm project

Several residents addressed the committee before the resolution was considered, including some who asked the committee not take such action at this point, citing concerns with issues including setbacks and potential health-related concerns. Others voiced support of the program, including County Environmental Management Council chair Steve Nicholson, who noted the EMC had passed a similar resolution of support in 2007.

The support resolution, which now goes to the full Legislature for action, notes that the Black Oak Wind Farm “constitutes a $40 million investment in clean, renewable energy,” is consistent with the County’s greenhouse gas emission goals contained in the 2015 Tompkins County Comprehensive Plan, and that “the Tompkins County Energy Roadmap documents that wind energy has the potential to provide a significant portion of electricity demand within Tompkins County while decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.” Through a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement, the project is expected to generate more than $133,000 in annual revenue to the Town of Enfield, Tompkins County, and the Odessa-Montour and Ithaca City School Districts for 15 years.

Committee chair Martha Robertson and several other legislators thanked those who spoke for expressing their views regarding the project.

Noting that the project has been discussed and under development for the past decade, since he first came on the Legislature and that it is the Town of Enfield, not the County, that has the relevant land use control, Legislator Jim Dennis said he believes project officials have met and exceeded all requirements. He added, “If we can’t support this kind of thing, we can’t support anything in terms of energy.”