No do-overs if quarry by refuge, turbine projects go forward
We who have lived in Orleans County all our lives too often take our environmental assets for granted. This reality is dramatized by the potential negative environmental impact of dozens of 600-foot high wind turbines in Yates and Barre and the prospect of a huge stone quarrying operation adjacent to the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.
Such developments would constitute a real threat to wildlife habitat and diversity in Orleans County.
Imagine completing a form assessing the environmental impact of such projects. Could you honestly affirm that either type of project would not negatively impact Orleans County’s environment?
Now imagine you are an old guard member of the Orleans County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs. You actually have a good idea what we have here. The question is, “Will any threatened or endangered animals, or species of concern be adversely affected by the proposed project?” Is it even remotely conceivable that anyone with extensive outdoor experience/knowledge could check the “No” box in either instance?
The mining operation clearly comes with considerable environmental risks. The proposed overlay district seems a reasonable way to address the issue from the local level.
While I am all for renewables, in my view, wind turbines are a poor fit for Orleans County. Due mainly to setback requirements, the siting realities for wind turbines inevitably mean that already threatened woodland habitat will be seriously diminished. There are places where access roads and clearings for the turbines themselves would actually add habitat diversity. Think about areas that are heavily forested. Orleans County generally is not one of those places.
Whether it is a stone quarrying operation adjacent to a wildlife refuge or one, or more, wind turbine projects, there will be no do-overs.