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History, public access concerns for Galloo Island

TIMES STAFF WRITER
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SACKETS HARBOR — Members of the public asked Monday that the construction of Galloo Island Wind Farm include attempts at increasing public access and preserving history on the island.


The comments came during two public hearings on the project at the Hounsfield Public Safety Building.


Upstate NY Power Corp., backed by Babcock & Brown Ltd., plans to build an 84-turbine wind farm on the island rated at 252 megawatts — about enough to power 60,000 homes. The wind farm will sit about 51/2 miles from the nearest mainland.


The state Department of Environmental Conservation, lead agency for the environmental review process on the project, held the hearings.


Henderson charter boat captain Mitchell L. Franz requested that part of the project include upgrading DEC-owned lands on the island to allow public access.


"That should include the mitigation of the Coast Guard station to upgrade it to public use as a safe harbor and also public use on property the department owns at the head of the island," he said. "If there is any dredging at Gill Harbor, there should be mitigation for the spawning area of smallmouth bass."


Gill Harbor is the bay by the former Coast Guard station on the island.


Mr. Franz earlier asked about possible public use areas during a question-and-answer period before the formal hearing.


"Right now, we have not arrived at any final conclusion on the use of state lands on the island," said Jack A. Nasca, the chief of energy projects and management division of environmental permits for DEC. "Obviously, that is something we're interested in and looking at."


Mr. Franz also asked whether the Henderson Guides Association would still be allowed to use an area called North Pond, a picnic spot on the island's north end. That property is part of the island that would transfer ownership to Upstate NY Power if the project proceeds.


"We have not been told one way or another on that," said Rick Greiner, permit manager for Babcock & Brown.


Also during the question-and-answer period, Sackets Harbor Trustee Lawrence C. Barone asked about the progress on the historical and cultural landmark analysis.


Mr. Greiner said the consultant, Panamerican Consultants Inc., of Tuscaloosa, Ala., has not yet finished the historical and cultural resources investigation.


"Some of the history is still apparent," Mr. Barone said. "I'd ask that you document visually those components that are still visible."


During the hearing, Lyme Councilman Warren A. Johnson read a letter from Lyme Supervisor Scott G. Aubertine asking for a noise study of Point Peninsula, which is the section of mainland nearest the island. He said some people in Lyme are concerned the noise from the proposed turbines will be an annoyance because noise does not dissipate easily over open water.


Shawn P. Doyle, a member of the Oswego County Board of Legislators representing Pulaski, expressed concern over an overhead transmission line that is under the purview of the Public Service Commission.


"It will go right through the heart of my village," he said.


He said the village of Pulaski has put $1 million into burying power lines.


The deadline for public comment during environmental review process on the project is May 29.


Comments can be sent to Stephen M. Tomasik, DEC project manager, by mail at NYS DEC, Division of Environmental Permits, 625 Broadway, 4th Floor, Albany, N.Y., 12233-1750; by fax at 1 (518) 402-9168; or by e-mail at smtomasi@gw.dec.state.ny.us.

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