Chorus of Staten Island voices call for wind farm

March 16, 2009 at 1:50 pm Leave a comment

The chorus of voices calling for a wind farm at Fresh Kills grew louder yesterday, as environmentalists, fishermen and lawmakers gathered to support sustainable energy in the former landfill.

“What could be better than clean energy for a big city like New York?” said Kerry Sullivan, the chairman of the National Resources Protective Association, at the gathering in the Educational Field Station at Great Kills Park.

Activists and youngsters held hand-made signs reading “It’s a wind-win opportunity” and “Save $$$ on Foreign Oil, Use Wind Instead.”

“By building this, you’re going to show America it can be done,” said Sullivan about the proposed wind farm.

According to a 2007 feasibility study commissioned by Borough President James Molinaro and completed by BQ Energy, the creation of six, 400-foot-tall turbines atop Fresh Kills’ North Mound could generate more than 17 mega watts of green electricity — roughly enough to meet 3 percent of Staten Island’s total needs, or power 5,000 homes.

The proposal calls for private companies to invest in the construction and maintenance of the turbines, thereby keeping it free for taxpayers.

While the idea of the wind farm dovetails with Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s push for more sustainable energy under his PlaNYC 2030, the mayor has yet to lend it his explicit support.

The city Department of Parks and Recreation in September released a study that claimed, among other objections, the turbines could cause accidents on the West Shore Expressway because of rubber-necking drivers, and that the rotors rotating at 190 miles per hour could kill migrating bats and birds.

“The benefits far outweigh any risk,” said Molinaro, echoing the message he has sounded since he began championing the cause in 2004. “There’s no reason to say no.”

For the project to move forward, the state Department of Environmental Conservation must give its approval. The agency, which could not be reached for comment yesterday, is said to be weighing concerns about the environmental impact of building the turbines atop a former landfill.

“For generations, we had a environmental and ecological and environmental eyesore, and not a peep from them. Now we want to do something positive, and that should get support,” said Assemblyman Matthew Titone (D-North Shore), as he expressed hope the DEC can be cajoled into greenlighting the project.

Also taking the podium to call for forward momentum were Rep. Michael McMahon (D-Staten Island/ Brooklyn) and state Sen. Andrew Lanza (R- Staten Island)

“This is no longer a futuristic idea. It’s here and it’s proven,” said Lanza.

“If you’re an elected official on Staten Island and you’re not thinking about the environment, you better set your alarm clock,” said Bill Paciello, of the Fishermen’s Conservation Association, who spoke alongside representatives from the Staten Island Tuna Club and the Clean Ocean Act of New Jersey.

Deborah Young
Staten Island Advance

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Entry filed under: Dive In, Natural Waterfront, Staten Island. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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