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Neighbors Vote Against Seneca Wind Project

Taxpayers in the Unified Towns and Gores of Essex County have voted against a proposed wind project in Ferdinand. The ballots were cast by mail as part of an opinion survey conducted by the UTG on behalf of the developer, Seneca Mountain Wind.

"For now we recognize that there are local concerns and in the end we hope that there is a viable project that can achieve local support and bring myriad benefits of wind energy to Ferdinand." - John Soininen, wind project manager

The tally announced Monday night: 171 votes against the 20-turbine project, 107 votes for it, and four abstentions. After the votes were counted, John Soininen, the project manager, said he was disappointed in the result.

“For now we recognize that there are local concerns and in the end we hope that there is a viable project that can achieve local support and bring myriad benefits of wind energy to Ferdinand and the UTG,” Soininen said.

But before the survey was mailed, Soininen said that his company would abide by a local vote, and he repeated that promise at the UTG meeting announcing the result.  The UTG board is also now on record against the project. However, the UTG does not have the final say, the Public Service Board does, so the future is still unclear.

Soininen says while this particular application will not be submitted, if the company decides to move forward, a future proposal might garner more local support. Opponents to the project say they hope any plan to erect towers on Seneca Mountain is dead. But if there is another proposal,  Valerie Desmarais,  a co-founder of “Save Our Senecas,” vowed her group and two others will lobby fiercely against it.

"We're here to protect the mountain." - Valerie Desmarais, “Save Our Senecas”

“Well, we’re here to protect the mountain,” Desmarais said.

And Desmarais says if that means taking the fight to state authorities, opponents are prepared to do that.

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