ITHACA, NY – Last week, a committee of the Tompkins County Legislature voted to pass a recommendation in support of “the timely development of” the Black Oak Wind Farm in Enfield on to the full legislature.

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Related: Passions rise and allegations are made as Enfield debates wind farm

The Planning, Development, and Environmental Quality Committee voted without dissent to approve the recommendation. Legislator Dooley Kiefer abstained, as she is an investor in the project.

A project that has essentially be in progress for 10 years now, the wind farm remains source of controversy in the town of Enfield and throughout Tompkins. Some residents of the town fear for their safety due to potential turbine accidents. Other are also concerned about their quality of life based on issues like ambient sound and shadow flicker caused by the turbines.

Several people spoke before the committee, both for against the project.

Related: 9 contentious questions (and answers) about the Enfield wind farm

A resolution in support of the wind farm will go before the full Tompkins County Legislature on Thursday. The resolution supports the project on the grounds that it falls in line with Tompkins County’s comprehensive plan, which includes  reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the next several decades.

It also notes that, 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.

Saying that he believed that Black Oak officials had met and exceeded all expectations set for the project, legislator Jim Dennis concluded, “If we can’t support this kind of thing, we can’t support anything in terms of energy.”

If passed, the resolution would have no official bearing on the wind farm’s progress. However, it would serve as an official declaration of support from the county. It will ultimately fall to the Enfield town board to make the final decisions on when – and if – the Wind Farm moves forward.

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Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.