Burke Friends Against Rural Mismanagement


* To:  Alicia Rivera (alicia.rivera@res-group.com), Manager, RES Marketing & Communications; Jess Kelly (jessana.kelly@res-group.com), RES

From:  Albert Johnson (farmburke@gmail.com), Burke FARM and former Town Supervisor, Burke NY 

Regarding:  Proposed RES industrial wind plant in Burke NY

Date:  April 22, 2019

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I’m writing as spokesman for Burke FARM (Friends Against Rural Mismanagement).  I write, as well, as a former Burke Town Supervisor and on behalf of the individuals who signed the petition, below.  

By way of background for some of you copied with this, RES is the abbreviation for Renewable Energy Systems, a multi-national wind energy corporation.  


RES agents, including Jess Kelly, have been working behind the scenes in Burke for some time, signing up property owners for a 200 MW (megawatt) industrial wind plant consisting of 50 mammoth, ocean-scale wind turbines — 725 feet high to the tip of the vertical blade.  

Burke FARM is part of a regional group of people who are now taking a stand against rural mismanagement.  We signatories to the attached petition consider the RES proposal to be a case in point.


Alicia & Jess, understand that the signatures on the petition are just a sample of the opposition.  They were collected over a mere 2-day period.  For example, the list does not include a sizable Amish group opposed to the project.  It does include several property owners from contiguous towns, since residents of  adjacent towns are routinely granted party status to NYS Article 10 procedures — which is where this project will wind up should you, RES, decide to pursue your plan.  

Not only are residents of neighboring towns eligible for Article 10 party status, but so are municipal governments from neighboring towns.  This means the Town of Malone can come onboard any Article 10.  I assure you the Malone town supervisor and board will do all in their power to convince the Article 10 Siting Board and its Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) that this is a bad idea.  I will go into those reasons in a moment.  


Click “Petition” to view the signatures.


At the February 25, 2019 Burke town meeting, Burke FARM pretty much packed the room.  We made our case against the turbine height increase (to 725’), backed up by our petition.  The town board listened to us and duly filed our petition.

At the following town meeting, Supervisor Bill Wood informed the community that the board intended to approve the turbine height increase, offering no evidence justifying the height increase and oblivious to substantial town-wide opposition (as shown in the petition).  

On April 9, the town board voted to approve the 725’ height limit (click here).  Three members voted in favor, with Supervisor Wood and Councilman Lobdell recusing themselves for conflicts of interest.  

As an aside, Burke FARM is considering a declaratory judgment action and Article 78 proceeding against the board.  The declaratory judgment would focus on procedural missteps (there were plenty) related to local law enactment under NY Town Law, the Town Code, or General Municipal Law. The Article 78 would challenge the town board’s administrative decisions under SEQRA. 

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Burke FARM will deal with our town board and supervisor in the November 2019 election and, as I say, possibly in court; right now we’re dealing with you, RES.  We are formally asking you to withdraw all plans for an industrial wind plant in our community.


Why 50, 725-foot industrial wind turbines are a bad idea in Burke NY


(1) Proximity to the Almanzo Wilder Farm, on the National Register of Historic Places and a Literary Landmark


Alicia & Jess, I have attached (click here) a marked-up copy of the Short Environmental Impact Form (EAF) given to me by Supervisor Wood at the April 9 town meeting.


Many of the “Yes” and “No” answers are questionable.  The “No” response to Question 12 (see screenshot, below) is especially alarming.  It fails to recognize that the Almanzo Wilder Farm is in fact listed in the National Register for Historic Places.  Under SEQR regulations, this means the turbines would have to be set back several miles (five, I believe) from the Wilder Farm. Whether the Article 10 Siting Board would honor SEQR recommendations remains to be seen.  Be that as it may, there is a strong likelihood the Almanzo & Laura Ingalls Wilder Association (ALIWA) would join the Article 10 in opposition to this project.  (Yes, I have discussed the matter with the ALIWA leadership.)

Wilder farm

Watch the Wilder Farm video.  It’s charming.


(2) Proximity to the Malone-Dufort Airport


Malone-Dufort is a federally-obligated airport owned and operated by the Town of Malone. Runway 5/23 is 3449 x 100 feet.  Runway 14/32 is 3250 x 75 feet.

In 2014 the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published its "Guidebook for Energy Facilities Compatibility with Airports and Airspace” (Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.) 

 Malone-Dufort Airport, Malone NY 

The report generally goes by the shorthand, ACRP (Airport Cooperative Research Program) 108.  It was done for the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies of Science at the request of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), as shown below (screenshots from the report).  

I have attached the full report (click here).  


ACRP Report 108 is the upstream, guiding document for FAA regulations and recommendations.  The National Academies of Science (NAS), founded by Congress in 1863, is parent to the National Research Council (NRC), created in 1916. The following paragraph explains the significance and authority of the Transportation Research Board (TSB), copied from the NAS website.


What does ACRP Report 108 say about erecting 50, 725-foot high industrial turbines in Burke?  It says, “No way!”  

Turn to p. 65 of the ACRP Report 108 for the following table (4.6), “Siting Guidance.”  600’ wind turbines (to the tip of the vertical blade) should not be built within 7 nautical miles (NM) of an airport. Seven (7) nautical miles = 8.05 miles.  


Now turn to p. 28 of the same document in abbreviated form (click here) for Figure 4.1, which shows the same guidelines graphically:


If a 600-foot turbine should be no closer to Malone-Dufort Airport than 7 nautical miles (8.05 miles), how close can a 725-foot turbine be?  Alicia and Jess, you can do the arithmetic, but we believe it would look something like this.  (Maybe you should be talking to Chateaugay about your project, instead of Burke?)


The Town of Malone would weigh in on your Article 10 to protect its airport from your airspace-obstructing turbines which violate Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) 77.23 

Malone Supervisor Andrea Stewart is astute.  So is her town board.  These aren’t the rubes, rustics, and hicks you’re used to baffling with your sales pitch.  They know all about the wind energy schtick, and they know all about Article 10.  Malone would likely use the legal services of 


Ben Wisniewski, Esq. (The Zoghlin Group), who is assisted by Gary Abraham, Esq.  Both Gary and Ben are seasoned Article 10 attorneys.  Malone has used both attorneys in the past.  Burke FARM would seek to share both of these attorneys, thus sharing both rounds of Article 10 intervenor funds with Malone.  I’m willing to bet the Almanzo & Laura Ingalls Wilder Association (ALIWA) would join forces, and attorneys, with the Town of Malone and Burke FARM.


While I’m on the subject, we would likely counter your engineering experts with Dr. Malcolm Swinbanks, and your noise experts with noise engineers Rick  James and Dr. Jerry Punch (click here).  (Gary Abraham would relish squaring off with James Muscato, Esq., once again.)


For what it’s worth, Dan Boyd, Project Manager for Noble Environmental years ago, warned the Burke board that proximity to Malone-Dufort Airport would kill any wind turbine project in the township.  The same crowd occupying the board, now, was on the board then.  They should have tied a ribbon around their finger.


(3) Border Security


You’re looking at bad news in these two figures — the one to the right and the one below.  Both are taken from I. Angulo et al., “Impact Analysis of Wind Farms on Telecommunication Services,” Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, vol. 32 (2014), pp. 84-99. Click here for the entire article.  


The figures, above, give you some idea of the host of problems (“scattering,” “shadow,” “false targets,” and “clutter”) windfarms create for air traffic control (ATC) and weather radars.  I have cut and pasted several relevant passages from Angulo et al.


“So what?  Why does all this radar stuff matter?"


Take a look at the pink band on this map.  The US/Canada border, under the jurisdiction of U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) and Air and Marine Operations (AMO).


Notice the highlighted band (green arrows) in the map, below.  This zone, extending from the Canadian border south for at least 25 miles, is included in CBP and AMO jurisdiction — all within the Dept of Homeland Security.


Look at the legend to the right (1-6), here.  Here’s where things get interesting.  

You see Malone-Dufort Airport (1), from which CBP and AMO would have the capability to launch Predator drones; airborne sensor platforms like the P-3 Orion aircraft; small, tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); and stationary aerostats


By now you may be thinking, “This is exaggerated!”  


Nope.  Not exaggerated.  Something of great importance happened a year ago:  The Dept of Homeland Security released its new Northern Border Strategy directive.

Ladies and gentlemen, the United States government under President Donald Trump is finally giving serious attention to its porous borders.  Not just the notorious Mexican border, but, yes, our border with Canada.


Click where indicated, above, for the full document.


Turn to p. 10 of the document, where you find the following (highlighting mine).  (TCO stands for transnational criminal organization.)


The passages, below, are from pp. 6-7 of the DHS “Northern Border Strategy” document.


This map gives you a sense of the massive spiderweb of international drug trafficking, which experts estimate is now worth at least half a trillion USD annually.  With Pres. Trump squeezing off Mexican border access, the Canadian border is becoming more appealing for drug traffickers.



On p. 11 of DHS “Northern Border Strategy” we find the key objectives of the new initiative, below. (POE = ports of entry.)


"DHS will use this Strategy and corresponding Implementation Plan to prioritize Departmental resources and achieve the specified outcomes over five years, beginning in FY 2020,” p. 9 of DHS “Northern Border Strategy”


In August 2018 the Dept of Homeland Security unveiled its “Border Surveillance Systems” (BSS) plan for the above Strategy and Implementation  Plan.

Click where indicated, to read the entire report.


Read the Abstract and Overview, here:


On p. 2 the report lists Mobile Surveillance Technologies, Updated Fixed Surveillance Technologies, and Other new surveillance technologies, as shown below.


In sum, it’s a new ballgame for the northern border:


Let’s now revisit the border map, above, and consider locations 345, and 6 — all of them ports of entry (POE). 


All 4 ports of entry (3-6) are linked to our southern border with Mexico.


NBC News explained the connection in an article last month (click here):

“Illegal Border Crossings from Canada Quietly Rising, Data Shows”
(NBC News, March 9, 2019)

Think of illegal immigration and drug smuggling as a tube of toothpaste.  Superimpose the tube on the map, above.

  • First, we unscrew the cap:  Anyone willing to buy a one-way, $300 airline ticket from Mexico City to  Montreal or Ottawa can bypass the southern (Mexico) border and — presto! — land on the Canadian side of our northern border — without a visa.  Once in Canada, these people pay $7.00 for a Canadian Travel Authorization permit allowing them to travel freely throughout Canada for a period of days or weeks.  
  • Meanwhile, President Trump is squeezing the tube from the bottom with his “wall” campaign and other measures to stem the avalanche of migrants and drugs.  (Remember El Chapo?  His Sinaloa Cartel smuggled billions of dollars worth of drugs into the US alone, not to mention other nations around the world.  With Trump and Homeland Security squeezing the tube, where do you imagine the toothpaste will get squirted out?)

The following is from the NBC News report.




The problem isn’t so much 4, 5, and 6.  It’s 3.  See the red pin in this map.

Hogansburg NY.  Akwesasne.  The Mohawk reservation.  Straddling the United States and Canada (Ontario & Quebec).  Since RES is a foreign company, you may not know that Akwesasne is sort of like a nation within 2 other nations (USA and Canada).  I’m referring to the Mohawk Nation: the easternmost nation of the Six Nations Iroquois spread across upstate NY.  

Hogansburg ny
  • Are you aware that Mohawks have the right to cross the international border without going through US Customs & Immigration?  
  • Are you aware that these privileges are guaranteed to the Mohawk Nation in treaties going back to the 18th century? 
  • Are you aware that the Mohawk Nation does not have its own Customs & Immigration service for non-Mohawks passing from Canada into the US and vice versa?  
  •  Are you aware that in the latter half of the 20th century there were pitched battles between Mohawks and US and Canadian authorities (witness Oka, Kahnawake, and Akwesasne) which the Mohawks won?  How did they win?  US and Canadian authorities simply backed off. 

In sum, Burke NY is within a stone’s throw of a “porous border,” where the porosity is vastly more legally vexing than our border with Mexico — because we’ve got an aboriginal nation sitting athwart this border that refuses to turn over border surveillance, policing, and interdiction to either US or Canadian authorities. (See “Seven Mexican nationals arrested for entering US without documentation near Fort Covington,” Malone Telegram, April 16, 2019.)


Drug trafficking


“Porous” border means not just illegal migrants and immigrants; it also means drugs.  

Find NYS on the map to the right.  Lots of pills there, right?  

Click here, here, and here for 3 articles on the subject of narcotics in Franklin County.  


Massive quantities of drugs can be easily offloaded from international freighters sailing up the St. Lawrence Seaway.  (The Mohawk rez is well known for its all-black, very fast speedboats.)


Massena now has drug gangs — gangs affiliated with Latin American drug gangs, so we’re told by a former Malone Town Justice.  (You can read the “ponytail” story, here.)


We are told by a former Border Patrol supervisor that, on the Mohawk rez, people who don’t cooperate with the drug importers sometimes simply — vanish.  The Border Patrol can’t go on the rez to investigate. 



… the “missing” don’t even wind up on a milk carton!  The death isn’t even a statistic.


You get the picture.  Franklin County is a hotbed of drug trafficking.  And it’s getting worse.  


Here’s a table from the Dept of Homeland Security from a year ago. (OFO:  Office of Field Operations.)  For all ports of entry.  (Click here for full report.)


Border Security v. wind turbines in summary:


Burke FARM believes the Canadian border is likely to be the new frontier of major drug trafficking. Evidently the Dept of Homeland Security agrees with us.


The Dept of Homeland Security has initiated a dramatic new approach to securing our northern (Canadian) border — one that involves extensive and creative use of various sorts of radar and seismic monitoring.


Wind turbines create myriad problems for radar deployment, including weather radar and air traffic control.  They also create seismic vibrations of sufficient magnitude to interfere with seismic monitoring for national security purposes.  (See also here.)  Furthermore, 725’ high turbines are an obvious hazard to low-flying surveillance aircraft and UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles).


Federal/State policy conflict:


This man wants to protect America from illegal immigration and massive drug trafficking. Toward this end he has inaugurated a new border security strategy for both the northern & southern border. 


This man wants to protect NYS from climate change.  Toward this end he is vigorously promoting wind and solar energy plants in the North Country (i.e., here) and western NYS.  


In the opinion of Burke FARM, border security has primacy over Gov. Cuomo’s wind energy schemes.  We don't want border security strategy, personnel, and surveillance to be handicapped or otherwise compromised and degraded by badly sited wind turbines.  


I repeat, we are hereby formally asking you to withdraw all plans for an industrial wind plant in our community.




Spokesman for Burke FARM, farmburke@gmail.com
Former Town Supervisor, Burke NY


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