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Air Reserve Station leader says tall turbines won’t harm base in Niagara Falls

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 October 2016 at 11:30 am
File photo by Tom Rivers: Wind turbines that peak at about 400 feet high are pictured last fall in Sheldon, Wyoming County. The town has 75 turbines that stand high above trees. The turbines proposed for Yates and Somerset would be about 600 feet high.

File photo by Tom Rivers: Wind turbines that peak at about 400 feet high are pictured last fall in Sheldon, Wyoming County. The town has 75 turbines that stand high above trees. The turbines proposed for Yates and Somerset would be about 600 feet high.

YATES – The mission is changing at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station with higher-flying tanker planes expected to replace c-130 transport planes by next October.

The training flights for the eight KC-135 tanker planes will take place at altitudes above 3,000 feet, Col. Joseph D. Janik, operations group commander for the 914th Airlift Wing, told The Buffalo News. (Click here to see ‘Air Force officer debunks claim that wind turbines endanger Niagara Falls base.’)

Apex Clean Energy is proposing about 70 wind turbines in Somerset and Yates that would peak about 620 feet. The turbines would be at least 25 miles from the base in Niagara Falls.

Opponents of “Lighthouse Wind” in Yates and Somerset have said the turbines would have a negative impact on the training missions at the military base, possibly jeopardizing its future in Western New York. Congressman Chris Collins and State Sen. Robert Ortt have spoken out against the turbine project because they said it would harm the base’s mission and contribute to its closure.

Janik told The Buffalo News the turbines are a non-issue because of the planes’ height and travel routes.

“Flying the C-130, some of our tactical low-level routes would take us up to that part of the lakeshore, over Lake Ontario, but with the new tanker, we’ll be at higher altitudes,” he said.

Save Ontario Shores, a citizens’ group opposed to turbine project, said the base’s future missions aren’t fully known and the turbines could be a detriment to the base operations.

Cat Mosely, a spokeswoman for Apex, said she hopes The Buffalo News article “clears up misinformation.”

Apex is working on its application for the project, currently going through the stipulation phase and responding to questions and concerns by 23 parties. Mosely said there will be public comment opportunities throughout the process as the company works to get to the final application phase of the project.

Apex has done its due diligence in showing the turbines won’t have a negative impact on the Niagara Falls base, she said.

“It’s great to put this to bed,” she said about the issue.

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