Apex says local support grows for wind energy project

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 October 2015 at 12:00 am

YATES – Apex Clean Energy says public support is building for the company’s plan to build 60 to 68 turbines in the towns of Yates and Somerset that would peak at 570 feet high.

The company issued a press release about “political posturing” by Save Ontario Shores, a citizens group opposing the turbine project.

SOS on Oct. 16 opened 421 surveys of Yates property owners, asking their opinions about the turbine project. Of the respondents, 77.9 percent of Yates property owners say they oppose the project. Somerset town officials also did a survey of residents that showed strong opposition to the turbines.

Last Friday, Save Ontario Shores and Somerset town officials gathered at the lighthouse in Barker for a press conference and rally against the turbine project. The town has retained Dennis Vacco, a former state attorney general, to fight the Apex project.

Apex issued a statement saying it will continue to do public outreach about the project. As more residents learn about the plan, they tend to support the turbines, the company said.

“More and more residents in the project area are choosing to participate in the project,” said Dan Fitzgerald of Apex Clean Energy. “We continue to add participants as people have the opportunity to research and learn about this.”

Apex said the recent surveys in Yates and Somerset “deliberately excluded residents” of both towns.

The company released quotes from a resident in each town that support the wind energy project.

Floyd Koerner of Somerset said the town is paying Vacco $270 an hour  “in a clear attempt to score political points for the election, based on a well-funded misinformation campaign against advanced energy solutions in our local community.”

“In direct contrast, we are local residents and landowners interested in progress over politics, based on scientifically supported facts, benefits and the long-term future of our community,” Koerner said. “When the election is over, we’ll still be here fighting for the good of our community.”

Susan Campbell of Lyndonville has written letters to the editor to the Orleans Hub in support of the wind energy project.

“SOS claims to be worried about the health of the people in Yates and Somerset, but in truth I feel that they just want to continue to pollute our air and water with outdated energy technology,” said she in a news release from Apex. “In my opinion, the only fact that SOS brings up that cannot be disputed is that they don’t like the way the turbines look. This is the only planet we get and it is time we take the responsible steps to preserve it. The wind turbines will be a big step in that direction.”