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Concerns over turbine impact on base in Niagara Falls another reason to say no to Lighthouse Wind

Posted 11 January 2016 at 12:00 am

Editor:

If you live on the northern edges of Niagara and Orleans counties, you are used to seeing two C-130 cargo planes fly at low altitude every day around sunset.

These planes originate at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station about 25 miles southwest of our lake shore. These planes have now taken on an additional significance, as three retired Base Commanders from NFARS have written to Governor Cuomo and other officials, to warn that Apex’s plan to erect up to seventy 620-foot industrial wind turbines does not mix well with the training mission of this military base.

NFARS apparently has something going for it that many air bases in more populated areas cannot boast: a lack of airspace “encroachment.” In their letter these three former NFARS base commanders state that the base has scored highly on this attribute, as “the military is very cognizant of any civilian and/or commercial uses that might interfere (encroach) with the ‘Military Operating Area’ (MOA) surrounding all military facilities. In fact, there is an ongoing effort to coordinate the zoning codes of the communities with the MOA to ensure that those codes reflect the need to prevent any encroachment into the MOA that could jeopardize military operations and the future of the base.”

They continue, “The current C-130 operations maintain a number of low level training routes, generally 500 feet above ground level (AGL) but as low as 300 feet AGL, on some routes. These routes depart on a common departure path, in a northeasterly direction. In the area of the lake shore, east of Wilson, NY, the individual routes commence with a turn in various directions, as per the route’s design. Additionally, there is an established high speed route, established primarily for fighter aircraft, that is in the same general area, and it also cleared down to 300 feet AGL.”

The letter draws the conclusion that NFARS has been considered for closure twice by the Base Realignment and Closure commission in the last few years. If the base loses this valuable attribute, and suddenly finds its training airspace encroached upon by huge wind turbines, it gives BRAC a reason to downgrade its value, thereby giving the commission another reason to consider NFARS’s closure.

In addition, the base now provides 3,000 jobs. Can anyone weigh that against the five to ten jobs that might possibly come from wind turbines? It is easy to see another reason why erecting giant wind turbines in Somerset and Yates makes no sense.

Respectfully submitted,

Christine Bronson
Barker
Member of Save Ontario Shores