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Group of ‘Mothers and Others’ supports Lighthouse Wind, renewable energy

Provided photo: The Lakeshore Mothers and Others Out Front attended a forum on Oct. 2 at Lyndonville Central School, where Apex Clean Energy officials discussed the proposed Lighthouse Wind.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 November 2018 at 1:30 pm

LYNDONVILLE – A group of mothers “and others” are stepping out in support of the proposed Lighthouse Wind in Yates and Somerset, saying the large-scale wind turbine project is renewable energy and these types of developments are needed to fight climate change.

Susan Campbell of Lyndonville is co-leader of the Lakeshore Mothers and Others Out Front Team. Mark Crosby is the other co-leader.

“We want to make it possible and safe for people who support the project to state their support without being shouted down,” Campbell said.

The local group expanded its name to “Mothers and Others” because it includes several men who are concerned about the planet, Campbell said.

There are other Mothers Out Front chapters in New York, Massachusetts, Alabama, California, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and Washington.

The organization started more than five years ago in Massachusetts. Neely Kelley of Rochester was living in Cambridge, Massachusetts then and attended a house party for Mothers Out Front.

“I was feeling panicked about climate change,” she said last week in Lyndonville.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Neely Kelley (left) is the New York State senior organizer for Mothers Out Front, a group that supports renewable energy projects, including he proposed Lighthouse Wind in Yates and Somerset. Susan Campbell is the co-leader of the Lakeshore Mothers and Others Out Front Team.

She and her family moved to Rochester, and Kelley is now the senior organizer for Mothers Out Front in New York. There are nine community teams in the state, including the Lakeshore Mothers and Others. That group also includes supporters of the proposed Heritage Wind in Barre.

“These projects are good not just for our towns but the world in general,” Campbell said. “It is something that needs to be done, and has needed to be done.”

She is the mother of four grown children and also has 14 grandchildren. She said a warming earth poses great danger to the future.

“We owe it to the next generation to do something about climate change,” Campbell said during an interview last week at Yates Community Library.

She is encouraging supporters of the project to attend town meetings, write letters to the editor and letters of support to the NYS Department of Public Service.

“Right now the letters are lopsided,” Campbell said, noting that many of the public comments about the project are against Lighthouse Wind. “We’re trying to bring new voices to it.”

Campbell said Lakeshore Mothers and Others also want to support other projects that they see as good for the community, including dredging of the Johnson Creek pond, improved access by the Johnson Creek dam, and improved fishing access along the creek.

Campbell said supporters of Lighthouse Wind are often told they are “greedy” or “ignorant.” She is a village resident and has no financial stake in the project, which would include 39 turbines in Somerset and 8 in Yates. The project has been bitterly opposed the past four years by many in the community, including Save Ontario Shores, a citizens’ group.

Campbell and Kelley both said there is a need for respectful dialogue about the project. They said Save Ontario Shores has concerns that should be heard. And supporters of the project should also be able to state their views without feeling public pressure.

“We want to create the space for dialogue,” Kelley said. “We want to respect and honor peoples’ thoughts and questions.”

Mothers Out Front is a not-for-profit organization funded with donations. Kelley said the group isn’t financially supported by Apex Clean Energy, which is proposing Lighthouse Wind and Heritage Wind, the two local projects.

“Clean energy is our main goal,” Kelley said. “The purpose of Mothers Out Front is to lift the voices of mothers about climate change.”

She acknowledged that “climate change” has become polarizing. She said using the word “sustainable” may be better for engaging people to work together in solving the crisis of a warming planet.

People know there is a problem with a warming planet, she said. She noted the recent destructive wildfires and hurricanes that have decimated communities in the United States.

Campbell became involved in Mothers Out Front in October 2017 when she attended a meeting in Rochester. She has led the efforts in forming the Lakeshore group.

“We want people to know there is a growing number of community members who support the project,” she said. “We tell them how important it is to do something about climate change before it is too late.”

Campbell welcomes more members in the local group. For more information, send her an email at brighteyes563@yahoo.com.

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