Apex tries to intimidate Somerset Town Board

Posted 9 February 2016 at 12:00 am


Hungry for recycled taxpayer money funneled into the so-called “green” energy agenda by state and federal subsidies, Apex (no so) Clean Energy LLC apparently brought in an invasion of union workers to chastise the Somerset Town Board at its own hearing on Feb. 1.

The reason? Somerset amended its own local zoning law. As a Somerset resident and farm owner, I resent the intrusion of union workers who do not live in Somerset. It would appear that Apex paraded them into our public hearing meeting to protest Somerset’s amended local law.

Industrial wind turbine facility would effectively make my town unfit for habitation of people, and irreversibly damage the ambient quiet countryside that I moved here to enjoy.

Somerset town residents pay town taxes, and therefore have the right to have a say in our own town government. The Somerset Town Board was very accommodating to the influx of iron workers apparently invited to our public hearing by the wind corporation.

One construction worker said that Apex had contacted many local construction companies about potential jobs. Actually the reality is that in many wind projects, out-of-state construction crews are brought in by the wind company.

In February of 2015, Vermillion, Illinois, not only did Apex bring in out-of-state contractors to construct their wind project, the leaseholders there ended up with mechanic liens on their lands, as Apex did not pay them at that time.

With Apex’s reputation in other wind projects akin to snake-oil salesmen, it’s obvious that the Town of Somerset is correct to do its due diligence to protect the natural environment, its own people’s health, safety, welfare, and property values, along with the comprehensive plan of the town.

An unbiased ad hoc committee was drafted to write this new zoning law. It had included the two Apex salesmen, along with citizens on both sides of the issue. Somerset tried to come up with a protective plan for the town suited to its character and its people. These meetings, taking place over a six-month period, were open to the public. The new 54-page law can be found on Somerset’s website.

The first in a long list of town findings states: “Short-sighted planning has often resulted in creation of problem industries that adversely affect public health and quality of life. Examples are found in Somerset, as well as in many other areas of Western New York. Wind energy facilities are not exempt from these findings.”

We will not sacrifice our homes, farms, and natural environment for a few pieces of silver. We have seen repeated lawsuits occurring in other wind turbine facilities because of negative impacts such as noise, that drive people out of their homes.

We are thankful that the Somerset Town Board is striving to preserve the valuable Lake Ontario natural migratory flyways, environment, along with protection of our property values. Once destroyed by slipshod placement of an industrial wind turbine facility, any attempt to rectify the situation then is impossible. Forever too little, too late.

The biggest insult is that the out-of-state Apex LLC tried to intimidate the Somerset Town Board with a veiled suggestion of a lawsuit. Despite the questionable ethics of Apex’s history of mechanics liens on unsuspecting farmers, their attempt to craft the local law by intimidation Monday night went beyond the pale when they suggested that this revamped town zoning law would not hold up in court.

Thank you, Somerset Town Board for your patience and loyalty to your citizenry.

I have lived through a carelessly sited wind project in Wyoming County. The result of living in too close proximity to 450-foot turbines resulted in destruction of the rural character, quality of life, and many other negative impacts mentioned in the findings of the Somerset amended local law. You cannot mitigate the damage done to relationships between family members, as well as the damage done permanently between lifelong friends and neighbors, dividing the town forever.

Therefore I agree with Somerset’s due diligence in the amending of the local law and agree with this statement when they say, “Local communities have, through site plan approval, regulation, and careful planning, been primary protectors of their citizenry.”

Cathi Orr