Rare election of write-in candidate showed Yates community’s opinion on turbines

Posted 17 November 2015 at 12:00 am


An election that brought an astounding number of Republican voters to the polls, and might have elected anyone appearing on the Republican line (even, in one case, a person most voters didn’t even know lived in their town), wasn’t “survey” enough for those who want to see industrial wind turbines in Orleans County.

A highly regarded town supervisor with years of experience – appearing on the Republican line – was defeated by a newcomer who wasn’t even on the ballot! (For write-in candidates to win anywhere is extremely rare.)

Jim Simon’s election in Yates wasn’t “survey” enough either. Perhaps if enough “surveys” are taken, the people who do not “get it” will obtain the mandate they seek. For such people, history has no relevance, no validity.

The sad experiences of others do not matter. So what if property values have plummeted in Cohocton? Who cares what Cathi Orr says? What does it matter that swaths of rural countryside must be destroyed to build the service roads needed to erect industrial behemoths three times the height of the Presbyterian Church steeple in Albion? Who cares what happens once they are de-commissioned?

Without doubt, renewable energy is an absolute no-brainer. The more we lessen dependence on fossil fuels, the better. Asthma is real. Air pollution is serious. The cost/benefit analysis matters.

Solar panels are likely appropriate regardless of the rural landscape, abundance of wildlife, terrific habitat, tourism and residential potential, and a major migratory bird “flyway.” I know of no one who objects to roof-mounted solar panels. NYSERDA recommends solar energy for Orleans County.

All of these things cannot be said of industrial wind turbines located in habitat-rich, agriculturally productive, rural environments.

Properly sited, gigantic turbines make sense.  But Orleans County would lose a great deal should we be forced to accept them. If our population density was 2 people per square mile, industrial turbines would have far fewer adverse impacts.

If Orleans County was a lifeless, windswept, unproductive – and visually barren – landscape, 590′ wind turbines would be less objectionable. Google: Roscoe, Texas, for a better idea of the type of barren landscape most appropriate for industrial wind turbines. Of course, they “work” in other places as well.

The people of Orleans County who think that what happens in the Town of Yates, to the Town of Yates, doesn’t matter to the rest of us, might want to reconsider. In addition to what happens in Yates, beware the proverbial “foot in the door.” Every little bit of asset degradation matters. Our environmental assets matter. Should S.O.S. prevail, we may all owe them a debt of gratitude.

Sincerely yours,

Gary Kent