Resident is skeptical of claims turbines would have no impact on Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station

Posted 31 May 2016 at 12:00 am


Please allow me to respond to today’s article regarding Apex and their upcoming proposal for wind turbines, and in particular to their claim that the military has no issue with their project.

I find fault with multiple points they’ve made, and I hope you’ll allow me to respond point by point by quoting the original article and then responding to that section:

Article Excerpt:
“Apex Clean Energy, developer for the project, [said] the proposed project would not harm the base’s mission or the future for other military training plans. “H. David Belote, a retired Air Force colonel, now works as a consultant for Apex. He met last week with local officials, Save Ontario Shores members, landowners and supporters of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. Belote showed them a March 16 letter from the Department of Defense, stating the DoD doesn’t see a negative impact on the base from Lighthouse Wind.”

My response:
We’re talking about a letter that was written to a consultant.a consultant who likely has friends at the DoD, seeing as he’s a retired officer of the Air Force. Not a letter, mind you, written to the community or to the local government. Big difference. The letterhead is real; however, that does not make it official in terms of how the community ought proceed.

Article Excerpt:
” ‘The project is unlikely to impact military testing and/or training operations in the area,’ Steven J. Sample, chief of the Military Evaluation Branch for the Department of Defense, wrote to Taylor Quarles, development manager for Apex.”

My response: Ladies and gentlemen, this is almost certainly what we English Teachers call a logical fallacy called “cherry picking” which means only saying the part that’s useful, instead of providing the whole scope of the quotation’s intent. Testing and traininghmm, okay. But what was the whole quote? What if it were, “We don’t know yet if the Base will be affected, seeing as we don’t have any firm numbers as to actual height, but we can say that the project is unlikely to impact military testing and/or training operations in the area. And hey presto! Great Quote!

Article Excerpt:
“The DoD did an informal review of the project, and is awaiting locations and heights of the turbines. The DoD, as well as the Federal Aviation Agency, will take a more thorough review of the project once the final application is submitted, which is expected this summer.”

My response: Yes, we’re all of us waiting. My guess? They’ll submit at the last possible minute so as to give people the least amount of time possible to research the application’s efficacy. (Best bet? Fourth of July weekend. Less people reading the paper! Perfect!)

Article Excerpt:
“Belote said the far western end of the turbines are about 25 miles from the base. “It’s not an impact,” he said in a phone interview.”

My response: Wait, who’s Belote? Oh, right. The consultant (fancy talk for person who gets lots of money to tell their employer what they want to hear and to encourage Congress to do the same; sometimes they even help write the legislation! Hooray for money! (I wish I were kidding. I am not.)

Article Excerpt:
The turbines won’t affect drone operations when those begin at the base, Belote said, and he doesn’t expect there will be issues with radar from the turbines, which could peak at more than 600 feet to the top of the spinning blades.

My response:
English time again. Let’s inspect that sentence more carefully: “when those begin at the base” Got it. Drones can launch just fine When They Begin at the Base. In Niagara Falls. Nothing on how they’ll do once they drift on over to Somerset.

Article Excerpt:
The radar issue will be reviewed by the North American Aerospace Defense Command, but that organization needs to know final locations and heights. Belote said he expects that review will be this summer or fall.

My response:
In other words, Belote is not the person in charge of giving us the answer, nor is his firm (of, ahem, consultants) responsible to even provide an answer yet. Seeing as they don’t know final locations and heights and such.

Article Excerpt:
“Belote served as the first director of the Pentagon office that approves or rejects wind and solar projects around military bases. He said in his current role as a consultant that he wouldn’t advocate for a turbine project if it would hurt a military operation.”

My response:
Hmm, wonder what would happen if I google Mr. Belote? Why look at that: A website for Virginia Democrat Dave Belote, retired Air Force Colonel, looking for donations to support his run for Congress. And there’s more: Quote from the website: “After retiring from the military, Dave wrote energy policy for the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, then was vice president of a Virginia-based wind and solar developer.
Now, Dave assists businesses with energy projects that relate to national security
and the military.” (Want to see for yourself?

My response:
I Wonder If It’s The Same Guy? I’m thinkingthe odds are in his favor!

I will admit I put that one sentence in bolder type. I thought it was relevant. And distressing. I feel like he used his military credentials to convince and to build his credibility, but I have to say, it had quite the opposite effect, on me at least. He is a man who, once he retired from the military, made money on wind turbines, and who now works for the same kind of folks at Apex.

Read between the lines, neighbors, and you’ll find the same things I do: People from other places trying to wreck what we have here and using any means necessary, including deceit. Also, I’ve got to say: While I might have some sympathy for a real homeowner who lives lake side and might even need to make a little money, I’ve got a lot less sympathy for some politician from Virginia who’s got no real stake in this. It’s not his home. And if we lose this battle? What does he care? He just got another Wind Energy Paycheck, desecrated countryside or not.

We need to keep on keeping on, neighbors. It’s ours. Lake Ontario and all her gorgeous shores. Oak Orchard River. The Wildlife Refuge. They are ours, and some of Western New York’s greatest and most valuable assets. I’d like my children’s children and theirs to know the same wonders that I do.


Karen L. Jones