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Save Ontario Shores commends officials for opposing wind energy project

Posted 1 January 2016 at 12:00 am

Editor:

Mr. Wes Bradley of the Yates Town Board was quoted in the Orleans Hub article dated Dec. 28, 2015 as being disappointed with elected officials and the Orleans County Legislature for questioning or opposing the proposed industrial wind turbines in Yates and Somerset.

In response, on behalf of the citizens group, Save Ontario Shores (SOS), I would like to express our gratitude for the wise and timely actions of these same officials.

Senator Rob Ortt and the Orleans County Legislature have listened and responded to the will of the people of the town as expressed by the voting out of the current Yates town supervisor by write-in ballot, the SOS survey, and the presence of hundreds of people at SOS public meetings. Additionally, Congressman Chris Collins has addressed proper concern for potential impact of the wind project on the future of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, one of the largest employers in Niagara County.

The Yates Town Board has not responded to the will of the people and so they have lost credibility with regional leaders. SOS is grateful to the legislators and other elected officials who have listened to the majority of their constituents, done their own research and have spoken.

The Yates Town Board end-of-the-year meeting on Dec. 28, occurred two and a half weeks after the survey ballots were to be postmarked. The results could have been announced earlier. Instead, the Yates Town board chose to hold onto the results until three days before the end of the year – pushing up against the initial Jan. 6 deadline on comments to the APEX preliminary scoping statement (Note that this date has been moved to Jan. 12).

The Yates Town Board has dragged its feet, stonewalled citizens’ inquiries, and has done as little as possible regarding this project. They have admitted to not reading the materials provided them by citizens. Then at this end of the year meeting, with a new supervisor and council member about to take office, they fire off four resolutions.

Criticism by the Yates Town Board about anyone else’s actions is disingenuous, given their delay and lack of action. This is as egregious as the comments by APEX mailed out Dec. 28, that twist the 66 percent opposition to the Lighthouse Wind Project into something positive for APEX.

SOS hopes to work with the Yates Town Board in the future. We call upon them to respond to the overwhelming number of issues and concerns raised by citizens and the information and research citizens have presented by formally opposing this project in the first week of the new year.

Citizens of Yates and Somerset have spent the entirety of 2015 reading, researching, meeting with elected officials and spending their own money to fund these efforts. Members have traveled and spoken with people in other communities who have fought against similar projects and those who are currently living with industrial wind turbines in close proximity to their homes.

Our concerns are based on the knowledge that we have gained along with the experience of our own communities. We are proud of the grassroots energy and efforts in our towns that have drawn us together, even as the Lighthouse Wind project is splitting the community. It has been a difficult, exhausting year, but we are energized, and united.

In 2016, SOS, through the work, sacrifices and generosity of its members, together with the efforts of local elected officials, will succeed in protecting the health, environment, wildlife, economy and the quality of life in our communities from this poorly sited industrial wind project.

Kate Kremer
Vice President, and Director of Save Ontario Shores, Inc.