Save Ontario Shores should use facts, not fearmongering in fight against turbines

Posted 13 June 2016 at 12:00 am


As a former military man myself, I want to begin by thanking Dave Belote for his service to our country. We recently paused to recognize our veterans and their sacrifices for our country on Memorial Day.

It was an honor to talk with Dave when he visited our area, to hear about his work and to better understand the vigorous and lengthy process that is in place to review renewable energy projects and potential impacts on military operations. It is important to point out that the current review but there will be a formal review submitted with the Lighthouse Wind Project application.

It was also very interesting and comforting to know that all four branches of the military are pursuing renewable energy projects, and the first priority is not related to reducing carbon emissions but to secure our country’s energy supply. Your readers may not know that the military highly respects Apex Clean Energy enough to do business with them and to sign the largest ever military wind and solar project with Apex Clean Energy at Fort Hood in Texas.

I would now like to address a letter from a former English teacher that I am not going to call by name because I don’t typically want to attack my neighbors personally, and I also have a huge respect for teachers. However, I do believe her letter is worth a response, and I wouldn’t call her a “military expert.” In fact, I was very comforted to know that there is an extensive process within DoD to ensure unhampered operations of their facilities by energy projects on a case by case basis. You can guess all you want, but bottom line, Article 10 requires the final review with Lighthouse Wind’s application.

First of all, Mr. Belote and Lighthouse Wind provided documents and letters from the Department of Defense stating “likely no impact to military operations,” not what was quoted in her LTE saying the military has “no issue.” A formal review is forthcoming, but Apex Clean Energy believed it was important to point out the work done so far to address concerns.

I give the company a lot of credit for reaching out to Save Ontario Shores, a group which organized a press conference In January in front of NFARS stating that the Lighthouse project will threaten an NFARS closure. Based on what? This heightened fearmongering was also spread to government officials, current and former base officials and the general public to raise a bias against Apex in the group’s ongoing efforts to prematurely derail the lighthouse Wind project.

This English teacher’s claim that a former military man/now consultant has “friends” at the DoD.  Yes, Dave Belote actually was commander of Nellis Air Force Base, the largest Air Force Base in the country, and he was also in charge of setting up the DoD Clearinghouse. To suggest partiality within the Department of Defense is blasphemous and bordering on libel. Having served myself, I find it utterly disrespectful to print this type of defamation of character of current or former military personnel.

In our English teacher’s assertion of “cherry picking” Lighthouse Wind provided copies of both letters received from the Department of Defense Clearinghouse. There is an ongoing and ugly campaign that this English teacher and others are using to stop this project before all studies are complete.

The oppositions’ relentless personal attacks of Apex Clean Energy employees and now a retired colonel, still working in a field he’s trying to move forward for national security reasons as well as the overall health of our planet is shocking and disgusting. Apex is taking the high road, releasing factual information as they are able while continuing to invite opposition to speak with them.

I am delighted to hear Bolote ran for public office in Virginia. I’d like to see more leaders like him running for office, rather than a currant national crop that are showing our children that it is OK to personally attack, name call and bully others with very unacceptable behavior.

I’d be proud to vote for someone who has shown true leadership for our country, a former F-16 pilot who earned two Bronze Stars during Operation Iraqi Freedom and was also recognized as a “Champion on Change” by the White House in 2013 through his work on Veterans Advancing Clean Energy and Climate Security.  Belote fully disclosed in meetings that he was the former VP of Federal Services for Apex, now working for Cassidy and Associates in DC.

And, if you and others are calling for full disclosure of any lobbying work, these were informational meetings. No action was requested by Belote or Lighthouse Wind. And, perhaps it is time for SOS to disclose their lobbying and marketing budget.


Howard Pierce