Lighthouse Wind only offers watered-down economic benefits
Some believe Apex Project Lighthouse Wind will bring huge economic benefits to our area. “Lighthouse Wind will prevent our area from becoming a Ghost Town.” “Research the benefits,” they say.
What are the benefits? Research reveals that there are few facts and little information from Apex “Clean Energy” on the claimed economic benefits of Project Lighthouse Wind. We are told of a planned PILOT – A Payment In Lieu of Taxes that would generate 1.6 million dollars in revenue.
A PILOT is purely and simply a tax break. No mention that this figure would be divided among six taxing jurisdictions, thus watering down its possible effect. Further the fact that a PILOT is in the Apex plan at all indicates that Apex intends to pay as little as possible to our local communities and is intent on obtaining every conceivable tax break. Many vague promises are made. Nothing specific is given. A great deception is taking place.
The collateral damage to our community from project Lighthouse Wind, and the associated government policies that support it, will be severe and include not only a myriad of environmental issues but economic issues as well. It is the intention of our Governor to close all coal-burning power plants by the year 2020 and substitute renewable energy sources. This will include the closing of Somerset Station. Why? Because it uses as fuel, that evil substance and 11 letter word – HYDROCARBON.
A conversion of this plant to natural gas, a clean burning fuel, makes both economic and environmental sense. The loss of jobs, payroll and tax revenue as the result of a Somerset Station shutdown will be extremely devastating to our community. Even after going through bankruptcy and a transfer of ownership, Somerset Station will in calendar year 2017, pay 4.6 million in local taxes, employ 99 people and have an annual payroll in excess of 11 million dollars. These are facts, not vague blue sky speculation!
Why should we tolerate the demise of one of the areas largest taxpayers? There is nothing in project Lighthouse Wind that will come close to replacing this economic engine.
Further, current economic damage thrust upon our community by Project Lighthouse Wind is not difficult to find. Recently Apex, in a move showing contempt for the majority of our citizens and our public officials, has brought suit against the Somerset Planning Board relative to the siting of two meteorological towers. These towers would obtain wind information for Project Lighthouse Wind, a project our community has soundly rejected. Clearly a defense must be made and that will take precious Town funds and much human capital that would otherwise be directed at improving the quality of life in our community. Apex has demonstrated they will stop at nothing to impose their will on us.
Lighthouse Wind will drain our pocket books, raise our electric rates and bring on environmental disasters that will leave our grandchildren with nothing but debt and devastation. The power it will produce is neither necessary nor clean.
Project Lighthouse Wind should be immediately terminated!
James C. Hoffman
Town of Somerset