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Resisting turbines is a missed economic opportunity for an area that needs a boost

Posted 2 January 2019 at 8:02 am

Editor:

I will address some of Mr. Kent’s questions, having grown up in towns that bore the impacts of the Somerset power plant, but received none of the economic benefit. I only found out recently it was slated to be a nuclear plant, and in hindsight maybe that would have been better built then, than what we received instead.

In Newfane, for my childhood, we received a rumbling, noisy train… and no one complained incessantly about property values decimated or “infrasound” causing every manner of ailment imaginable. Behind my house was a creek so polluted from Lockport’s industrial “revolution” we couldn’t even swim in it. Down the road a chemical plant that regularly exploded, a saw mill that’s no longer there, and a harbor with a luxury hotel that ceased to exist long ago.

During my teenage years, I lived on 150 acres of naturally recovered farmland with woodlots dominating the center of the “block” in Hartland. During those years, Dutch Elm disease went through decimating the elm tree populations. No one told us what we could or couldn’t do with our trees, and no one complained when woodlots were turned into farmland or home sites either. Now our area, the entire Midwest through New England is seeing all the ash trees devastated by the Emerald Ash Borer, a beetle, that spreads faster as our winter’s warm.  Hundreds of millions of trees will die, without public outrage.

Recent fires in California were intensified by climate change aggravated droughts, beetles that thrive on weakened trees, and enormous fuel loads that resulted. We’re lucky in our area, due to regular moisture, incidental contact of trees with power lines (which is the norm driving around here) does not ignite fires, burn thousands of acres and kill people, albeit recent snowstorms did a number taking down dead elms and some residents’ power for over a week.

This region is in economic decline, honestly it has been for decades. I don’t know about Albion, but in Lockport the downtown has been in economic decline for decades (only recently we’ve seen some businesses take hold with focus on restoring the historic Erie Canal Locks area), while one discount store after another cleared woodlot after woodlot for ever bigger retail space, leaving empty buildings in their wake. I have seen nothing to indicate woodlots would be decimated by wind turbines.  Surely, nothing more than what has been accepted for decades without outrage or concern.

I reference Ms. Nacca, having watched some of the presentations she organized in Albion offering “alternatives” to wind turbines such as telling the audience nuclear fusion power is “just around the corner”. No it is not. It is 20 years out, just like it has always been since the promise of fusion power was first brought to us before I was born. Then, the same presenter claims he knows people whom have been killed by wind turbines. Prove it, would have been my response, at a clearly premeditated attempt to scare the audience with “little green men”.

For my mention of Ms. Nacca, she threatens legal action against me in her submission to the NYS DPS website? Are you kidding me?!

So what answer would satisfy you about setbacks (that have no data-derived merit to their determination), woodlots, street layouts or Warblers? I suspect there are none. Simply put, yourself, members of Save Ontario Shores, vocal town board members, etc., don’t want any economic development in these towns and unfortunately for other residents and our youth, their opposition to any and all projects in the area are dooming this area to continued economic decline.

There are lots of claims made, as to the importance of maintaining the “charm of rural life” for potential economic value in tourism. Gotta be honest, there’s a fine line between “maintaining” and “just letting things go”… tourists are not going to come to see the latter, and those that came to enjoy Golden Hill State Park all these years, didn’t turn around once the Somerset Power Plant’s smoke stack came into view, now did they? Claims that wind turbines in Somerset, Yates or Barre would drive tourists away are equally hollow.

It’s been over 25 years since I used to wait for the school bus along Route 104, watching “acceptable” economic development for the county pass by me one after another. Does Rochester still export its garbage to Niagara County, one tractor trailer after another? I don’t know. If they don’t anymore, maybe they should start again… need to bring money in one way, given all others are off the table.

As I wrote before, I have no interest in this area other than bringing to the attention of the readers the impasse and opportunity we have to bring energy projects to the area and benefit economically.

Respectively,

Hans Hyde

Lockport