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Group says giant wind turbines don’t fit with rural Yates, Somerset

Posted 20 February 2015 at 12:00 am

Editor:

We have formed a non-profit, citizens’ coalition, Save Ontario Shores Inc., to address the concerns of the health, safety and welfare of the Town of Yates and Town of Somerset taxpayers and residents regarding the issue of permitting APEX industrial wind corporation to build as many as 70 industrial wind turbines in these rural towns.

Concerns include sound and low sound frequency emitting from the turbines 24 hours a day, changes to the rural nature of the area with the addition of industrial turbines, potential health risks for those nearby, and the negative effects on wildlife, local businesses, and those who spend the majority of their time outside, including farm stand owners, farmers, and lake shore residents.

We are also very concerned about the negative effects on tourism – the Southern Shore of Lake Ontario is home to the Niagara Wine Trail and the New York Seaway Trail is a National Scenic Byway. It is a major destination for sportsmen, camping and nature lovers.

At heights of close to 600 feet, these would be the tallest wind turbines in New York State. They would exceed the height of the tallest buildings in Western New York, cities like Buffalo and Rochester, and would be visible for 15-plus miles.

APEX has been in conversation with selected landowners for over a year. However, the larger town populations have only recently become aware of this plan to bring industrial-sized wind turbines to Orleans and Niagara counties. We believe that citizen questions, concerns, insight and research are essential to a thorough and honest decision as to whether the turbines should be permitted.

APEX is an out-of-state corporation that has the potential to gain enormous profits from the placement of industrial turbines in Niagara and Orleans counties. It is not affected by changes in the quality of life or health of local citizens, or the effect on local businesses once binding contracts have been signed.

Landowners who agree to lease their land stand to benefit financially and, in addition, towns will be offered financial incentives to move forward with the development. However, ongoing payments will likely not be guaranteed and potential gains are certain to be offset by the loss of substantial rights by individual landowners, the loss of tax revenue caused by a decrease in the value of properties including lake properties, and the possible loss of revenue for local businesses as people avoid this industrial zone.

Residents in the area of these proposed industrial turbines share the land with wildlife including a large population of native and migrating birds and raptors. The South Shore of Lake Ontario is an important raptor migration corridor, has nesting bald eagles and provides habitat for migrating waterfowl and passerines.

We are concerned that these industrial turbines will be so tall and numerous as to cause irreparable harm to the birds, raptors and bats that are an essential part of the area’s ecology and so much a part of the natural beauty of Yates and Somerset.

We are concerned about the wellbeing of all the residents, including the wildlife. We want to ensure that landowners are protected and that our towns clearly understand the health risks, lifestyle changes, and transformation of the character and ecology of the entire area prior to making decisions and signing contracts. Information that is gathered without influence from APEX, and open information about who will profit, will be essential to the integrity of the decision.

APEX will provide the argument and evidence in favor of the turbines. Our organization, along with our website (click here), will provide a thorough presentation of arguments against the turbines, inform people of important dates and provide a forum for discussion. Our task is to provide balance, openness and clarity.

We are confident that when you have researched the size of the project and negative consequences mentioned above, you will agree with us that this industrial wind project should not be sited in this location. Please support us in our opposition to this project.

Sincerely,

John Riggi, President
Roger Barth, Director
Save Ontario Shores, Inc.