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Towering turbines would encroach on life in Orleans

Posted 21 December 2016 at 8:43 am

Editor:

I read, with great interest, the Hub Article posted December 20, 2016 titled: “Orleans Expected to Press Congressional Action to Ban Turbines within 40 Miles of NF Air Base.”

It is extremely important to clear up some misinformation being communicated on the part of APEX.

1. APEX has indicated their desire to place 70 turbines in Yates and Somerset that will be at the height of 600 feet. Actually, APEX has clearly stated that they expect to use the tallest turbines in existence at the time of the Application to the New York Department of Public Service Siting Board.  Currently, the tallest turbines in existence are manufactured by General Electric and are 700 feet in height.  These turbines, in fact, could be even taller than 700 feet, if at the time of application, larger turbines come into existence.

So let’s all be clear.

APEX is planning on erecting 70 Industrial Wind Turbines in the Towns of Yates and Somerset.  Each of these 70 Industrial Wind Turbines will be at a minimum height of 700 feet.

700 feet is roughly equivalent to the height of a 70 story building.  Will the project encroach on the people, wildlife, environment and quality of life in Orleans County?  YOU BET IT WILL!!

2. Speaking of encroachment, the article also reported on APEX’s work on ensuring that any issue regarding their project and encroachment on the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station (NFARS). Very interesting indeed.  APEX again quotes the following:

“Apex Clean Energy said the turbines would be more than 25 miles from the Air Reserve Station. Their proximity is a “non-issue,” the company said.

“Apex Clean Energy takes the safety and readiness of our military very seriously, and we work closely with the Department of Defense and its services to ensure our wind energy facilities do not adversely impact military missions,” Cat Strumlauf, Public Affairs Associate for Apex Clean Energy, said on Nov. 29 after Collins issued his news release.

Apex has been consulting with the Department of Defense and Niagara Falls Air Force Reserve Station regularly “to ensure that any concerns regarding the base’s operations are resolved before the project is built,” Strumlauf said.

My concern is that APEX, in quote after quote to the media, continues to indicate that they are working with NFARS base personnel and the Department of Defense to ensure resolution of concerns surrounding Industrial Wind Turbine encroachment on the base due to the Lighthouse Wind Project.  What APEX is not saying is that neither NFARS base personnel nor Department of Defense have any input on the decision to close NFARS.

Only the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) has the decision.

BRAC’s independence is critical to the realignment and closure process, as it ensures BRAC’s complete objectivity when assessing questions on the future of any military base.

APEX needs to come clean on this misdirection, as they are required by the Code of Conduct, and clearly state that they have no impact on the decision to close NFARS.

It is safe to assume that the very specter of APEX’s Lighthouse Wind Project does not strengthen probabilities for ongoing operations at NFARS via the BRAC assessment process.  This should be enough for all Western New Yorkers to join US Representative Collins, Legislatures of Erie, Niagara and Orleans Counties as well as the Western New York State Legislators’ delegation to oppose the APEX’s Lighthouse Wind Project.

John B. Riggi

Councilman, Town of Yates