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Turbines in Yates and Somerset would be environmental injustice

Posted 12 February 2018 at 10:49 pm

Editor:

One issue we should also consider when looking at the possible emplacement of up to 70 industrial wind turbines on the rural communities of Yates and Somerset is that of environmental justice.

“The concept behind the term ‘environmental justice’ is that all people – regardless of their race, color, nation or origin or income – are able to enjoy equally high levels of environmental protection. Environmental justice communities are commonly identified as those where residents are predominantly minorities or low-income; where residents have been excluded from the environmental policy setting or decision-making process; where they are subject to a disproportionate impact from one or more environmental hazards; and where residents experience disparate implementation of environmental regulations, requirements, practices and activities in their communities. Environmental justice efforts attempt to address the inequities of environmental protection in these communities.” – (http://www.energy.ca.gov/public_adviser/environmental_justice_faq.html )

Other definitions include the equitable distribution of environmental risks and benefits; fair and meaningful participation in environmental decision-making; recognition of community ways of life, local knowledge, and cultural difference; and the capability of communities and individuals to function and flourish in society. – (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_justice)

This project would certainly not meet the goals of environmental justice! Certainly, we as residents have already been far too excluded from the decision-making process. If this project were to be realized, we would be subject to a disproportionate impact from the well-documented environmental hazards and it certainly would not create a fair and equitable distribution of environmental risks. In addition, our beautiful rural community and way of life need to be recognized.

It is especially galling as the power is not even needed; Niagara Falls is not operating anywhere near capacity and we actually have an excess of renewable energy in our area. Sacrificing our communities despite this fact is the absolute definition of environmental INJUSTICE.

The overwhelming majority of local residents have clearly demonstrated that we do not want our communities industrialized via two election cycles, five surveys and countless letters of opposition. This ill-conceived and poorly sited project should not proceed.

Donn  Riggi

Yates

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