Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today introduced legislation that would curb the installation of wind turbines in close proximity to military installations, such as the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station (NFARS) in Niagara Falls, New York.
Recently, Apex Clean Energy has proposed a plan to build 70 propeller turbines amid farms and towns throughout Niagara County. The impact that this plan may have on the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station has raised significant concerns from local residents and lawmakers.
“I cannot condone any activity which puts the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station’s (NFARS) future operations and viability at risk,” said Congressman Collins. “This air base employs over 2,600 people and contributes over $200 million a year to Western New York’s economy. Massive wind turbines built in such close proximity to military installations, such as the ones being proposed in Western New York, can negatively impact a base’s potential new missions and its future operations. I will do everything in my power to ensure the viability of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.”
Congressman Collins introduced the “Protection of Military Airfields from Wind Turbine Encroachment Act” in an effort to ensure that any new wind turbines located within a 40-mile radius of a military installation will be deemed ineligible for renewable energy tax credits. Full text of the legislation can be read here. A companion bill was introduced in the United States Senate by Senator John Cornyn, R-TX.
“Our military installations are crucial to the security of our nation,” continued Congressman Collins. “This legislation ensures that military installations like the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station can fully operate without potential interference from wind turbines, some of which can be as tall as 600 feet.”
“The Department of Defense has been increasingly engaged to express either reservations or objections to potential wind projects across the country, on the basis of military readiness issues and conflicts with military radar systems,” said Dan Engert, Somerset Town Supervisor. “The Lighthouse Wind project in Somerset is very poorly sited for a number of reasons, and I do not think it's in our government's best interest to expand wind energy at the expense of military readiness. I am very grateful that Congressman Collins and Senator Cornyn recognize this impact and have introduced legislation in both chambers that will force corporate wind developers to site projects far and away from military installations, like the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.”
“I fully support Congressman Collins' proposed legislation to protect military installations from encroachment from industrial wind turbine projects,” said James Simon, Yates Town Supervisor. “The Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station has a positive economic impact on the Town of Yates. We are fortunate that the skies above the Town of Yates not only have unrestricted airspace for low flying military aircraft and drones, but also provide unimpeded radar coverage for national defense.”
“We are grateful to Congressman Collins for taking the initiative to propose legislation that will work to protect the future of our air base and the thousands of families and workers who rely on its continued operation,” said Pamela Atwater, President of Save Ontario Shores. “Save Ontario Shores pledges its full support to this proposed legislation and we look forward to its enactment.” Save Ontario Shores is a local group that was formed to address the concerns relating to the health, safety and welfare of Town of Yates and Town of Somerset taxpayers and residents, in regards to the Lighthouse Wind project being proposed by Apex Clean Energy.”
Congressman Collins has previously taken steps to address this issue. In December 2015, Congressman Collins authored a letter to the Department of Defense and Federal Aviation Administration officials expressing concern about a proposed wind turbine project along the Lake Ontario Shoreline. Full text of the letter can be read here.