Library filed under Impact on People from New York
It’s time for Apex to acknowledge its mistake: It chose an area that is too populated, an area rich in wildlife, natural scenic beauty and tourism; a place too close to the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station; and a place in the middle of one of the largest migratory bird flyways in North America. It is time they listened to five different surveys, two town elections and the resolutions passed by three counties and two town boards. ...It is time to leave.
"Thanks for the assistance." Yes, that's the message Taylor Quarles, Apex Clean Energy's project manager, sent to the Millwright's Local 1163 the day after Somerset had its public hearing on its new wind law. Quarles was thanking the union for sending 40 to 50 union men to occupy seats, so many seats that Somerset Town Supervisor Dan Engert had to ask everyone in attendance at our small town hall to get back into their cars and drive over to the Barker school cafeteria, to reconvene the meeting, so that everyone could have a seat. These guys marched into our meeting with new hats from Apex -- embroidered with orange wind turbines -- and "Fear Not the Wind" stickers on their jackets. Quarles' letter of thanks of Feb. 2, the day after the hearing, to Brian Scruton, Millwrights Council Rep, stated that he was "personally grateful" for "our strongest showing ever for a public event." Quarles added "those who are opposed to progress in this area" (that's apparently anyone who opposes Apex's 620-foot industrial wind turbines here) "will stop at nothing in their attempt to keep renewable energy projects from coming to upstate New York. You heard the mis-information and the attacks on working people and the farmers of our area. Your ongoing support will be important as we move forward." Wait. People who oppose this project will "stop at nothing?" Now there's an accusation. We are not The Mob. We're just residents who don't want our raptors chopped, our lands blighted, and our residents' health possibly affected by hulking towers amid our homes. Yes, our voices are strong, but hey, when you work hard for what you have, and suddenly some Virginia company comes around and tells you what's going to go down in your neighborhood, you will speak out strongly. Quarles' letter also implies that if Somerset residents don't want wind turbines here that we are attacking "working people and farmers." We also work. We also appreciate the hard work of those who farm in Somerset. Now the Town of Yates has scheduled its own public hearing April 21 on its own newly revised wind law. Two surveys in that town revealed that Yates residents are also strongly opposed to Apex. The letter mentions"continued ongoing support". Is this a hint that Yates will see these and more union guys at this next hearing? Anyway, the Yates Town Supervisor is prepared, since he has scheduled the public hearing at the Lyndonville school auditorium. This way there will be enough seats, both for residents of Somerset and Yates, and for any out-of-town Apex "guests". Apex is trying hard to create the illusion of public opinion beginning to turn in their favor. There is good news in all of this: On March 28, former NYS Attorney General Dennis Vacco, presently the attorney for the Town of Somerset, has requested Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to begin a formal investigation of Apex Clean Energy for their deceptive business practices. There are more Apex hijinx. Anyone who wants interesting reading can view more of the accusations as well as the Exhibits -- like Quarles' letter -- on the NYS Public Service Commission's website, Case 14-F-0485. It remains to be seen whether Apex will clean up its act and follow NY State's Code of Ethics for wind companies, or continue business as usual, just skipping the telltale thank you notes. -- Christine Bronson is a Barker resident
I am tired of hearing from leaseholders that they should be able to do what they want with their land. I can’t put a small one story shed within 15 ft. of the property line with my neighbor but they should be able to put a 600 ft. industrial structure across the road from me? What is right or fair about that? These turbines will be lit, noisy, and create shadow flicker and infrasound; even Apex acknowledges some of the negative consequences, although they try to minimize them by calling them “annoyances”.
However, residents of Enfield, where the wind farm is planned, objected, saying they have health and safety concerns that have not been addressed. Mimi Mehaffey, of Bostwick Road, said she lives in an earth-berm passive solar house. “Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder what more I could be doing to avert the doom of climate change,” she said. “[But] the health and safety issues with the wind farm are real. Slow down this process, and site the turbines correctly. Please allow the Enfield Town Board to work without interference.”
The original language resolved, "That the Tompkins County Legislature supports the development of the Black Oak Wind Farm Project without further delay." The "without further delay" was changed to "in a timely manner," to reaffirm that project was Enfield's decision and that the legislature was not trying to push the project forward without allowing the town time to do its due diligence.
Over 180 residents of Enfield have signed a petition asking the town to amend its laws regarding wind turbine noise levels, and to delay the project until these issues are addressed. “The residents who live where this project is being built are asking the Town of Enfield to pause long enough to review the law that was passed seven years ago.
If health impacts are reported by individuals after a project is in place, the burden shouldn’t be on a resident to prove that the project is the cause but rather, it should be the other way around. A developer should be required to conduct a health study and prove to the community in advance that there are no health impacts.
After hearing from Apex Clean Energy staff and consultants about why their project is completely safe, the Niagara County Board of Health voted Thursday to ask Albany for a full environmental review of the giant wind power plan. Apex, of Charlottesville, Va., wants to erect up to 70 wind turbines in Somerset and the neighboring Orleans County Town of Yates, under the corporate name of Lighthouse Wind LLC.
Opponents of the proposed wind power project in Somerset and Yates had their say, and then some, last week before the Niagara County Board of Health. ...the Town of Somerset, which is officially opposed to the project proposed by Apex under the name Lighthouse Wind LLC held a rally in Golden Hill State Park on Friday
Noise is the common denominator in every single study and complaint about being near an industrial wind turbine, Hellert added. However, the wind industry continues to advise town boards that they do not need to worry about that component yet, and that they don't need to look at the negative potential impacts of sound until after the application is submitted, she said.
The eight to 10 towers planned for the town of Bellmont will be in excess of 500 feet tall, Bellmont Supervisor H. Bruce Russell said Monday, although New York state law limits such structures to 400 feet. Representatives of EDP Renewables, the company that has taken over the Jericho Rise proposal, have said they plan to seek a variance from state law in order to build the taller towers.
Health concerns and aesthetics were among the concerns raised Tuesday at a public hearing on the town of Burke’s plans to craft a local law governing the placement of wind turbines in the town.
The Somerset Town Board recently sent a survey to residents regarding whether or not Apex, a multi-billion-dollar, out-of-state limited liability corporation, should be allowed to build a sprawling, 570-foot-tall industrial wind factory amongst the homes of those living in Somerset and Yates.
Two hours after opening, the fire hall was still full of upset residents visualizing the wrecking of their hometown. Wind turbines seemed an unlikely candidate to join the “not in my backyard” family of unwanteds such as hazardous waste landfills and nuclear power, yet the environmental group SOS had attacked wind power from many angles. The crowd, who knew each other by name, seemed to have reached an opinion before arriving and their skepticism was only strengthened by the end of the meeting.
Save Ontario Shores President John Riggi and Great Lakes Wind Truth Founding Member Suzanne Albright said uncertainty about health, environmental and economic impacts will remain until the project is either in the ground or buried. “You will hear (from Apex) how there aren’t any impacts, and we’ll talk about how there are,” Riggi said. “The challenge is whether you really want to take that risk with your health, your property values, and your children’s health?”
This piece appeared in the Buffalo News.
We have formed a nonprofit citizens’ coalition, Save Ontario Shores Inc., to address the concerns of the health, safety and welfare of taxpayers and residents in the towns of Yates and Somerset regarding the issue of permitting APEX industrial wind corporation to build as many as 70 industrial wind turbines in these rural towns.
“If this project goes forward, all that will be accomplished is us giving millions of tax dollars to a multi-million dollar company to screw up our town ... A project of this scope and magnitude has no place in Yates, or anywhere else for that matter. What we need is sound, systematic commercial and residential growth, not wind farms.”
This sudden political wind shift has its roots in local citizen opposition based on concerns about noise, visual blight and environmental issues. It also springs from fears the state could usurp town authority ...But at the bottom of it all is a sense of unease over any project that seems, well, just way too big, too complicated or too difficult to control.
The following statement was posted in the comments section of an article discussing the recent lawsuit filed by Orangeville residents in response to the Invenergy wind energy facility placed into service earlier this year.