It is January 2017, the beginning of the third year that my community of Somerset has been in turmoil since Apex Clean Energy made its presence known to town government with its intentions to erect the highest-on-land industrial wind towers.
Save Ontario Shores, of which I am a supporter, began its grassroots efforts three years ago. In that time this group has run educational talks about industrial wind, brought in birding experts to discuss the avian life in our area, shown documentary films to community members, held a rally attended by hundreds to tell Apex to "Go Home!," attended town and county legislative meetings, addressed several counties' boards of health, advertised its opposition in public places and held press conferences attended by many local, county and state representatives and even U.S. Rep. Chris Collins. SOS has a website frequented daily by many who want to read about the problems of wind energy, and its Facebook page keeps over 2,800 followers up to date.
SOS has been instrumental in educating people, one by one, to exactly what is happening here in Somerset and Yates. SOS and its supporters will continue to pressure New York State legislators to amend or rescind Article 10, which has eliminated Home Rule in this regard. Indeed, Somerset Supervisor Dan Engert’s initiative to educate towns around the state is gathering momentum. Impending federal legislation by Collins may well sink Apex's plan for industrial wind turbines posing an encroachment to the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.
The power of a grassroots organization cannot be underestimated. SOS is growing in numbers and is receiving more attention from local and, now, national media outlets. SOS will be redoubling its efforts on all fronts in 2017.
The reason for this success is clear. Worldwide, more people are being affected by industrial wind turbines, and the impacts are unhealthy, expensive, environmentally destructive and unnecessary. Wind companies can no longer be dismissive and cavalier about millions of people protesting worldwide. There is a common denominator, and no matter how much lobbying the wind industry does, it is becoming clear to more people every day that wind energy comes at a significant cost to human health, and at the expense of the well-being of many animal species, either by harming or killing, or by habitat fragmentation or destruction. Wind energy is expensive and those expenses are borne by the very residents that pay taxes that support the lavish incentives given by governments who want to ignore the facts. It destroys rural lands as mega-ton machinery compacts soils and ruins roads. It disrupts the community physically and also creates friction among people who used to live peacefully. Noise, infrasound, shadow-flicker, air pressure fluctuations, and a host of other issues are all too real, not things that can be mitigated or ameliorated once these industrial wind turbines are erected.
Courts will soon be taking up the burden of lawsuits, as citizen litigation against wind companies is becoming the norm worldwide. Wind power makes no sense because even the transmission lines required to bring wind power to the places where it will be used are nonexistent. The storage facilities for the power have not been invented yet. Fossil fuel backup is still required. Wind energy harms communities.
Anyone can go to the New York Department of Public Service website [ http://documents.dps.ny.gov/public/MatterManagement/CaseMaster.aspx?MatterCaseNo=14-F-0485&submit=Search+by+Case+Number ] to read the 890 letters and scores of public documents to witness the public outrage. To date over 25 environmental and civic groups have weighed in on the site to condemn the project. As residents we want nothing more than to be allowed to eject this company, and to reject its ideas of industrial wind turbines (yesterday's technology) that are artificially propped up by tax dollars. Eighty-three percent of letters to DPS now call for stopping Lighthouse Wind.