LOCKPORT – Niagara County is now officially opposed to a Great Lakes Offshore Wind energy project involving Lake Ontario.
The lake between Youngstown and Wilson is one of multiple sites suggested by New York Power Authority in an outstanding Request for Proposals to develop a GLOW electric generation facility in Lake Ontario or Lake Erie.
The resolution opposing local siting was put forth by legislators Clyde Burmaster, R-Ransomville, David Godfrey, R-Wilson, and John Syracuse, R-Newfane. Burmaster and Godfrey led a local committee that explored the possible impacts of offshore turbines on the local economy and environment last fall.
Research and opinions of various local tourism/commercial interests led the committee to decide a GLOW project wouldn’t be good for the county. All but four of 316 e-mails sent by locals and tourists expressed opposition as well, Godfrey said.
Of greatest concern to the e-mailers: The effects of turbines on the horizon, especially anywhere near Fort Niagara, and the possibility their presence would cause areas of the lake to be off limits to boaters and fishermen.
Legislator Renae Kimble, D-Niagara Falls, a committee member, objected to Burmaster’s assertion the panel had researched the issue fully before recommending objection to GLOW. She turned over to Burmaster two boxes full of letters in support of GLOW, sent to the committee and never acknowledged by it.
“Thousands versus 316? There’s no comparison,” she said.
The support letters were more about embracing wind power generally than a Lake Ontario GLOW project, Burmaster told the media afterward.
She voted against the no-support resolution, joined by fellow Falls legislators Dennis Virtuoso and Jason Cafarella, Democrats, and Vincent Sandonato, a Republican.
“There could have been more transparency with the letters,” Sandonato said. “I hate to think 3,000 people wrote letters and didn’t get heard. There was no rush” to put the county on record opposing GLOW anyway.
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