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Lakeshore towns would be harmed by proposal for up to 70 industrial wind turbines

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.

Concerns include sound and low sound frequency emitting from the turbines 24 hours a day, changes to the rural nature of the area, potential health risks and the negative effects on wildlife, businesses and those who spend the majority of their time outside.

We are also very concerned about the negative effects on tourism. The southern shore of Lake Ontario is home to the Niagara Wine Trail, and the New York Seaway Trail is a National Scenic Byway. It is a major destination.

At close to 600 feet, these would be the tallest wind turbines in New York. They would exceed the height of the tallest buildings in Western New York and would be visible for 15-plus miles. APEX has been in conversation with selected landowners for more than a year; however, the larger town populations have only recently become aware of this plan to bring industrial-sized wind turbines to Orleans and Niagara counties. We believe that citizen questions, concerns, insight and research are essential to a thorough and honest decision on these proposed turbines.

APEX is an out-of-state corporation with the potential for enormous profits from the placement of these turbines. It is not affected by changes in the quality of life or health of local citizens, or the effect on local businesses once binding contracts have been signed.

Landowners who agree to lease their land stand to benefit financially, and towns will be offered financial incentives to move forward with the development. However, ongoing payments will likely not be guaranteed and potential gains are certain to be offset by the loss of substantial rights by individual landowners, the loss of tax revenue caused by a decrease in the value of properties, including lake properties, and the possible loss of revenue for local businesses as people avoid this industrial zone.

Residents in the area of these proposed industrial turbines share the land with wildlife, including a large population of native and migrating birds and raptors. The south shore of Lake Ontario is an important raptor migration corridor, has nesting bald eagles and provides habitat for migrating waterfowl and passerines.

We are concerned that these industrial turbines will be so tall and numerous as to cause irreparable harm to the birds, raptors and bats that are an essential part of the area’s ecology and so much a part of the natural beauty of Yates and Somerset. Please support us in our opposition to this project.

John Riggi is president of Save Ontario Shores Inc. Roger Barth is director.