Wake up, Lake Ontario property owners, area families, visitors and wildlife lovers! There is a huge Lighthouse Wind turbine project in the works in the towns of Somerset and Yates, and it is important that we realize the negative impact this will have along the 17-mile area if it comes to pass.
Virginia-based APEX Energy LLC is intent on moving this project forward, and with our relatively new New York State Article 10 revised process for siting major electric generating facilities, taxpayers have no opportunity to vote, only to voice concerns at hearings, send letters to government contacts, and post comments on the Public Service Commission’s web site. A siting board of seven will make final decision as to whether Lighthouse Wind becomes a reality or not, with only two representatives from the community on the board.
Picture this: 67 wind turbines almost 600 feet tall, with blade spans the length of a 747 jet, within a 1.5 mile distance of Lake Ontario. These turbines will be the tallest in New York state, higher than the Washington monument.
Next, picture the construction and use of rural, country roads to bring in tons of cement/materials, plus huge blades making turns on these roads. Once in place, picture the thousands of bats, birds and waterfowl being struck by moving blades and landing in your yard, mutilated and cut in pieces. As a result of bat kills, farmers now have to add more pesticides on farm land to deal with insects normally eaten by bats and other birds.
Also, picture relaxing on a front/back porch at your home, and hearing a constant low sound frequency that rarely stops, and the shadow flicker effect causing your child, or you, to be ill. In the winter, picture ice throws from the turbines flying in the air. Picture a turbine that catches on fire, which rarely occurs but is caused by lightning strikes or a technical fault.
Lastly, picture turbines that are “end of life,” just sitting on the land and rusting, as are the 4,500 turbines in California.
You may be asking, “why are the towers so high?” APEX answers, to get the most wind energy possible from as far as Lake Erie. But bigger also means more noise!
You may wonder if your property value will be impacted by the addition of turbines in adjacent farm land. APEX says no, but Google the Wolf Island Wind Farm in Canada to read about declining waterfront property values and other negative impact issues.
Am I against green, clean energy? No, not at all. We recently built a New York State Energy Star-rated home outside Akron, using geothermal heating/cooling plus other green energy savings. And, I agree that micro turbines that farmers install to save electric costs make good sense. We also own a cottage along Lake Ontario that is rented by tourists from all over the country, and our visitors enjoy the sunsets, area attractions and quiet of the lake. They bring dollars into the community by supporting area restaurants and other businesses. Will they continue to come if turbines are close by? Hard to say.
The Lighthouse Wind project has very few positives and too many negatives. Save Ontario Shores is an organization formed recently by area residents to inform and help fight the project. Go to their informational web site www.lakeontarioturbines.com for resources and how to take action.
Please join our fight to keep our Lake Ontario a peaceful, serene haven as it is now.
Deborah Arlington, retired teacher from Erie 1 BOCES, resides in Akron.
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