The Town of Somerset recently sent out a survey to determine whether a multi-billion dollar out-of-state LLC should place an electric factory in and amongst people and wildlife living, playing and investing their livelihoods on the Lake Ontario Seaway Trail. This project may happen in Somerset but the negative impacts will not stay in Somerset.
The Lake Ontario shoreline is among the largest migratory pathways for the United States, as millions of birds, waterfowl and raptors have been reported by biologists to pass through here. If a wind project goes through, they may only pass through once, as turbines have been documented to cause the bloody slaughter of large numbers of the avian population flying through a giant Cuisinart in their path. Wind industry-biased and financed reports seem to be the only ones that dispute the documented studies conducted in wind project areas here and all over the world.
Surveys are a funny thing. They ask for your opinion without giving you enough information to determine what they are really getting at, or ask questions to clarify their questions. A lot rides on this survey.
The government stimulus, which is our tax dollars, is making it financially lucrative for multi-billion-dollar conglomerates to site industrial electrical wind facilities – which are, by necessity, backed up by fossil fuel since the wind doesn’t blow 24/7 and come with miles and miles of overhead and underground high voltage electric lines, transformers and switchyards, in the midst of our homes, farms and recreational residences.
Apex will not pay millions of dollars in taxes. Uncle Sam and Uncle Cuomo will give them our money tax-free, with accelerated depreciation, and they may give us one-tenth of a local tax break, temporarily. That’s a town tax break only. This is in exchange for monstrous turbines that are scientifically proven to be inefficient, do not produce electricity on demand, are not economical, and have never shut down a carbon dioxide-producing plant anywhere in the world.
Somerset survey question No. 3 asks, “If large wind turbines were set back far and away from residences and lot lines of non-participating landowners, what would be your household’s view of the project?”
Come on! Apex has proposed up to 70, 570-foot tall turbines. These can be seen across Lake Ontario for up to 50 miles, all with their angry red lights flashing all night. They will be visible for miles and miles. Goodbye, viewshed; hello, cumulative impact on cumulative towns.
How far is “far and away?” The World Health Organization recommends that an industrial turbine of smaller scale than Apex’s be at least 1.25 miles away from residences. Only a few property owners make some money while the rest of the town risks financial devastation.
Wyoming County has increased property taxes 82 percent since industrial wind facilities were built there. The tax breaks are not equal to the lost property value and negative impacts that drive people out of their homes. Most realtors agree that highest property value loss occurs within 4 miles of turbines, sometimes leading to abandonment of real estate that cannot be sold. A 10 percent reduction in one’s local tax bill is not a fair trade for putting the value of your largest investment up as collateral on the whims of foreign-invested, multi-billion dollar LLCs.
Maybe the town’s survey should ask: Are you opposed to industrial scale, oil-filled turbines sitting on tons and tons of cement bases, industrial scale noise, shadow flicker, electronic and TV interference, property value loss and – most important – personal loss of peace of mind?
No monetary compensation will make up for the loss of avian and bat slaughter, wildlife habitat fragmentation, environmental destruction of our homes and countryside and the loss of our health, safety and welfare. How is Apex LLC going to compensate us for loss of our lives, liberties and pursuits of happiness?
Elected representatives, “first do no harm”!
Cathi Orr is a Somerset resident and self-described Wyoming County wind project “refugee.”
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