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Apex Clean Energy should defer to the people of Somerset

Many kudos to Town of Somerset Supervisor Dan Engert, the Somerset town board, Niagara County Legislator John Syracuse and the Niagara County Legislature for their recent actions supporting the residents of Somerset in their desire to end the Apex Clean Energy Corporation’s Lighthouse Wind energy project. The will of the majority of the residents of Somerset, as evidenced by a recent survey, has been recognized and supported, and a blow has been struck for the return of home rule.

The process by which wind factory projects are sited by the recent passage of New York State Law Article 10 has deprived local communities of their right to home rule and assigns siting decisions for projects such as Lighthouse Wind to a siting board dominated by political factions in Albany that will bow to the Governor’s “green energy” wishes. This must be changed!

The Apex Lighthouse Wind energy project will supply electrical energy that is not needed, while the Somerset Station, Niagara County’s largest taxpayer, is operating at a fraction of its rated capacity. The jobs of the approximately 100 employed there, and the very existence of Somerset Station, are being threatened by Lighthouse Wind.

Further, the environment and local landscape, i.e. 10 miles of beautiful Lake Ontario shoreline and many acres of rich, productive farmland, will be greatly affected by this project. Seventy, 600-foot tall “egg beaters in the sky” will mar the skyline. The resulting impact to the area, some of which is already being experienced, includes: confiscatory lease arrangements, degradation of property values, visual pollution, disruption of farming operations, noise, flicker, vibration, bird kill, bat kill, alteration of drainage patterns, disruption of wildlife, electromagnetic interference, road damage and general construction disruption, as huge pieces of oversize equipment are moved in and assembled in the area.

It is time that Apex Clean Energy also recognizes the will of the people, and ceases further activity. The power that will be produced is neither clean nor needed. Natural gas is a much better alternative and should be more fully utilized.

James Hoffman

Somerset