BARKER, N.Y. – More than 150 people packed the Barker Fire Hall Tuesday night to hear concerns over APEX Clean Energy’s proposed project for as many as seventy 600 foot wind turbines in the towns of Yates and Somerset.
“There are health effects, there are environmental effects, there are wildlife effects, we’re right in the water shed of the Great Lakes,” said John Riggi, Save Ontario Shores President. “And you have these machines so close to people they just don’t belong in this area and they don’t belong near people period.”
The meeting was hosted by Saving Ontario Shores, a group formed to protect the safety and welfare of residents regarding the industrial wind turbines.
APEX Clean Energy has put out a preliminary scoping statement which explains potential impacts and studies that will be done to measure impact.
“We have numerous studies showing scientific evidence that there is no direct correlation between health factors and the wind turbines,” Dan Fitzgerald, APEX Clean Energy Senior Development Manager.
“The question really is not the validity of any one study or other,” said Riggi. “The real question is are the people who live here willing to take the risk that there may be an issue with infrasound, there may be an issue with flicker effect, there may be health impacts.”
Despite a public input process, state law does not allow towns like Yates or Somerset to say no to the proposed project.
The final decision is in the hands of a state mandated board.
“The panel that is charged under the law with making this decision is tilted against the local interest,” Dennis Vacco, Special Counsel to Town of Somerset and Former NY State Attorney General. “The main reason why we’re here tonight is to give the localities a voice in this process.”
The Save Ontario Shores group has also raised concern over the turbines potentially encroaching on the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Base. The group said planes that frequent the base would have to likely change their flight plans due to the height of the proposed wind turbines.
APEX said the concern has not been brought up by the base, and the layout will be filed with the FAA to determine if there would need to be any modification.
At this point a layout for the project has not been completed yet. APEX plans to have a final application submitted by the summer of 2016.
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