The recent development regarding the impact the Apex “Clean Energy” Lighthouse Wind Project will have on the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station adds to the lengthy list of collateral damages that this project will have, not only on the towns of Yates and Somerset, but also on the whole Western New York community.
I refer specifically to the letter recently written to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and released to the public on Jan. 7, by three previous base commanders expressing their concern over the encroachment the proposed construction of 70, 620-foot-tall wind turbines along the Lake Ontario shore, will have on the Military Operations Area of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.
This project places the approximately 3,200 jobs at the station in jeopardy, as the U.S. government periodically reviews for closure military bases throughout the country. In all likelihood the government will be calling for another round of Base Realignment and Closure Recommendations in 2017, and the stigma of Apex in the area will weigh on any decision to place the air reserve station on the recommended base closure list. It is therefore imperative that Apex “Clean Energy” immediately halt this project.
There is a long list of other collateral damages Apex will bring to the community in the attempt to “Harvest the Wind.”
The 200 megawatts of power being proposed is not needed, as evidenced by the fact that 650-megawatt Somerset Power Station is operating at less than 30 percent capacity.
This unneeded power will further the uncertain future of this plant, and place the jobs of the 100 employees working there in jeopardy.
Additional collateral damage to our community brought on by Apex includes, but are not limited to, visual pollution, noise, vibration, shadow flicker, ultrasound, killing of birds and bats, loss of forestland and wildlife habitat, destruction of property values, disruption of normal farming operations, increase in electrical rates, controversy among neighbors, groundwater pollution, construction noise and dust, damage to roads and infrastructure, electromagnetic interference with communication, threats to public health and safety, violation of local planning and zoning regulations, predatory leasing arrangements, suspension of home rule and erosion of property rights.
The Apex project power is neither clean, necessary, nor desirable in our community. Three independent studies have shown that our community opposes Lighthouse Wind by an overwhelming majority of two to one. Apex “Clean Energy” should cancel this project. It is the wrong project in the wrong place.
James C. Hoffman