A local delegation has asked the state to await the results of federal studies on the impacts the proposed Lighthouse Wind turbine project would have on the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station before moving forward with the Public Service Commission Article X.
In a letter to the New York State Public Service Commission released to the media Tuesday, State Senators Robert G. Ortt and Michael H. Ranzenhofer and Assemblywomen Jane L. Corwin and Angela M. Wozniak say the Apex Clean Energy wind project will consist of 70 wind turbines reaching as tall as 600 feet.
The letter addresses concerns of encroachment into the flight paths out of the air base pending the proposed project and the effects that may have on the regional economy, national security and emergency response. The letter states that encroachment could jeopardize the future of the base as it’s viewed unfavorably by the Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC).
Encroachment is one of the key factors the military uses when determining the future of a base and the Niagara Falls Air Base currently ranks favorably in that area, they wrote.
NFARS is one of the region’s largest employers accounting for more than 3,000 full-time and part-time personnel and has an estimated economic impact of approximately $150 million annually. In addition the base sits adjacent to an international border and is within the proximity of a population of 140 million people.
Officials from Apex Clean Energy, the company behind the turbines, countered that details of the turbines’ height as well as an exact number and their specific location have not yet been determined and won’t be until studies following the preliminary scoping statement are completed.
Apex’s proposed project is currently in the Preliminary Scoping Statement phase where they have responded to the written public comments. The next steps are to complete impact studies on the proposed project.
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