Three years have passed since Apex “Clean Energy” located in Charlottesville, Va., slipped into our area, and began signing landowners to 49-year, non-revocable, confidential leases for Project Lighthouse Wind. This project is a proposed 71-unit industrial wind turbine complex, with units perhaps as high as 650 feet, to be strung along 12 miles of Lake Ontario shoreline in the towns of Somerset and Yates. Incredibly, after this length of time, the exact size and location of these monsters is not yet known. Secrecy prevails throughout the process as leaseholders are under a gag orders, certain technical information related to the project is deemed proprietary and town representatives are being excluded from technical meetings.
Although the project has not yet been approved, Apex “Clean Energy” has permanently scarred our community by pitting neighbor against neighbor. No matter the final decision to proceed or not, the scars will remain. This project has also raised a huge amount of opposition, as it could threaten our environment, our health and the way of life in our rural community. The opposition to this type of heavy industrial development runs deeply.
Comprehensive Plans officially dating back to 1974 and recently updated stress above all else the preservation of the rural character of our community. Erecting huge industrial structures of the number and size associated with Project Lighthouse Wind makes a mockery of this objective. There never was the intent to heavily industrialize our community. Further these huge structures raise many physical and environmental issues that we, who will be forced to live among them must face. Issues that may include health effects, degradation of property values, visual pollution, disruption of normal farming operations, noise, flicker, vibration, bird kill, bat kill, alteration of drainage patterns, disruption of wildlife, electromagnetic interference, road damage and general construction disruption.
A citizens coalition SOS (Save Ontario Shores) has been formed to protect interests of the citizens of our area from project Lighthouse Wind. Currently several hundred individuals are involved with this coalition and 30 businesses and/or organizations have expressed opposition to, or concerns about, this proposed project. Further, three independent surveys in our towns have shown that residents oppose Project Lighthouse Wind by a margin of 2 to 1. Public opposition has reflected itself also in the last local election. Those running for Town Board In Somerset in opposition were handily reelected. Two incumbents in Yates in support were turned out, one of them being the supervisor, thus shifting the balance of the Yates Board. Those supporting project Lighthouse Wind argue that proper turbine siting will mitigate these issues to the extent that we will be able to “live with them.” Those opposed, and with a multitude of very good reasons, say this is the wrong project in the wrong place.
Despite overwhelming public rejection, APEX “Clean Energy” pushes on with project Lighthouse Wind, under the authority of the recently passed article 10, of the State Public Service law. This law stripped local governments of the ability to decide the fate of this project and placed that authority in the hands of a Siting Board dominated by Albany politicians. Big business and big government are therefore in control of our community and our destiny. This should not be! Based on the overwhelming public rejection of Project Lighthouse Wind, Apex is requested to immediately cease all activity related to Project Lighthouse Wind. The New York State Public Service Commission is requested to reject the project. Our State Legislators are requested to modify Article 10 and return home rule.
James C. Hoffman
Resident Town of Somerset