SOMERSET – About 500 opponents of the proposed Lighthouse Wind turbine project rallied in the pouring rain Thursday at the Boat Launch Pavilion of Golden State Park, calling on the company to abandon its “ill-conceived project.”
Many local, county and state officials came out to voice their opposition of the project and encouraged residents to continue to share their concerns over the wind turbine project.
In attendance to speak was Save Ontario Shores President Pam Atwater, state Sen. Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, Town of Somerset Supervisor Daniel Engert, Town of Yates Supervisor Jim Simon, Niagara County Legislator John Syracuse, R-Newfane, and former New York State Attorney General Dennis Vacco.
Ortt told attendees the project was only part of a larger progressive agenda pushed by New York City, where he said they are preying on people’s vulnerability in rural communities.
As a way to fight the Article 10 process, Ortt, along with state Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, R-Clarence, recently sponsored legislation that would repeal Article 10 and allow for more local members on the siting board.
Ortt said he plans to continue to introduce more bills geared toward the project. However, he said the challenge is getting the bills passed by both houses of the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Ortt referred to Cuomo as a governor who has come out very strong and in favor of these kinds of projects.
Syracuse said the Niagara County Legislature has had a long history of pushing back against wind turbine initiatives. In 2011, there was a project called the “Great Lakes Offshore Project,” where a company would place wind turbines out at the shoreline of Niagara County in Lake Ontario. Syracuse said it was opposed by every municipality in Niagara County as well as the Niagara County Legislature.
Moving forward, the Niagara County Legislature has continued to unanimously oppose the wind turbine project that is being proposed today, Syracuse said.
Officials continued to encourage people to voice their concerns through letters to the editor in local newspapers and posting comments on the New York State Department of Public Services website.
Apex responded with a statement that said it is “strengthened by our rigorous support in the community from hardworking residents who see the importance of wind power for the community’s economic vitality and well-being.”
The company said the Article 10 process is a new one that requires thoughtful research and studies over multiple years to develop the best project possible with opportunities for public comment. And until those studies are complete and a final application is submitted, there is no project to be judged, the company said.
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