Members of Save Ontario Shores brought their concerns about wind turbines to New York City on Monday, when they attended the Association of Towns of New York meeting in Manhattan.
Representatives of SOS gave a presentation about Apex Wind Energy’s plan to build 70 wind turbines in the towns of Somerset and Yates before town officials from all over the state.
In the presentation, SOS president Pam Atwater made a reference to a 90 megawatt offshore wind farm about 30 miles southeast of Montauk, which received approval in January of this year. The wind farm is a project by Rhode Island-based Deepwater Wind.
According to a press release from NYSERDA, the wind farm will be out of sight from Long Island’s beaches.
“Why should rural residents end up living within 1,500 feet of industrial wind turbines if they don’t want to?” Atwater asked during the presentation, adding “(Gov. Cuomo) should give rural residents the same consideration as well-heeled Long Island residents.”
Apex’s Lighthouse Wind project will need to receive approval from the state’s siting board, under Article 10 of the state’s Public Service Law, which covers major electric generating facilities in New York state.
Most of the members of the siting board are appointed by the governor, a statement from SOS read.
Kate Kremer, vice president of SOS, said during the presentation that local residents have encountered problems with the Article 10 process.
“Though it encourages people to comment, there is no mechanism requiring Apex to respond to those concerns unless directed to do so by an administrative law judge. There’s no process for these comments to mean anything,” Kremer said.
Atwater spoke of rifts between neighbors that the debate about the Lighthouse Wind project has caused in the Somerset and Yates communities.
“Industrial wind projects are very divisive and cause serious rifts in communities,” Atwater said.
She added that in the “Right to Farm” community of Somerset, “some farmers oppose the project and other families are split on the issues.”
Representatives from Lighthouse Wind also attended the Association of Towns meeting, Cat Mosley, public affairs manager for Apex Clean Energy, said Tuesday.
“Western New York towns continue to be plagued with this misinformation and fear-mongering we have become accustomed to from SOS,” Mosley said.
She added that wind energy projects bring yearly payments to landowners, school districts and towns, which can be used for enhanced town services and educational opportunity.
“To thwart civil discussion and progress toward considering the benefits of economic develop to local communities is the true disservice to municipalities, their leaders and citizens,” Mosley said.
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