A recent ruling by the New York State Supreme Court has forced the Somerset Town Planning Board to issue a permit for the erection of two meteorological towers in our town without a complete and thorough review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act. This ruling is the result of a lawsuit filed By Apex Clean Energy Project Lighthouse Wind, as they refused to comply with a request by the Somerset Planning Board for a full Class I Environmental Review.
In making this ruling, the court glossed over the fact that these towers, although temporary in nature and designed to collect weather data, are in effect an integral part of a huge project that will ultimately scatter 70 huge industrial wind turbines 600 or more feet in height, along a 12-mile stretch of pristine Lake Ontario Shoreline in the townships of Somerset and Yates. Apex has indicated that the Met Tower information is necessary to allow them to complete the application to the Article 10 Siting Board for full approval of this project. Clearly then, the towers are a part of huge effort that will have a severe and lasting impact on the physical and environmental character of our lakeshore communities. Many kudos to the Somerset Town Planning Board for recognizing this connection.
It taxes the imagination to visualize these huge structures being assembled and subsequently churning away across our landscape. Surely those striving to save the planet can find less damaging and intrusive ways to accomplish their goal.
Why then, the refusal to comply with the Planning Board request? I think it is because Apex has elected to delay and not address the environmental and physical issues that are of deep concern to our community, hoping that when their final application is submitted to the Siting Board, our voices will be drowned out and ignored in the Article 10 process. The Siting Board is comprised of seven voting members, five from departments directly under the thumb of our Governor and two from our local area.
There is no doubt that as the objection to proposed Project Lighthouse Wind continues to grow, there will be more lawsuits forcing us to defend ourselves again. Litigation is now an additional tool that will be used by Apex “Clean Energy” to intimidate and force their will upon us.
Our community has spoken out repeatedly over the last three years against Project Lighthouse Wind in numerous surveys, meetings and gatherings. In addition, 19 separate organizations have expressed concerns about the project. It is the wrong project, in the wrong place, involving the wrong company. The power is not clean, the power is not necessary. Witness, Somerset Station on standby producing little and draining ratepayers pocketbooks. Witness, The New York Power Authority selling clean hydropower to our six neighboring states.
Apex “Clean Energy” Project Lighthouse Wind must be terminated! State article 10 must be repealed!
James C. Hoffman
Town of Somerset