New York Public Interest Research Group has notified the Town of Somerset that it will be coming to town this spring and summer for door-to-door canvassing. NYPIRG issues include consumer protection, the environment and renewable energy. In the past, this group has selected a local issue with a related petition and then solicited money to support NYPIRG’s work. We have heard from some who have worked for NYPIRG that the people who campaign are often college students and that they are paid based on the number of donations they receive.
Save Ontario Shores is very concerned that given the ongoing push for industrial wind in Somerset and Yates, this group will promote the Apex Lighthouse Wind project – a project that the majority of the towns oppose.
New York has set renewable energy goals and has unleashed the funds and resources necessary to lure large-scale developers into rural towns. At a statewide symposium on Energy in the 21st Century held in Syracuse on April 21, pro-wind speakers made it clear that lack of local support is holding back renewable projects across the state. Big wind developers and renewable energy advocates who do not live in the affected rural areas are looking for ways to gain local support for these projects. They need to convince local citizens in Somerset and Yates to support the state conversion of their agricultural rural communities into large scale industrial zones.
If they want local support, the state must seek direction from the municipalities, not out-of-state corporations. Municipalities can come up with renewable energy, efficiency and conservation plans that fit the local economy, local environment and local community. It is disastrous that towns and local citizens are diverting time and money fighting unwisely sited projects when they could be positively engaged in sensible and supported local projects.
The towns of Somerset and Yates have substantive reasons to oppose this project. Its 70 towers would be the size of New York City skyscrapers. They do not belong in a landscape of residences, orchards, grapevines, tourist cottages and a beautiful state park. These industrial wind turbines would have flashing lights against the dark skies, a disturbing shadow flicker across some properties, and noise magnified by our quiet rural nights. The wind-swept area of the turbine blades would be wider than a football field and sited onshore near Lake Ontario within a migratory area for raptors including bald eagles and neotropical migratory birds.
Seventy massive structures spread out over 12 miles could place future missions at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station and its nearly 3,000 jobs at risk.
SOS does not believe that organizations like NYPIRG are coming to Somerset to give the local community a voice. We believe they will try to persuade the local community that our concerns are not valid. Virginia-based Apex has sued the Town of Somerset and proposed a project that does not fit the town regulations or comprehensive plan and is opposed by most of the residents. Somerset and Yates do not want another group of out-of-towners trying to take control of our communities.
Pamela Atwater, president, and Kate Kremer, vice president, Save Ontario Shores