I have recently been privileged to finally witness snowy owls in our area (Yates, N.Y.) for the first time. These majestic birds hunt for prey in the very same agricultural fields in which Lighthouse Wind is proposing to install up to 70 industrial bird shredders. These owls, as well as red-tailed hawks, coopers hawks and bald eagles, populate the proposed project area and migrate through the area during the spring and autumn.
The Ocitillo Wind Farm in California has decimated the red-tailed hawk and golden eagle populations in that area. Similar results can be expected in Yates and Somerset if Lighthouse Wind is allowed to proceed. In the Yates and Somerset area, there is a nesting pair of bald eagles, perhaps two nesting pairs. These year-round residents, in addition to the migratory bald eagles, hawks and owls, will be victim to the blades of the proposed turbines as they fly searching for food.
Critics of these facts will argue that house cats and collisions with vehicles are responsible for more bird deaths than wind turbines could ever be. Perhaps so, but I doubt that house cats would ever attempt to kill a hawk, bald eagle or snowy owl. It is much more likely that the cat would be carried away as food for the bird. Vehicle collisions in the rural agricultural areas of Somerset and Yates are also not likely. In any event, the argument “many birds are already killed, so what’s a few more deaths at the hands of wind turbines” is a poor excuse as a statement of environmental responsibility. Another argument often stated by the wind turbine apologists is that the reduction in carbon dioxide resulting from the increased use of wind turbines to replace fossil fuels will, in the long term, save more bird lives than the turbines will kill. I have not seen that claim subjected to any independent unbiased rational scientific scrutiny.
Those of us who truly appreciate the wildlife, environment and rural nature of the Yates and Somerset area recognize that Lighthouse Wind is the wrong project in the wrong place. It is time for Apex “Clean Energy” to suspend its efforts to industrialize these towns.
Maryellen Royce, Appleton
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