July 2018 marks the three-and-a-half-year anniversary of the formation of Save Ontario Shores, Inc., in opposition to Apex’s Lighthouse Wind project. We are grateful to Somerset Town Supervisor Dan Engert and Yates Town Supervisor Jim Simon, as well as both town boards, for their ongoing efforts to protect the health, safety and welfare of their constituents.
Since SOS was formed, the opposition to Apex’s Lighthouse Wind project has continued to grow. Opposition is not just from local people who would be directly impacted on a daily basis by the alteration of our community into an industrial wind factory. The opposition to this project also comes from people who are concerned about tourism, hunting and fishing opportunities, bat populations, raptors and song birds that use this internationally known migratory pathway along the shore of Lake Ontario and inland, as well as the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.
SOS’s partners in the POWER Coalition (Protecting [Lake] Ontario’s Waterfront, Environment and Resources) have looked at the specifics of this industrial wind project and have decided to oppose it. They include the American Bird Conservancy, NYS Ornithological Association, Hawk Migration Association of North America, Niagara USA Chamber, Great Lakes Seaway Trail, Federation of Monroe Co. Environmentalists, Braddock Bay Bird Observatory, Burroughs Audubon Nature Club, Genesee Valley Audubon, Rochester Birding Association, and Orleans Co. Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs. These are national, statewide and regional groups representing thousands of members.
Apex claims its project has support with over 100 landowners who have signed leases or easements. At last check with the Niagara and Orleans County Clerks’ offices, these landowners represent around 60 families who will receive direct payments from Apex should the project go forward. Census data from 2010 for Somerset and Yates show a total combined population of 5,221. These 100 landowners, who stand to personally gain from the project, represent less than 2 percent of the towns’ population. (A list of all the leaseholders is on our website.)
Our question remains: Why is Apex still here? The opposition is educated, engaged and growing. Our message to this Virginia corporation could not be clearer from multiple fronts. Lighthouse Wind does not belong in our towns, along our lakeshore, in our migratory flyway, or near our air base, and we will keep fighting for as long as we have to. Our surveys say: Apex – go home!!
Pam Atwater is the president of Save Ontario Shores, Inc.
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