On New York’s Public Service website there are 67 public comments that have been lodged during the formal comment period of April 19 to May 10 that specifically address Apex Clean Energy LLC’s Stipulations, a document the company must file according to the Article 10 process.
The following is a summary of concerns and questions posed to Apex in those letters: US Fish and Wildlife Service’s call for a 3-mile setback from all the Great Lakes; visual impacts; nighttime light pollution; local towns’ setback, noise and height ordinances; eagle kill permits; sound measurements; noise interference with radio communications; baseline health studies; visual impacts; waste products from construction; amateur ham radio interference and RFI noise; NEXRAD data inclusion for bird studies; lack of adequate fire safety response equipment and personnel; effects on local roads regarding Amish horses and buggies; impact on school buses and local road conditions; noise exposure; wastes released into public sewers; tourists on local roads (bikers, joggers, etc.); property values; construction runoff and leachates; effect of microclimate on local spring flowering fruit farming; Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station and radar interference; decommissioning issues regarding permanent burial of industrial debris below 5 feet; stray voltage; effect on drinking water for Yates; effect on property values and vacation rentals; blade strikes and subsequent avian disorientation; TV/radar/shortwave interference; lack of site plan and transportation impact study; temporary and permanent waste emissions; Low Frequency Noise exposure and health; Braddock Bay Raptor Research concerns with migratory paths along Lake Ontario shoreline; decibel levels and noise monitoring methods; effect on invertebrates and bats; and WNY Land Conservancy issues with setbacks and project proximity to one particular land parcel.
In addition to the above concerns and specific questions posed directly to Apex, there are general observations that cannot be ignored. Quite a few letters addressed the lack of specificity, as Apex used vague and arcane language. Another spoke to the rural problem of even accessing the Stipulations document online where so many households in Niagara and Orleans counties still do not have broadband, and could not read this on a home computer. Another writer observed that so far Apex has produced sloppy and incomplete documents as seen in its Public Involvement Plan, Preliminary Scoping Statement, and now Stipulations. It pointlessly included 127 pages of 30-year-old scanned documents from another government agency’s handbook, some of which were illustrations of how mountainous terrain could hide industrial wind turbines. No Apex, we don’t have any mountains here.
New York State’s Department of Public Service must realize that Apex feels no obligation to respond to any of the above concerns. People spent hours reading, digesting, evaluating this material. They took the time to respond and to question. Identical letters were sent to Taylor Quarles – who has since been replaced as Apex’s Lighthouse Wind project manager – and to the DPS. And by the way, those requesting official acknowledgement of receipt of their letters from Apex never received any.
To residents of Somerset and Yates, Apex’s deafening silence is their response. Evidently, we have no right to know beyond their vague Stipulations document, or to question how they plan to implement this project. If opponents are characterized as dispensers of “misinformation” then it would behoove Apex to address these concerns. Since Apex talks so much about engaging the community, it is in the spirit of Article 10 that its representatives attempt to provide residents the information they are seeking.
These summarize the alarming concerns about Lighthouse Wind industrial wind turbines in Somerset and Yates. This project needs to be stopped by the Siting Board. If Apex’s arrogance is allowed to manifest beyond its documents to a construction phase, God help us if it is actually allowed to proceed.
Christine Bronson resides in Somerset.
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