YATES – With the announcement of a community forum for Lighthouse Wind on Tuesday, the town supervisors of Yates and Somerset have blasted the company in a news release of their own.
They said that Apex Clean Energy calling the event a community forum is “totally misleading.”
“This is a 100 percent Apex sponsored propaganda event designed to suppress any public opposition to their ill-conceived project,” said Somerset Supervisor Daniel Engert. “Apex is not going to let the community ask questions. Instead, Apex is going to have their hired guns just lecture our community. That is not a ‘community forum’ in any sense of the term. By not allowing signs or banners or even interactive spoken questions, Apex is stifling free speech, stifling debate, stifling dissent and it is a total sham.”
Yates Supervisor Jim Simon agreed, adding there was no need for uniformed Orleans County sheriff’s deputies and New York state troopers present as security.
“There should be no need for security at a community forum to discuss a proposed project,” he said. “The only reason for such a large security detail is to intimidate members of this community who have a different view than Apex.”
The towns are also frustrated a facility layout showing exactly where the project will be located has not been provided yet, claiming Apex did so in their two other proposed projects in New York.
“This information should have been provided years ago and not under the cover of a tightly scripted lecture event with uniformed police officers standing guard,” Engert and Simon said in the statement. “As frustrated as we are, our communities have given absolutely no reason for this heavy-handed treatment by Apex.”
Both Somerset and Yates have made a motion to the New York State Department of Public Service requesting that Apex be required to provide the location of the turbines to the towns before their upcoming event.
The motion, filed on Friday, also raises the concern that if Apex decides to provide comments and distribute information to the general public related to the stipulations process, Apex will violate the confidentiality requirements repeatedly requested by Apex and imposed by state regulations.
The Lighthouse wind project would include 40 to 50 industrial wind turbines within the two towns. They would be less than 600 feet high.
The project has been scaled down from an earlier proposal which had called for 70 turbines.
The forum will start at 7 p.m. in Stroyan Auditorium at Lyndonville High School. Apex was unable to respond by press time Monday evening.
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