In its April 23 Earth Day edition, the Erie Times-News published the benefits Pennsylvanians are guaranteed by the Pennsylvania constitution’s Environmental Rights Amendment – just one day after the newspaper published an article about off-shore industrial wind turbines that would dash those rights to bits.
This amendment states: “The people have a right to clean air, pure water.” In its industrial past, Erie’s manufacturing companies dumped tons of chemical waste into Lake Erie. These wastes lie safely undisturbed under layers of sand and silt. Installation of wind turbines would require extensive trenching for electric cables and the ensuing turbine vibration would stir up these toxic settlings. Erie County’s drinking water comes from intake pipes 3 miles out. This area should not be disturbed.
The amendment continues: “and to the preservation of the natural scenic, historic, and esthetic values of the environment.” Industrial turbines in Lake Erie would be a visual blight. Studies in Europe have shown that beachgoers avoid beaches with visible turbines. The beautiful Lake Erie sunsets would be viewed through ugly machinery and a phalanx of angry red strobe lights on blades that are nearly two football fields high. And get used to the foghorns, which will blare warnings to ships so they do not collide with these useless behemoths.
Erie was once the top commercial and fishing center on the Great Lakes. More than a hundred shipwrecks lie on the lake floor in the 52 miles between New York and Ohio. These great historical resources should not be subject to destruction by the installation of turbines that provide unreliable, intermittent, unstorable energy.
“Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people. … As trustee of these resources, the commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.”
— Pat Hersch, Erie