More than 200 protesters from around Western New York gathered in Sunset Bay on a Saturday afternoon in October 2019 to express their worries and concerns about wind turbines being placed in the Great Lakes waters.
“We’ve got to get on the bandwagon with this and stay on the bandwagon because this reared its ugly head 10 years ago, and now it’s back again,” said Erie County Legislator John Mills on that day. “Do not disturb our freshwater, period. It’s really simple.”
State Sen. George Borrello has never forgotten that day or the messages heard at the rally. On Tuesday, he introduced legislation to place a moratorium on the building or placing of permanent or semi-permanent wind turbines in bodies of freshwater in New York state. “I drafted this legislation to protect our freshwater lakes from becoming industrialized by massive wind turbines,” he said. “Our greatest natural and environmental resource is our freshwater lakes. These lakes, and the communities that cherish them, should not be sacrificed on the altar of the boondoggle green energy agenda.”
Borrello is taking note of what is happening to the west. In Ohio, the Power Siting Board has given the go-ahead to the Icebreaker Windpower Project that could consist of six wind turbines located 8 to 10 miles off the shore of Cleveland in Lake Erie. Each of the turbines will have a nameplate generating capacity rating of 3.45 megawatts (MW), creating a combined capacity of up to 20.7 MW.
This does not sit well with some in the region and those who are sportsmen. “Industrial wind turbines are a serious threat to our lakes and the local economies and quality of life that they support. They are also a threat to human health. More than 11 million people rely on Lake Erie for their drinking water. Lake Erie’s lakebed sediment contains hazardous contamination from New York’s industrial past. It’s safe as long as it isn’t disturbed. Excavating the lake bottom and pouring millions of tons of concrete into the lake along with metal, fiber glass and toxic chemicals for the construction of industrial wind turbines will no doubt threaten our drinking water supply and the ecological balance of the lake,” Borrello said.
“Evidence suggests that wind patterns generated by these turbines also have the potential to spread pools of toxic algae through larger portions of the lake, and the constant vibration from wind turbines will negatively impact our commercial and recreational fishing as well as threatening the future of our world-class fisheries,” he said.
Borrello said his legislation is also designed to protect lakeshore communities from being abused and steamrolled into accepting industrial wind farms off their shores they don’t want or need. “These projects won’t benefit the communities where they would be located in any way, they will only harm them,” Borrello said. “Upstate already has 88 percent zero-emission electricity generation. We are already green! The industrialization of our lakes is designed to benefit the New York City area, where more than 70 percent of the electricity is generated from fossil fuels. Upstate New York’s natural resources should not be put at risk for New York City’s insatiable need for energy.
Borrello’s wind turbine moratorium bill is under review by the Senate’s Environmental Conservation Committee.
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