The comments below were given on April 29, 2015 to the public at the Barker, NY fire hall.
I'd like to begin by giving you my personal feelings about wind energy.
I oppose industrial wind turbines anywhere.
Apex Clean Energy LLC is now cultivating your community attempting to set up shop in Somerset and Yates with a project called Lighthouse Wind consisting of up to 70 turbines 570' tall. We know little more about this project right now than we did in October.
Somerset and Yates are identified by Apex Clean Energy as a host community and this is wrong. Instead of being called a host community both Somerset and Yates are victims of Apex Clean Energy and NYS
Wind Power Monthly online - 27 November 2014 by Diane Bailey interviewed Apex Clean Energy’s President Mark Goodwin and reported Goodwin expects that Apex will continue to look to sell projects as they come into operation.
Think about Apex President Goodwin's goals - “sell projects as they come into operation”. Apex sold the Canadian Hills wind project in Oklahoma in 2012 to Atlantic Power and the operation began functioning in late 2012. Apex sold the Hoopston Wind project in Illinois in 2014 to Sweden’s Ikea and the Hoopston Wind project isn’t even finished yet. Apex also sold the Cameron Wind project in Texas to Ikea and it’s also not finished either. And numerous plaintiffs have filed a class action lawsuit against Apex Wind Construction to prevent them from building an Oklahoma wind factory near their homes in Canadian County.
This month Apex is into a new dilemma regarding their 49 turbine Mills Branch Wind project slated for Kent County, Maryland. Kent County Commissioners have voted unanimously against the project for numerous reasons including including Apex’s questionable tactics.
Last year the Oklahoma Wind Action Association filed lawsuit against Apex over the Kingfisher wind project involving over 300 turbines citing health and safety concerns of residents near wind factories, including low-frequency sound and “shadow flicker” from the blades at certain times of the day and the loss of use and value of landowners’ property.
In Corpus Christi, Texas - Nueces County Commissioners are attempting to block the Apex Chapman Ranch wind development. Both the City and County have gone on record in opposition to the APEX wind farm development.
A year ago Apex had decided not to pursue the Clear Spring Wind Energy project in LaGrange County, Indiana due to “a lack of landowner participation - how lucky for LaGrange landowners.
Would you like Apex Clean Energy LLC doing business in your community with this record?
Apex Clean Energy LLC is not clean. What's clean about the slaughter of birds and bats? Did you know that every turbine has powerful magnets within the nacelle that are made from rare earth materials mined and processed in China leaving enormous amounts of toxic waste behind? What's clean about the numerous serious health issues caused by noise & low frequency noise generated by the operation of the turbines? What's clean about the visual pollution turbines bring concerning aesthetics? What's clean about shadowing by the massive rotor blades, light reflecting from the blades, the loss of darkness that many people in rural areas cherish and much more. And worst of all - the whooshing sounds and the infra sound that causes sleeplessness, headaches and any number of health issues that will affect those living near these industrial giants that desecrate your community. If this project is built and there are noise problems, TV or cell phone reception issues - who will mitigate these problems? The town board, NYS siting board - they have no authority to correct these problems. Sell your home and move??? You would be lucky to sell your Yates or Somerset home right now.
It is disgusting that both Yates and Somerset town boards have done nothing to protect their community from the Lighthouse Wind project. Somerset supervisor Dan Engert said repeatedly there is no project. Engert is wrong. There is a project forthcoming and he knows it. Apex signed Somerset land leases as early as May 2014
This is an election year for both towns. Somerset supervisor Dan Engert and Councilmen Randall Wayner and Jeffrey Dewart are up for election if they decide to run for office again. Yates supervisor John Belson and Councilmen Steve Freeman and Wes Bradley are up for election if they decide to run for office in Yates this year. Do NOT elect these people again. I cannot tell you how important it is to elect anti wind candidates into your town government. Your weak town boards have failed taxpayers miserably.
A few weeks ago I sent 2 questions to all Somerset and Yates TB members asking if they supported this Lighthouse Wind project or if they would fight it and asked that they return my question page and I did not get one back. These town boards seem content to permit Apex to rape this community. What kind of stewardship is this? Where's the transparency? Why are they hiding in the closet? They seem willing to make their towns a prostitute for the money.
What fool in their right mind would buy or build a new home in Somerset or Yates at this point in time knowing that their new home may take a 50% hit on value because you don't know if a turbine might be located near your home along with the noise and numerous other overwhelming problems associated with wind energy? What business would locate in Somerset or Yates knowing their investment would be sullied by a wind factory that's already divided the community
There is a new spectacular and innovative electric energy project soon to begin construction in eastern NYS called the Champlain Hudson Power Express. This endeavor will bring 1000Mw of electric power directly from Hydro Quebec 333 miles to NYC via an 5.5" diameter submerged electrical cable under Lake Champlain and then submerged under the Hudson River to NYC.
The power express avoids and overcomes every weak point wind energy brings and more. It didn't take Sup. Engert long to criticize the new exciting power express energy project unveiled for eastern NYS. Engert claimed the power express would threaten the AES Somerset power plant by stealing business from AES. Former state Sen. George Maziarz, of Niagara Co., also bad mouthed the power express yet Maziarz sponsored the horrible Power NY Act of 2011 and its Art. 10 debacle betraying New Yorkers in the process. Isn't it a hypocrisy that Engert didn't waste time criticizing the power express yet he won't take a position opposing Lighthouse Wind and is content buying time until the siting board approves this project? Engert is using all the excuses he can muster to avoid taking a position on Lighthouse Wind - denying for months that there's even a project while Apex in the meantime is getting large land owners to sign leases and filing documents on the Lighthouse Wind project, with the NYS Dept. of Public Service, holding open houses, etc. And the Somerset TB is content to witness Engert's actions. Ditto the Yates town board.
Yes - I'm a NIMBY. There are dozens of good reasons for taking this attitude but I'm going to stress the three main reasons why I feel wind energy should be rejected: (1) noise/health problems; (2) unavoidable property value decline and (3) decommissioning dead turbines.
The biggest problem with wind factories is noise and since Apex has plans to install the tallest turbines ever erected in NYS - the noise generated from this Lighthouse Wind project will likely be the loudest of any wind project in NYS.
Wherever turbines exist - some people have been forced from their homes because they could no longer stand the noise from the turbines that impacted their health or their children's health or their pets health or even their livestock's health. The noise created is both mechanical and aerodynamic. The noise is both audible and infra sound. And the noise from the Lighthouse Wind project will impact people's health.
Apex is lying when they say on their website:
That wind energy is one of the healthiest forms of energy generation;
Measurements show this sound is no louder than a kitchen refrigerator or air conditioning unit at a distance of 1,000 feet. Low frequency sound will be no different than waves on a beach and weaker than highway traffic, air conditioners and other daily exposures. Scientific evidence confirms this sound is not dangerous and that any low-frequency waves produced are not harmful to those nearby.
Apex is lying to you by peddling this information while attempting to get their foot in the door of your community. Your quality of life and health are at risk.
Two other significant winds sins are property devaluation and decommissioning.
Apex Clean Energy on their website flatly denies that property devaluation happens as a result of wind turbines invading a community. The Lighthouse Wind website says this:
In fact, according to rural appraisers, farm acreage with turbines often increases in value due to the stream of steady, long-term income the property generates by the harvesting of the wind.
Increases in property value does it? Who would possibly believe this lying garbage? If it's true the let Apex offer property value guarantees as part of their plan to back up their comments. But you know that will never happen. What about the value of farm acreage of non-participating adjacent neighbors? Where does that value go? When a wind factory devalues a person's property its known as an involuntary taking.
Removing non-functional turbines that will likely never operate again.
When the time comes for removal of the turbines I estimate they will cost $1M each to remove. The (3) 11+ ton blades are not worth anything in salvage and not recyclable. It's likely the project will then be owned by a foreign company that realizes that removal of the turbines is too costly and simply walk away from the project leaving the mess to the property owner to deal with. What happens then is obvious. The property owner can't afford the removal costs so the turbines sit there for decades rusting, stained with leaking oils and coolants, getting filthy, and becoming an even worse eyesore. Decades from now, long after were gone, your children's children will be asking about the Somerset and Yates town boards of 2015 - what were they thinking that created the wind factory graveyard! Where will the money come from to rid the community of these eyesores? Buffalo wind attorney Dan Spitzer reportedly said the land owner will be liable for damages and removal of the worn out turbines. The offspring of the lessors wouldn't even accept their parents property as a gift because of the liability of a wind turbine contaminating the land and the cost of removal.
Somerset has a beautiful historic lighthouse on Lake Ontario and adjacent state park that is a huge asset to the town and would be envied by many municipalities. This is a lovely rural agricultural community with nice farms and lucky to be situated along Lake Ontario's south shore. The character of this community will suddenly be vandalized by the invasion of wind turbines. When a wind factory is built - there will be new class of tourists coming to town. The new tourists will be rolling up and down Somerset's formerly quiet country roads looking at the 570' monuments to lunacy, the tallest turbines in NYS, stopping to pose their kids in front of the monstrosities for the mandatory Kodak moment before moving on to the next roads. These tourists aren't your normal tourists - these are gawker tourists - the same people that come to witness a crashed plane, train wreck, burned building or some other disaster - then go home satisfied. Now ask yourself - is this the kind of tourist you'd like visiting Somerset and Yates?
We have with us NYS wind factory historical data to support the fact that wind factories don't operate almost 75% of the time due to the intermittency of wind. Would you be satisfied if your home electric or automobile worked only 25% of the time? Wind energy is unacceptable.
What should the people of Somerset and Yates do?
- nominate and elect 3 anti-wind TB members from each town this fall
- If you are a seasonal resident - modify your Voter Registration to vote in Somerset or Yates next time, to be able to elect local anti-wind officials, to protect your property
- review the Lighthouse Wind project on Apex website
- send a letter to your town supervisor advising him of your opposition to the LW project and the reasons why you're against Lighthouse Wind
- If turbines infect your community - sue Apex and by all means sue the land owner.
- Support the SOS group in the fight against LW
What should the town boards of Somerset and Yates do?
- There are many things the towns can do right now to help themselves later on.
- both towns should officially reject this Apex wind factory and then pressure the county legislatures to do likewise and also pressure new state Senator Ortt and Assemblywoman Corwin to say NO to this project.
- pass a moratorium on wind energy until the town updates their wind zoning laws . The town wind ordinances are horribly out of date and very weak - especially noise and setbacks. Setbacks should be 1/2 mile minimum . They should have been given attention the moment Apex began sniffing around this area.
- refuse to sign a PILOT agreement of any kind (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) Why would anyone give an huge tax break to a project that desecrates their community?
- have the town planning boards get to work updating their wind zoning laws and pay particular attention to noise/health issues; property values and decommissioning. The PB should greatly strengthen noise parameters and define a maximum noise limit in decibels that can be measured with instruments. Review noise laws now on file in the towns of Castile, NY and Hammond, NY
- require Apex to leave $1M CASH in the hands of each town for decommissioning for each turbine installed and site cleanup. This requirement would also apply in the event of bankruptcy of the developer
- if the state siting board grants a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need allowing Apex to build this project - the towns should pursue this matter through the NYS court system vigorously. Article 10 has stolen home rule from the people of NYS
- Work to get the Somerset 675Mw AES Generating Station converted from coal to natural gas.
Unfortunately outright greed plays an important part of this scenario and Apex takes advantage of this weakness by luring greedy large land owners into signing leases that allow placement of the turbines on their property.
So who are the large land owners that have signed leases with Apex? Well lets name them right now. As of April 1, 2015 these Somerset people have signed leases with Apex according to the Niagara County clerk (dates after the names are the dates the leases were recorded with the count clerk):
Peter E. Forrestel 5/21/14
Barbara R. Eggert 5/21/14 alt Barbara R. Alt; related to Somerset Councilman Gary Alt?
Keith R. Rhodes 9/11/14
Sharon L Rhodes 9/11/14
John H. Voelpel 9/11/14
Jane M. Voelpel 9/11/14
Floyd E. Koerner Jr. 9/11/14
Marsha A. Koerner 9/11/14
Stephen B. Lee 9/11/14
Jenny A. Lee 9/11/14
Benjamin J. Atwater 12/9/14
Seth E. Atwater 12/9/14
Susan McNulty Atwater 12/9/14
Joseph C. Czelusta 12/9/14
Jacqueline K. Czelusta 12/9/14
Lyle M. Whitford 1/8/15
Priscilla P. Whitford 1/8/15
The Orleans County clerk responded to my FOIL request for Apex leases saying she did have 4 leases with Lighthouse Wind with these names:
Donna Rae Bane 4/9/15
Richard M. Austin 4/9/15
Barbara J. Austin 4/9/15
Gary L. Bayne II 4/9/15 2 leases
Faith A. Bayne 4/9/15
These are the Somerset & Yates land owners that have thrown their neighbors under the bus.
Folks - you don't know what you've got till it's gone. Somerset & Yates will become known as Turbinetown.
My comments from tonight's program will be found on the blog site - Beware NY Wind - the address is in the handout that will be passed out later.
Great Lakes Wind Truth
Town of Huron