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Letter: Collins must stop trying to halt Lighthouse Wind

Collins must stop trying to halt Lighthouse Wind

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s recent town hall meeting in Buffalo highlighted the differences between our local elected federal officials. Our senator is reaching out in public forums across the state to find out what our issues are. Rep. Chris Collins refuses to hold meetings with local voters, especially in a town hall setting.

Since he does not consult with the people, and he is not a member of a House committee reviewing the military, one has to question the motives of his proposed Protection of Military Airfields from Wind Turbine Encroachment Act. As the leaders at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station state, wind turbines (such as the proposed Lighthouse Wind project in Somerset) are not an issue to operations at the base. Otherwise, why would the military give the air base a new mission, as it did in June?

In fact, wind turbines are in much closer proximity to Fort Drum in Watertown, with no operational issues, because military and civilian reviews are required for all wind projects prior to final approval.

Gillibrand, however, is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. She knows that the military has a 20 percent renewable energy goal, including wind power, by 2020. I would like to see Gillibrand sponsor a bill to exceed this 20 percent goal with targeted funding under the military budget.

Military experts expressing their support at hearings for such a bill would go a long way to dispel the logic for the copycat legislation, started by Collins, which has gone down through all levels of government (even the Erie County Legislature).

Let’s listen to the Department of Defense. It continues to follow its “Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap.” The roadmap does not consider wind power as a threat to military operations, but sees climate change as a top national security issue.

John S. Szalasny

Williamsville

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