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Another Voice: Let's be serious about protecting military bases

By John Droz Jr.

There appears to be universal agreement that New York’s military bases should be preserved – not only because they are large employers, but because of their role in defending our national security.

Unfortunately, we now have a situation where state leaders talk the talk, but very few actually walk the walk. The wind energy matter has exposed the reality that when financial enticements and political agendas are introduced, common sense departs.

In the next Base Closure and Realignment Commission review, when any military facility’s mission or operational readiness has been compromised for any reason (e.g. turbine interference), then it’s much more likely the base will be reduced or moved.

The people in Rome thought that this would never happen to an important, major SAC facility like Griffiss Air Base – Oneida County’s largest employer – but now it’s gone. Same for the Plattsburgh base.

As a physicist and energy expert, I want to see our energy policies based on real science. As of now, they are not. Instead our energy policies are written by special-interest lobbyists, who couldn’t care less about science, citizens or the military.

There has never been a genuine scientific assessment concluding that industrial wind energy is a net societal benefit. Now consider that there is significant evidence from independent experts that wind energy is a net technical, economic and environmental liability.

Knowing that, why would unscientific, lobbyist-driven turbines be allowed to negatively impact any military facility?

There are reasonable things we can do to fix this. Surprisingly, none has been fully and properly implemented.

• Military personnel must speak more candidly to local leaders about wind energy caused problems.

• High-level retired military people should defend these military facilities.

• All counties should pass a wind anti-PILOT resolution.

• All county IDAs must do a comprehensive and objective financial evaluation of proposed wind projects.

• Towns should pass a superior quality protective wind ordinance.

• Fix the Department of Defense Siting Clearinghouse process. Three critical changes are needed.

• State legislators need to pass something like Senate bill 1755, sponsored by Sen. Robert Ortt, R-North Tonawanda.

• State agencies must do their job. Regarding wind energy, no state agency fully complies with its mission.

• We need to do a much better job of genuinely and sensibly working together to protect our rights.

It’s our choice: Fully and quickly adopt most of these recommendations – and others – or have our rights and national security inexorably eroded away.

John Droz Jr. is a physicist living in Brantingham Lake.

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