By James C. Hoffman
The Apex “forum” on the proposed Lighthouse Wind Project held last month at Lyndonville High School was a staged propaganda event. It was an effort to indoctrinate the public and suppress comment and reaction. It was the culmination of a monthlong barrage of mailings intended to convince a community overwhelmingly opposed to the project of the benefits of an industrial wind turbine complex.
The project is illegal per town laws in Somerset and Yates. These laws were carefully crafted to protect our citizens and the surrounding environment. Lighthouse Wind therefore cannot be approved for construction in the proposed form without the Article 10 siting board nullifying town law.
The 47 wind turbines, 591 feet tall, will dominate the landscape of Somerset and Yates. They will be visible for miles in the flat topography of the area.
It was apparent that Apex is in denial and completely tone-deaf over the numerous negative aspects surrounding Lighthouse Wind. Noise, shadow flicker, bird/bat kill, infrasound, degradation of property values and health issues were totally ignored. We were told how silent the proposed wind turbines will be. The countless complaints of excessive noise from those who live among the turbines in other active industrial wind turbine complexes were ignored.
It is noteworthy that the turbine model selected, the Vestas V150 4.2, produces a sound power level of 104.9dB(A). per manufacturers' specifications. This is equivalent to the noise generated by a chainsaw and is damaging to the human ear.
Apex’s vice president of environmental compliance and permitting spoke and continued to ignore the existence of a letter addressed to him in May 2015 from U.S. Fish and Wildlife. This letter was a recap of a meeting he attended, warning of the severe effects Lighthouse Wind will have on bird and bat migration. Also recommended was a 3-mile setback of the industrial turbines from the Lake Ontario shore.
Our town laws contain these recommendations. Apex is ignoring them. With respect to bird kill, using the figures quoted of a national average three to five fatalities per megawatt per year, it can be expected that between 16,000 and 30,000 bird kills will occur over 30 years.
It is past time that Apex cease all activity related to Lighthouse Wind. The power is not needed, the power is not clean, and the project as proposed violates local law.
Residents realizing all the negatives associated with industrial wind turbines have overwhelmingly voted to keep them out of our community numerous times. We do not want to leave an unhealthy, polluted, distorted, noisy, bird carcass-littered landscape to future generations.
James C. Hoffman, who spent eight years as chairman of the Somerset Town Planning Board, is a member of Save Ontario Shores, an advocacy group.