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Letter: Wind turbines would not pose threats to Lake Erie

In full disclosure, I am acquiring a windmill on our farm in Orleans County, as part of the Apex Project in the town of Barre. My research into the environmental impacts of this wind farm has been exhaustive. Additionally, my years of European travel have allowed me to visit wind farms in several countries.

With this background, I must respond to the charter fishing captain’s opposition to the Lake Erie project, in Bill Hilts’ recent column.

Captain Jim Hanley questions the unknown impacts of the wind project on avian mortality, ice destruction and fish spawning. Yet each of these concerns is always routinely addressed and closely monitored by the EPA and other government agencies.

Hanley also is concerned that the tower construction will dig up toxic sediments. Well, the Hudson River and our own Buffalo River were dredged to remove heavy metals and dioxins to provide a cleanup – not a dispersal. The same detritus, when examined, can tell us the real quantity of poisons in our offshore lake beds, without guessing.

Hanley also said that Lake Erie formerly was a “dead lake caused by pollutants.” Lake Erie does have several “dead” zones, but these are due primarily to phosphorus microbes and algae.

I’ve done quite a bit of fishing and generally speaking, fish hang around structures, whether bridges or underwater wrecks. We have a half-sunk barge at the Peace Bridge and the Niagara River always has been a great place to fish.

Finally, we need to move away from fossil fuels and the discharge of heavy metals – whether by air or water. Our president has gutted more than 80 environmental regulations, many of which affect us locally. In fact, studies have shown that several thousand of us will die earlier from cancer and pulmonary diseases due to such cuts. If more humans will be thus affected, what do you think the toxins will do to the fish?

Joseph N. Weiss, Ph.D.


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