Industrial Wind Turbines: Residents of Western New York deserve to know the other side

This piece appeared in the Buffalo News.

Residents of Western NY deserve to know this information regarding industrial wind farms before it's too late. Proponents of wind energy portray an image of a Walt Disney-like scenario with little downside to the environment, humans and wildlife. When in reality, they are more like a Hitchcock nightmare. After decades of industrial wind turbines in our own country (and countries all over the world), these proponents, blinded by the pursuit of green energy and money don't want the residents to know the real truth of the devastation and failures of these projects:

Do the residents know: The Lake Ontario proposed turbine project is calling for 55-70 wind turbines in a 17- mile stretch of our shoreline that are almost 60 stories high! That would be approximately one turbine per every quarter of a mile, including rumored placements in Golden Hill State Park. Imagine picturing historical landmarks, like the 30 mile point light house, accented by an almost 600-ft tall wind turbine! We are so fortunate to have this unique shoreline with its abundance of birds, fish, and wildlife right in our own backyard. Yet in the blind pursuit of green energy, we are ready to let outside companies come in and rape our countryside and environment. How can we decimate our pristine shoreline with these?

Do the residents know: The life expectancy of these turbines is very short, at only 15-20 years (approximately); after that, they sit rotting on our horizon. We have states right now that literally have thousands upon thousands of broken and worn out turbines that litter their countryside. We cannot ignore the history of the past of these broken, worn out turbines that now just sit and litter our landscape. 

Do the residents know: These turbines do not eliminate traditional forms of power generation. When the wind does not blow, we still need a consistent power source. We sit on one of the world's largest hydroelectric plants, which is renewable and nonpolluting (yet not considered green energy?); shouldn't we be asking why we aren't just expanding the capacity of our hydro plants? We also have a surplus of power in our area, as evidenced by the continued offer of free electricity to lure in new business. This power from the turbines is slated for downstate, not our area! We pay some of the highest taxes and power rates in the country; why do we need this source of power?  If this power is so sorely needed, let's expand our hydropower!

Do the residents know: These approximately 600-ft tall turbines would be placed in one of the largest bird flight paths in the country with counts as high as approximately 300,000 birds per day. These turbines wreak havoc on the bird population, especially the raptors and bat population. We have just now recognized resurgence in the American eagle population along our shoreline after decades of absence of these great birds. Birds traveling along this corridor would face about 70 turbines multiplied by 3 blades with blade tip speeds approaching 200 miles per hour. Depending on the revolutions per minute, birds would literally be flying into a death zone. These turbines affect not only the bird population, but many other forms of wildlife.

Do the residents know: There are immense health affects to humans. The constant noise pollution from the turbines has already been documented and the proponents, blinded by the pursuit of green energy, continue to hide the truth of this! Last year, in New York State alone, there were multiple law suits that either halted these wind farms, or sought damages based on the negative health effects to humans, wildlife, and the environment. The other major factor in the detriment of human health is the flicker effect. These approximately 60-story high turbines cast shadows of approximately up mile (see for data), and the constant alternating of light and shadow, along with the constant reflection of the sun when the blades rotate, is like a Chinese water torture except with light. 

Do the residents know: Aside from the health and environmental issues, huge property devaluation awaits them. Do our local leaders realize the immense loss of the tax base from these devaluations? It doesn't take a genius to realize, that if your house is next to one of the 60-story tall turbines, the number of people willing to purchase your home will decline significantly and the only remedy is to keep lowering the price to make it saleable. There is serious documentation of declining property values that have already taken place, but the proponents of wind farms hide this from you. Residents and political leaders cannot ignore these proven realities. 

Do the residents know: The companies proposing these industrial wind farms have a history of going into towns and portraying all the supposed good that these turbines contribute, then sell off the leases and walk away, leaving land owners with a broken trust, and a new company to deal with.

Do the residents know: .The extreme damage done to the environment just with the construction and maintenance of these turbines? Huge foundation holes dug deep into the subsurface affect water tables, ground water flow, and well water. We are prohibited from putting concrete on our shoreline because of the pollutants; yet the underground water flow will pass over immense mountains of concrete, and flow into our lake. Service roads are installed, tearing up and dividing property. Security teams patrolling at all hours, and owners of the land being restricted on their own property. 

Do the residents know: Other tight knit communities, like ours, have been torn apart when the true realities of the turbine come to the surface. How can our political leaders turn a blind eye to these realities? They need to halt these industrial wind turbines, do the research, and protect our health, our environment, and our wildlife. 

APR 5 2015
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