Hundreds protest unwanted energy in the Town of Somerset

SOMERSET, N.Y. (WIVB) — Too big and too close, that’s what hundreds of people living in Niagara and Orleans counties are saying about a new wind turbine proposal.

For the past two years, the communities of Somerset and Yates have been in turmoil caused by a proposal to build a wind energy project by Apex Clean Energy. The proposal would add 70 600 foot tall wind turbines on the town’s waterfront.

“They certainly don’t belong in any area where there are numerous residences, obviously that is a city type height and it changes the landscape forever,” said Stacy Pellicano, resident.

Apex Clean Energy said the project will create 200 megawatts of clean, homegrown energy for up to 53,000 western New York homes.

Residents say they are concerned about potential health risks.

“There’s a lot of studies that indicate that the infra-sound carries quite a big impact with regards to sleep disturbance and health,” said Pellicano.

Opponents say the wind turbines would also be an eyesore. Each wind turbine would be taller than the One Seneca Tower in downtown Buffalo and even taller than the Washington Monument.

“Right now there is nothing on land this tall, the tallest wind turbine you’re going to see anywhere is about maybe 400-450 feet tall, something this size is normally offshore,” said Pam Atwater, President of Save Ontario Shores, Inc.

Over 500 residents from Niagara and Orleans county protested the proposal Thursday night and they had one message for Governer Cuomo.

“To make sure that the decisions about where these projects are located are made on Main street not in Albany,” said Dennis Vacco, former NYS Attorney General.

“This is something that we feel is very wrong for our community and we’re not going to be quiet about it,” said Atwater.

Opponents are demanding Apex withdraw their project immediately.

News 4 reached out to Apex Clean Energy for a statement, the company issued this statement:

“Lighthouse Wind, along with its parent company – Apex Clean Energy, is focused on America’s shift to clean energy sources and the State of New York’s renewable energy goal of 50% by 2030. We are strengthened by our rigorous support in the community from hardworking residents who see the importance of wind power for the community’s economic vitality and well-being. Wind energy is a drought-resistant crop that will help farms remain sustainable and bring needed revenue into the localities and schools. We encourage the silent majority to dig deeper for factual and well-researched  findings. Assertions of an impact to NFARS are baseless. The Article 10 process is a new process that requires thoughtful research and studies over multiple years to develop the best project possible with opportunities for public comment throughout.  Until those studies are complete and we submit the final application, there is no project to be judged and accusations are premature.”

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