Community residents standing up as energy company moves forward with turbine proposal


TOWN OF YATES — In The Towns of Yates and Somerset, in Niagara County, signs line the rural streets, one reads “No Wind Turbines” while others, the opposite “Harvest the Wind.” It’s an ongoing debate which has pitted neighbors and family members against each other.

“This project has shaken up this community,” said Dan Engert, the Town Supervisor for Somerset.

“They like to keep us in the dark as much as possible,” said John Riggi, a councilman for the Town of Yates.

He is staunchly opposed to the Apex Clean Energy project which is proposed in his area and he’s been fighting against it.

“It’s not cheap to fight a multi-billion dollar company for our land.”

Riggi feels he didn’t have much of a say in the company moving in but that’s why he is speaking up now and has continued to be a strong voice in the rural community.

“We’re really concerned about the slippery slope we’re going down right now in terms of loss of home rule.”

The councilman and past president of Save Ontario Shores says the turbines would disrupt the rural community.

“We’re concerned about the bird flyways, the physical dangers to birds and bats, the impact on the land, ecology, and the quality of life for people here,” said Riggi.

“It’s crystal clear that the community is overwhelming opposed to the transformation of our town into an industrial wind farm,” said Somerset’s supervisor.

A 2015 study, conducted by S.O.S., shows 77.9% of town residents are opposed to turbines coming into the area. The residents report they don’t know a lot about the project including how tall the turbines will be, how many will be there, who the leaseholders are, when they’ll be going in, and if they’ll actually receive any benefits for generating energy.

Now that Apex has submitted stipulations to the state, the stakeholders are steadily standing up against the company, saying they will not enter into stipulations; instead, they’ll fight and show studies revealing impacts of wind farms in communities like theirs.

“I think I speak for many people around here when I say – the gloves are off.”

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