Residents in Somerset and Yates recently received another deceitful sales brochure from Apex. Apex's newest mailing suggests that industrializing your entire town with wind factories is so wonderful that "communities with the actual experience of living amongst windfarms have repeatedly chosen to invite additional projects into their backyards."
That is simply not true!
I live in Wyoming County, one of the counties referenced in Apex's windy disinformation campaign. Consider the facts Apex's mailer failed to include.
Wyoming County was originally slated to have over 2,000 industrial wind turbines sprawling throughout our entire 16-town county. Contrary to Apex's claims that those living amongst "windfarms" invite more in, many Wyoming County citizens got involved and fought hard against the senseless industrialization of our beautiful area. Thus, the destruction caused by industrial wind sprawl in Wyoming County has been limited to 308 industrial wind turbines (308 too many!) sprawling throughout five towns on the west side of the Warsaw Valley.
Wyoming County’s most recent project was built in Orangeville in 2013, only after a seven-year battle between many Orangeville citizens, their conflicted Town Board and the out-of-state Big Wind LLC, Invenergy. Invenergy went ahead with building the project only after the federal taxpayer-funded Wind Production Tax Credit, which pays $23 per megawatt-hour produced to Big Wind LLCs, was passed by Congress for the seventh time in the December 2012 fiscal cliff deal.
Apex also quoted Town of Sheldon Supervisor Brian Becker in its mailer, while failing to mention the fact that the Becker family are leaseholders in the Sheldon project. Becker’s personal financial interests are clear. Those who are elected to public office are supposed to be serving the health, safety and welfare of all of their citizens, not using their positions to shamelessly serve their own "financial success" at the expense of their fellow citizens and all New York State taxpayers and ratepayers.
Let's consider other pesky little facts that Apex (and Supervisor Becker) forgot to mention regarding the wind mess in Wyoming County, including, but not limited to:
1.) The "no town tax" deal only lasts a few years (i.e., Sheldon’s town taxes are now being reinstated), while school and county taxes have always been due.
2.) The Wyoming County tax rate has skyrocketed by over 85 percent since the first, relatively tiny project was built in Wethersfield in 2000, while the population of Wyoming County has simultaneously declined — both in direct correlation with the building of wind factories in Wyoming County.
3.) Real estate values are significantly negatively impacted within the footprints of the wind factories. Properties in Orangeville are selling well below their assessed values, if they sell at all. Many have ended up going to auction.
4.) Few, if any, meaningful permanent jobs have been created in Wyoming County thanks to industrial wind.
5.) Complete and utter civil discord is the only thing that’s been reliably generated by wind factories.
6.) Lawsuits persist.
7.) Wind factories are not paying their fair share of taxes. As New York State Comptroller DiNapoli stated, generous Payment In Lieu Of Tax agreements "shift the burden of taxation on to local residents and small businesses."
8.) Nobody is getting "free" or reduced rate electricity in Wyoming County. In fact, New York state already has some of the highest rates in the nation, in large part due to the tens of billions of taxpayer and ratepayer dollars Governor Cuomo has thrown into the wind.
9.) Habitat fragmentation (cited as one of the main reasons for species decline worldwide) associated with the miles and miles of industrial sprawl, access roads associated with wind factories, and all the added transmission lines that must be run to New York City, where the power is actually needed in the state, has forever destroyed “the sense of place” that Wyoming County was famous for.
10.) Negative impacts from wind turbine-related noise and "infrasound" have driven a number of people from their homes. (See: https://tinyurl.com/y8kas85k ) In fact, New York State officials acknowledged they knew problems associated with "infrasound" have been documented worldwide back in 2009. Yet, nine years later and the very officials charged with protecting our health, safety and welfare still have not required any independent health studies to assure the protection of citizens, while continuing to allow ludicrous placement of this giant moving machinery only hundreds of feet from peoples’ homes.
All of the negative realities listed above are even more infuriating when one understands the fact that the diffuse energy of wind provides no firm capacity, and therefore, can not replace our reliable, dispatchable baseload power generation sources that do. Instead, wind must have constant shadow capacity to cover for its' inherent volatility and unreliability on the grid (typically natural gas). Thus, wind is just a redundant source that Big Wind CEO Patrick Jenevein candidly admitted, "makes consumers double-payers for the same product."
Industrial wind is simply an assault on all New York state taxpayers, ratepayers and our environment for what is a massive consumer fraud. It’s long past time that these Big Wind bullies hit the road.
Mary Kay Barton resides at Silver Lake, Wyoming County.