OSWEGO COUNTY – At its last meeting of the year, on December 9, the County Legislature introduced and passed a resolution opposing the siting of wind turbines in Lake Ontario, particularly on the east bank.
Here is this resolution which sets out the objections, concerns and complaints of the legislature. The resolution presents both economic and environmental arguments against the siting of wind turbines in the lake. Perhaps the chief complaint would be that no government official from any of the counties bordering Lake Ontario was consulted about the study. The nearly year-long study is expected to end at the end of this month. Although calls were made to many county officials and NYSERDA, the agency overseeing the study, no one was available for comment, most likely due to the holidays. Therefore, this article will be followed by these comments. For the moment, here is the resolution which, although it has no legal value, serves to express the concern of the legislator as to the possibility of such a development.
December 9, 2021 by lawmaker Tim Stahl
RESOLUTION OPPOSING THE PROPOSAL OF THE NEW YORK ENERGY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (NYSERDA) TO FACILITATE THE LOCATION OF WIND TOWERS (WIND PROJECT OFF THE GREAT LAKES) IN LAKE ONTARIO
WHEREAS NYSERDA has been commissioned by the New York State Civil Service Commission (Commission) to conduct a feasibility study for the development of offshore wind energy in the Great Lakes adjacent to New York State ; and
WHEREAS the Commission requests NYSERDA to conduct a Great Lakes Wind Energy Feasibility Study to examine environmental, maritime, economic and social issues as well as market barriers and costs of wind development in the Great Lakes as an important step towards assessing the value and viability of this potential resource; and
WHEREAS NYSERDA has hired three contractors to perform the various analyzes including the Great Lakes Wind Feasibility Study which began in February 2021 and is expected to be completed by the end of this year; and
WHEREAS the topics covered by the study included a review of environmental conditions, regulatory processes, available technologies, network interconnectivity, port use and business opportunities, current lake uses and impacts social, among others; and
WHEREAS, to our knowledge, no local government representative from any community along the shore of Lake Ontario in Oswego and possibly other riparian counties has been contacted directly by any of the NYSERDA contractors and asked about this initiative and its potential impacts on their communities; and
WHEREAS NYSERDA’s maps of potential sites for said wind turbines include significant portions of the scenic and economically and environmentally sensitive shore of Lake Ontario in Oswego County; and
WHEREAS the public presentations detailing the studies carried out reveal that no significant consideration has been given to the impact of these installations on the tens of thousands of raptors whose annual migration corridor will be littered with these deadly structures; and
WHEREAS New York State, local communities and small business owners across the Lake Ontario shoreline have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to develop and participate in a world-class fishery visited each year by anglers at the line of all America and the whole world, and
WHEREAS the existence of electromagnetic fields surrounding submarine transmission cables is known to disrupt the migratory patterns of various aquatic species, but presentations by NYSERDA and its consultants also reveal that no effort has been made to examine these impacts on king salmon, Atlantic salmon or coho salmon or any other game fish that are the basis of the Lake Ontario fishery; and
WHEREAS the said project will have a negative impact on many landowners, owners and businesses in Oswego County, including potential effects on real estate values, scenic views, quality of life and the tourism industry, hospitality and leisure; and
WHEREAS the economies of New York State and Oswego County are heavily dependent on Lake Ontario sport fishing and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation estimates the “economic contribution of all spending for Sport Fishing ”in Oswego County (2017) to approximately $ 192,734,697 and support nearly 1,000 jobs; and
WHEREAS the areas of Lake Ontario that are proposed for these turbines are among the best sport fishing areas in the lake and it is highly likely that there will be extensive restrictions on the use of the waters surrounding the proposed turbines, and
WHEREAS, in the areas proposed for the tours of Lakes Erie and Ontario, there are numerous submerged cultural resources for which the State of New York is responsible for protecting and providing access to the public under the Abandoned Shipwreck Act of 1987, and that the construction of wind towers will likely limit access to these historic resource sites for research and recreation purposes, and may pose a threat of destruction to these resources, and
AND WHEREAS the proposed wind tower construction areas directly abut the Eastern Lake Ontario dune, barrier and wetland system, which has been identified as a “unique and irreplaceable” natural coastal area by the Department of State of New York State, and designated a Natural Heritage Area by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and such construction could have significant and unknown negative impacts on the natural process that maintains this scarce natural coastal resource; and
WHEREAS no municipality in the County of Oswego will benefit from financial advantages, as the facilities will be exempt from local property taxes; and
WHEREAS the project will require the construction of transmission facilities which would result in a negative economic impact on tourist destinations due to the effect on scenic views and, depending on their location, could also negatively affect the farming community; and
AND WHEREAS Oswego County does not wish to be the location of an experimental offshore wind tower technology which we believe will have significant negative environmental and economic impacts.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Oswego County Legislature encourage and welcome job-creating economic development projects, business expansions and new businesses in the county that are consistent with the values of our communities, improve the quality of life and pose no danger to the unique characteristics of this county that we all cherish, but we believe this project is incompatible with our community goals and therefore strongly oppose the plans of the NYSERDA and the Civil Service Commission to place wind turbines anywhere in Lake Ontario, but particularly in the Eastern Lake Basin; and let it be further
BE IT RESOLVED that the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly forward copies of this resolution to Governor Kathy Hochul, State Senator Patti Ritchie, Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay, MP Brian Manktelow, State Senator Pamela Helming, State Senator Samra G. Brouk, State Senator Jeremy A Cooney, State Senator Robert G. Ortt, MP Jennifer Lunsford, MP Sarah Clark, MP Steve Hawley , MP Josh Jensen, MP Michael Norris, MP Mark Walczyk, Basil Seggos, Commissioner, NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation; Richard L. Kauffman, President of NYSERDA, Rory M. Christian, President and CEO of the NYS Civil Service Commission, elected leaders of all Lake Ontario and Lake Erie counties and NYSAC.