CITIZEN PARTICIPATION NEEDED: COMMENTS ON PROPOSED APEX LIGHTHOUSE WIND PROJECT DUE BY MAY 9, 2018

The proposed Apex Lighthouse Wind Project stipulations  were issued by the New York State Department of Public Service (DPS) and Apex on March 6, 2018.  Any person, agency or municipality may submit comments on the proposed stipulations.  The procedure for submitting comments is listed at the end of this article.

The majority of the project is within two miles of the Lake Ontario shoreline which is why the RBA is involved and concerned.  RBA published a position paper in 2007 which clearly states that our organization is not opposed to wind power but states that proper siting is crucial to minimizing impacts to birds.  This project is in the internationally important migratory pathway of hundreds of bird species.

The Rochester Birding Association (RBA) will restate our objections to the limited studies done to determine impacts on birds.  RBA is working with the POWER consortium and will also continue to work with Genesee Valley Audubon as a Party on record.  It is important to have members of RBA also comment as individuals on the proposed stipulations.

Your comments can make a difference.  If you have been involved in any long term studies of birds and bird migration along the Lake Ontario shoreline or if you regularly submit to ebird let Apex and DPS know.  More importance should be placed on data from long term or ongoing studies than on Apex’s brief point in time studies.

There are thirty four topics (Exhibits) but the most important one for birds is Terrestrial Ecology (Exhibit 22) and the Appendices: Winter Raptor Survey Protocol; Avian and Eagle Protocol; and the Avian and Bat Plan.  These documents can be linked to here by clicking on the appropriate blue underlined text.

Any person, agency or municipality may submit comments on the proposed stipulations by emailing Taylor Quarles at [email protected] (Apex) and by filing a copy with the Secretary to the Siting Board (Hon. Kathleen H. Burgess at [email protected]).  Comments are due by May 9, 2018.  Be sure to include the Case Number: 14-F-0485 in your correspondence.

Your comments make a difference.  Comments made at earlier stages of this project have strengthened the process and made it clear to the State that they needed to hold Apex responsible for following the public participation process. We need to continue to express our concerns.

Additional information:

Lighthouse Wind, LLC (Lighthouse), a subsidiary of Apex, proposes to construct a commercial-scale wind power project located within the Town of Somerset, Niagara County, and the Town of Yates, Orleans County, New York. Construction would consist of  up to 70 approximately 600 foot tall wind turbines producing up to 201 megawatts (MW) of wind energy, electric lines connecting the turbines to each other and to the electrical network, access roads, meteorological towers, an operation and maintenance building, a collection substation, and temporary construction staging areas.

RBA has been involved in challenging Apex’s science since 2015 and has been a Party since 2016.  RBA worked with other environmental organizations for two years to try to make sure the scope of studies included in the application would adequately document the use of the Lake Ontario shoreline by many species of birds. The majority of our concerns were dismissed or never answered even when they had agreed to do so. We were involved by the DEC as they worked to create stronger policy which was then agreed to by Apex.  The only other concern acknowledged  was that they would review other data sets including citizen collected long term datasets from various sources including ebird, breeding bird surveys, the migratory stop over study and long term public records from Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA), and the Braddock Bay Bird Observatory (BBBO).

Thus far, the only Parties who have agreed to the stipulations are state agencies: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), New York State Department of Public Service (DPS), the New York State Department of Health (DOH), and New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM).  The parties which sign the proposed stipulations agree that the studies outlined in the proposed stipulations constitute all the necessary studies concerning the subject matter of the topic and that the Apex will not be requested to provide additional studies, except as provided for in the proposed stipulations.

The other Parties including the Town of Somerset, the Town of Yates, Save Ontario Shores, Genesee Valley Audubon Society, and RBA have not yet signed off on the stipulations and are unlikely to do so.  Any party which decides not to sign off on the stipulations may raise objections at the hearing as to the methodology or scope of any study performed in compliance with a topic.

The full text of the proposed stipulations, named the “Proposed Lighthouse Wind Stipulations for Publication” and dated February 26, 2018, is available at the Department of Public Service website, located at NYSDPS-DMM:  Case Number: 14-F-0485.

 

 

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