Some western New Yorkers spent their Saturday in Chautauqua County standing up for Lake Erie.
“Put him on the land, there’s plenty of land to put turbines on and we just don’t need them in the waters there’s no reason for it,” said Jim Hanley, who remembers a polluted Lake Erie when he was a kid in the 1950s and 1960s.
He does not want to see the lake like that again and so does not support a proposed wind turbine farm project that would bring dozens of wind turbines to Lake Erie.
“They want to take these massive concrete bases and put them on the bottom of the lake. They’re going to stir up that pollution and they’re going to interfere with Buffalo’s water system, with all the pollution that’s been there,” Hanley said.
Hanley spoke at a Defend Lake Erie rally Saturday in Irving, hosted by an advocacy group called Citizens Against Wind Turbines in Lake Erie. Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello kicked off the rally by warning people not to be fooled by the project.
“It is the biggest investment scam of the 21st century and we will be left holding the bag, as will our children,” Borrello said.
Other speakers mentioned concerns about how the area’s drinking water could be contaminated if the turbines are installed. They suspect more birds could die after they collide with the 450-foot tall structures. They even believe property values for places along the shore could also be impacted.
“This is an issue so harmful to the aesthetics of this area, to the environment of this area, and to really what we’ve seen [as] the reclamation of this lake [and] the revitalization of our water,” said State Senator Chris Jacobs.
Those in favor of the project rallied in Buffalo last month, saying the turbines will support and provide clean energy, create jobs, and stimulate the economy. But the dozens who came out Saturday say that’s not the case.
“I’m so excited to see that we’re banning together along the shoreline because that’s what’s it’s going to take; it’s all of us working together, not Democrats, Republicans, I’m talking everybody because we all have a vested interest in this,” said Mary Hosler, the town of Evans supervisor.
“We just don’t want to see Lake Erie destroyed,” Hanley said.
The group plans to take their fight to Albany.