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Supporters, opponents of Lake Erie wind farm speak out

Thomas O'Neil-White

A discussion of a proposed wind farm in Lake Erie took center stage in the Erie County Legislature chamber on Thursday. The request was made by legislators Lynne Dixon and John Mills, both of whom oppose the installation of wind turbines off the shore of the lake in the Town of Evans.

Earlier in the day, in front of the Rath Building, environmental groups voiced their support of the wind farm. Citizens Campaign for the Environment Executive Director Brian Smith said the Great Lakes have suffered from previous energy choices, particularly from fossil fuels.

“Wind power creates zero emissions at the point of production, helps to fight climate change,” he said. “And ultimately can create numerous jobs for our community.”

Erie County Fisheries Advisory Board member Rich Davenport said much and more has been done to repair the damage done to the lake in decades past.

“Over the last 50 years, with the billions of dollars spent, and the efforts from conservationists, environmentalists, the New York State DEC and the EPA has turned this lake around 180 degrees,” he said. “From a dead lake in 1970, to perhaps the greatest fresh water fishery and healthiest of the lakes on the planet today.”

Credit Thomas O'Neil-White
Environmentalist groups standing outside Rath building in support of the wind farms.

Davenport said the power generated by the turbines would only be intermittent because of the intermittent nature of wind.

Both sides stressed the environmental pros and cons of the turbines, yet there was no formal vote on the matter. A return date has yet to be specified.

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