Rally attendees send message opposing offshore wind turbines

A number of protesters voice their concerns over possible turbines in Lake Erie.

IRVING – Lake Erie sparkled in the distance Saturday as roughly 200 people gathered on the patio of Cabana Sam’s to send a message – offshore wind turbines are not welcome in this area.

Elected officials, waterway organization representatives and impassioned residents attended the Rally to Save Lake Erie in Sunset Bay. For over an hour, speakers slammed proponents of wind turbines in the lake, arguing the mammoth structures will have an extreme impact on the ecosystem, as well as the economy.

“This is really about us pushing back against this secret agenda that’s happening right now,” Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello, who hosted the event, said. “We’ve heard that this Diamond Generating Corp. came to the town of Evans with the idea of blanketing our beautiful Lake Erie with industrial wind turbines, but we’ve heard no other details and we have to stand up. This is nothing but an investment scam that is supported by Wall Street investment firms that figured out a long time ago, this is a guaranteed return courtesy of the taxpayers, and it’s supported by corrupt politicians who are selling the idea they are somehow doing something about climate change.”

Erie County Legislator John Mills explained he and his colleagues in the Legislature formulated a resolution to prevent putting wind turbines in Lake Erie. He noted there needs to be a permanent moratorium on these structures in the lake so the environment cannot be disturbed any more than it already has been.

“We’ve got to get on the bandwagon with this and stay on the bandwagon because this reared its ugly head 10 years ago, and now it’s back again,” he added. “Do not disturb our freshwater, period. It’s really simple.”

Many of the speakers spoke about the harmful effects offshore wind turbines can have on waterfowl, birds, fish and Mother Nature as a whole. They contended the world’s largest freshwater supply – the Great Lakes – should remain off-limits to construction.

East Aurora resident Mary Henson, who discovered the Citizens Against Wind Turbines in Lake Erie Facebook group, attended an Erie County Legislature meeting in which the Sierra Club presented on the benefits of wind turbines being built in the water. She said she was disgusted by what she heard.

“So yes, Sierra Club, in an instant, you have changed my opinion of you as I once admired and supported you,” she read from an essay she wrote after attending the meeting. “Your founder, John Muir, is turning over in his grave, spinning like a turbine. You have aligned with money and politics and have become wind power puppets. Letting power companies manipulate young adults and brainwashing them using bully tactics and aggression … is disturbing and evil.”

Jim Hanley, who operates Jim Hanley’s charters at Sturgeon Point, pointed out the concern is not a partisan issue, since people from across the political spectrum attended the rally. He argued the fragile fisheries will be destroyed by the construction of these turbines.

Rich Davenport, secretary for the Western New York Environmental Federation and recording secretary for the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, closed out the rally by reminding people how much

work was poured into Lake Erie to revive it after being declared dead in 1970 from all the industrial pollution. Lake Erie is now the No. 1 great lake for sportfishing, and with that designation comes a windfall of economic stimulation, Davenport added.


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