It’s a heated climate for area energy debates


On June 12, I was in attendance for the town of Portland board meeting. I felt a sense of pride to think that this was the very foundation of our democratic government.

A set of six people making rules for the majority by gathering information and making decisions. The sales representative from EWT Wind Co., based in the Netherlands, laid out a plan to install 10 industrial wind turbines in the town of Portland. His company is new and small.

They have only done two installations in the U.S. with no real track record. Apparently they are not wanted in European countries.

The company presented a beginning plan of installation, but only promises for the decommissioning and demolition when the wind turbines reached their 20- to 30-year life span. The $2 million for their installation was presented as a community benefit.

This would not be in the form of parks, or bridges or social programs, but in the design and construction of the towers themselves and the infrastructure they would need on the land to operate, (i.e. ditches, huge cement blocks in the earth). So I can’t see how the community would be any the richer by having them constructed. The board was asked to vote on these structures without an Environmental Impact Study or a thorough investigation into how the folks in the immediate area of the wind turbines thought they would impact their lives. So the board will be rather blind in these areas.

Mark Twitchell, a former health professional, gave facts and figures about the health impacts of wind turbines based on his 10 years of study. He also presented a comprehensive study of the financial deficits wind turbines bring to a community.

Karen Engstrom also presented scientific information on the green energy aspects, revealing that there was very little actual energy produced by the wind turbines. In this regard, Councilman Rick Manzella brought up the question of what other choices did we have in terms of not getting energy from fossil fuels. Nuclear was suggested as the most popular alternative, but no mention was made of the insidious waste problem. Hydropower also was suggested. No one talked about the possibility of every citizen using less energy as a means to help solve this dilemma. Climate change seemed to be accepted as a fact of common knowledge.

So it will be left to this dedicated group of representatives to determine if the lake plain will now be dotted with industrial wind turbines. If so, the dots will surely spread as the company expands into other communities until our lake shore has lost all its pastoral and tranquil qualities.

Mankind has an innate need to be in nature. We are nature. One of our very strongest resources in Chautauqua County is the beauty and serenity of its nature. Industrial wind turbines violate this nature. The board will decide if a few people who own the land and sign the secret contracts, will have the power to change the air around us, impact the earth and allow for health hazards to prevail for all of us.

Diane K. Clark is a Fredonia resident and Portland taxpayer.