Environmentalists opposed to a proposed wind farm project in New York state claim the lobbying firm involved in the project has a serious conflict of interest.
Cassidy and Associates, the lobbying firm hired by the company to build the wind farm, is also working for the state of New Jersey to relocate a military base to the Garden State, activists told National Public Radio. The wind farm may make it harder for the U.S. Air Force to operate its base, which is currently located in upstate New York.
The environmental group Save Ontario Shores says the relationship “doesn’t pass the smell test,” and poses a threat to the future of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. Activists worry that the turbines could make it hard for Air Force planes to land at the base, ultimately causing the military to close it.
The military base is a critical part of the local economy, bringing in $200 million a year and employing over 2,600 people. The Pentagon previously attempted to shut down the base or scale back operations.
Cassidy and Associates totally denies the conflict of interest and claims that the turbines will not be a threat to Air Force aviation near the base.
Environmentalists are increasingly turning against wind power at the local level. Even in comparatively progressive places like Vermont or Great Britain, wind farms tend to be aggressively opposed by local residents.
Major environmental groups like the Center For Biological Diversity have a long history of pursuing legal action against “green” development, like wind turbines or solar farms, which it believes encroach on animal habitats and kill tens of thousands of birds.
One of most common complaints about wind turbines by local residents is that they cause “flickering” when the sun is behind their blades. This is generally agreed to be incredibly annoying and there’s evidence that it can cause headaches, sleep disorders, anxiety and depression symptoms in people who live nearby.
Environmentalists are already concerned about how wind turbines and the batteries required to back them up use materials like cobalt, nickel, molybdenum, and highly purified silicon. All of these materials must be mined, refined and manufactured. The industrial processes required to build solar panels and wind turbines could also potentially contaminate the environment.
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