APEX claims opposition to its Lighthouse wind project is coming from outside groups as it hires a DC-based PR firm to change minds. Good luck with that. Our NY friends know the ropes, have dealt with these types more than once. Apex is now prowling in Ohio, will the same dirty tactics be used here?….
POLITICO New York
Opposition mounts to large‐scale Western New York wind farm
By SCOTT WALDMAN | Apr 05, 2016
ALBANY — The fight over an upstate wind farm has intensified at a time when the state wants to dramatically expand its renewable energy portfolio.
The Lighthouse wind project in Niagara County, proposed by Virginia‐based Apex Clean Energy, would develop about 70 wind turbines…The project has been met with significant resistance from some local community members who say the turbines will erode property values….
Former state attorney general Dennis Vacco, who is representing the town of Somerset where some of the turbines will be located, asserted that Apex has been “astroturfing” meetings, or bringing in paid employees to act as local residents supportive of the project or to flood state offices with letters of support. According to a letter Vacco wrote to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the town is worried that Apex is intentionally misrepresenting and inflating support for the project.
“Somerset is concerned that Apex has engaged in fraudulent and deceptive business practices, including deceptive public relations strategies, illegal lobbying, and the development of false grassroots or ‘astroturf’ support,” he wrote. “Such conduct can have a devastating impact on community relations, turning neighbor against neighbor and negatively impacting the quality of life for communities as a whole.”
Apex has hired Five Corners Strategies, a DC‐based firm, for help with the project…
Vacco, who did not return a call seeking further comment, says Five Corners sent employees who identified themselves as “Bo” and “Danny” and dressed in workman’s clothes to a recent public meeting. “Bo” and “Danny” expressed support for the project and read a letter allegedly written by local residents supportive of the project.
Vacco asked Schneiderman to open an investigation into Apex’s strategies. He also asked that Schneiderman’s office revise the state Ethics Code “to address the potential for deceptivebusiness practices and eliminate the gap in disclosure requirements.”…
The opposition is not just coming from local residents.
Late last month, the American Bird Conservancy ranked Lighthouse wind as one of the worst sited wind projects in the country. The bird advocacy group says the project is located in a sensitive migratory area and that large turbines could be devastating for populations of songbirds, grassland birds and even large raptors such as bald eagles that live in a nearby wilderness protection area….