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Group calls for a moratorium on offshore Lake Erie turbines

Citizens Against Wind Turbines In Lake Erie held an informational meeting Tuesday night in Hamburg calling for a moratorium on offshore turbines in the Great Lakes

HAMBURG, N.Y. — New York State Senator George Borrello was the keynote speaker at an informational meeting held at the Southtown Walley Association Tuesday night. 

The meeting was hosted by Citizens Against Wind Turbines In Lake Erie (CAWTILE) and was attended by at least 100 people interested in what the group had to say. 

CAWTILE organizer Sharen Trembath says they're against a proposed offshore wind project by Diamond Offshore Wind, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi. 

It would be the first offshore wind project installed on an inland body of water in the world. 

"They're going to be 450 feet high," Trembath said. "They're gonna pretty much disrupt any recreational boating or fishing in our lake."

Diamond Wind has not formally submitted any proposal to the state, but the project is speculated to be 50 turbines placed every .6 miles about 2 miles from shore between Lackawanna and Dunkirk.

Trembath says their opposition is almost entirely environmentally focused, as they often receive criticism for opposing projects due to the aesthetic impact. 

"With me, I want to say this is our drinking water," Trembath said. "These turbines leak, some of them hold up to 400 gallons of lubricant in the nest on top."

Tuesday's meeting was focused solely on turbines, so other Lake Erie environmental issues like marine transportation pollution, or lake algae were discussed. 

Senator Borrello is vehemently against the proposal.

"We don't need to be the guinea pigs for something that could potentially contaminate our water supply, ruin our fisheries impact the ecosystem of our lake," Borrello said. 

Borrello tried to push through a bill that would put a moratorium on Great Lakes offshore wind projects, but it failed to pass the committee. 

The Diamond Wind project that was the topic of the meeting was first proposed in 2019. There hasn't been much progress because the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is conducting a feasibility study. 

Borrello says the study is flawed. 

"There are no experts on hydrology, there are no experts on wildlife ecology," Borrello said. "Nobody truly understands the potential negative impacts is all it's packed with people that are green energy advocates."

2 On Your Side reached out to NYSERDA for an update on the study, as it was originally scheduled to be released in the spring. A spokesperson told WGRZ:

"The Great Lakes Wind Feasibility Study is on track to be released this summer after careful review of the technical reporting. We will communicate its public release via email and the NYSERDA website."

Trembath says they haven't been allowed to present their case to NYSERDA and voice opposition on the record. 

"They sort of will not let us speak we've tried and tried again," Trembath said. "It's always these zoom meetings, and they never let us speak, so we kind of are left by the wayside."

NYSERDA held several public hearings via zoom regarding the feasibility study in 2021, at the height of the pandemic. 

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