RE: STATEMENT ON SENATOR BORRELLO’S MORATORIUM – S.6314

I would like to whole-heartedly applaud State Senator George Borrello for his strong and proper stand in defense of NY's most precious natural resource - our fresh water - found in his bill to establish a permanent moratorium on Offshore Industrial Wind Turbine development in any fresh water body in NYS, including Lakes Erie and Ontario, bill S6314! The plight of our Great Lakes, a resource which contains 21% of the WORLD'S surface potable freshwater, is a long and sordid tragedy that reminds us all what happens when ignorance is favored over science and common sense. Starting shortly after the end of World War 1, and as the industrial revolution was hitting full swing, the Great Lakes, and other freshwater bodies across NY and indeed the United States, were viewed as nothing more than a place for effluence and dumping. Even though many thousands relied upon the Lakes and tributaries feeding them for drinking water, bathing water, irrigation water for crops, and used in the making of food and beverage products at diners and later off the store shelves, we continued on dumping industrial waste into the waters, while ignoring the growth of untreated raw sewage washing into the lakes as populations along the industrial Great Lakes grew, but systems to handle such growth never kept pace. Our society actually began feeling the impacts starting in the late 1920's, not even a decade after the industrial dumping began, with health studies being launched across the Great Lakes states to examine impacts caused by pollution. Pollution and contaminant studies began along the Buffalo River in 1936. Before then, studies on the growing swarms of caddis flies and their serious health impacts on the lake side communities began in 1928 (conducted by an allergist from Buffalo, NY, Dr. Samuel Parlato), as changes to the freshwater ecosystems were dramatic with negative impacts across our communities and livelihoods.

Stan Spisiak tirelessly worked to expose the truly criminal actions committed by our own governments, including the complicity of the US Army Corps of Engineers in the dredging and dumping of toxic sludge from river ports into the open waters of the Great Lakes - a practice that spanned from the early 1920's through 1967, until the Great Lakes Protection Act of 1968 (the predecessor to the 1972 Clean Water Act) banned the dumping of toxic spoilage into the open waters, while also prohibiting the flushing of raw sewage into the waters as well. Those of us who have been around long enough know that Lake Erie was declared "dead" in 1970, due to industrial pollution, heavy nutrient loading from improper wastewater systems and resulting algae blooms, and a belief that it was impossible to pollution such vast waters. The folly of man is dangerous and destructive, indeed.

According to the EPA, 362 different chemical contaminants are present in the Great lakes, with only about a third of these having been evaluated for their effects on wildlife and human health. Of these contaminants, 11 were identified by the IJC, under the Great Lakes Water Quality agreement between the US and Canada, as "critical pollutants" requiring immediate attention to correct and eliminate. These contaminants include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), DDT, dieldrin, toxaphene, mirex, mercury, benzo[a]pyrene, hexachlorobenzene, furans, dioxins, and alkylated lead. These substance are still on the lake bed of ALL the Great Lakes, but due to the natural conditions of Lake Erie, only this lake has seen the contaminants cut off from the food chain via a sand cap (due to the shallow nature of the lake itself). Indeed, the contaminants known may be small in amount in the lakes, even difficult to measure, according to articles contained in the United States Library of Medicine, hosted by NIH, but can and do biomagnify, or becomes more concentrated, as contaminants move up the food chain from phyto and zoo plankton, on up. The newly discovered polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are also wide spread across the lake bottom, severe carcinogens once thought harmless, and are commonly used in making paints and dyes, pizza boxes, stain removers, certain plastic products and fire fighting substances known as AFFF, or Aqueous Film Forming Foam - a substance now the subject of a massive firefighter's lawsuit. These are the same chemicals, by the way, that shut down the Village of Mayville's Water supply before Christmas of 2020, and forced the Village to dig a new artesian well for the Village water supply!

Constructing a useless wind factory, which will never deliver any electricity to the industrial grid, and re-exposing the toxic sediments to once again harm our friends and family, our parents and children alike, is perhaps the worst idea ever dreamt up. But it gets even worse. Since the early 1990's, Marine Science has learned how dangerous low frequency noise, also known as infrasound, can be to all aquatic life. Discovered quite by accident in the early 1990s when the US Navy began testing their new low frequency active sonar used to detect modern stealth submarines, observed and later confirmed impacts to marine mammals that were hit by this noise was devastating. Right whales and Pilot whales lost their ability to navigate, beaching themselves, beaked whales would suddenly stop singing and feeding with researchers believing the noise sounded like their top predator, Orca. Additional discoveries concerning impacts to fishes and invertebrates were discovered during studies of an Offshore Wind Factory in the North Atlantic, a study conducted in 2006, with impacts to fishes varying depending upon their anatomy. With life in the lake directly responsible for the health of the waters, and vice versa, any displacement of fish from their spawning areas, their feeding areas and their places for escape were noted as very troubling. In fact, the smaller 1.5 MW turbines created a displacement radial zone while operational measured at nearly 3 miles from each spinning turbine. Additional studies on impacts of infrasound without spatial escape showed that even after the noise was eliminated, fish exhibited the impacts for up to 2 weeks post stimuli removal.

The science of aquatic bioacoustics is very clear. These facts alone more that justify and warrant Senator's Borrello's permanent moratorium on freshwater offshore Industrial Wind development, and this truly should come with unanimous bipartisan support. In fact, these conditions spurred Ontario, Canada to implement a moratorium on Industrial Wind development in the Great Lakes in 2011, and just this past Earth Day 2021, the Ontario Environmental Minister Yurek firmly reiterated the extension of this 10-year prohibition, stating we now know how dangerous and polluting these wind turbines are to the wildlife, the people, the lands and the water. Canada has also now taken aim at the Ice Breaker Project in Ohio, citing the fact that over 40 million people live in the Great Lakes basin, and 11 million Canadians ALONE depend upon just Lake Erie for their drinking water. We also understand that the Great Lakes sportfishing and boating industries support over 56,000 jobs across the US and Canada, great paying jobs that actually give back to protecting the lakes from the industrial folly of the past, and help continue the clean up of our terrible legacy, which is ongoing.

The simple fact about wind energy is this - it is an unsuitable fuel for an industrial grid power plant. It is unreliable, unpredictable and cannot deliver what a power plant does - make electricity 24/7. The science that makes the industrial grid possible is what these ignorant and emotionally manipulated supporters continue to deny. The fact that we have many options that will work, such as expansion of the Niagara Power Project, where space exists to add 2 additional turbines, the existence of 7,000 unpowered dams across NY that could easily be converted to deliver grid-friendly emissions free power, development of Thorium reactors and expanded use of particulate free, clean burning natural gas, makes the notion of wind turbines in our waters of life even more foolish, and quite frankly the penultimate injustice and stupidity we have yet seen from mankind. The fact that marinized wind factories cost more than 5 times the cost of terrestrial wind factories, while performing just as poorly makes all of us question exactly where these greedy and dangerous idiots went to school and what planet they originally called home!

As a well-known and closely listened to conservationist here in NY, with more peer-presented recognition awards for my works in protecting and conserving our natural resources, including the Great Lakes, awards that even came from the United States Congress for my works and dedication, I can state with expert authority that your actions today rise to the level of wisdom our forefathers looked for in protecting and perpetuating our wild treasures forever. I therefore urge all NYers to write letters of support urging their representatives in both the Assembly and State Senate support and vote in favor of this important life-saving, resource protecting bill. Supporting this bill and assuring its speedy, veto-proof passage is the very essence of what your job entails!


Rich Davenport 
Recording Secretary - Erie County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs 
Secretary - WNY Environmental Federation 
Region 9 Director - New York State Conservation Council 
Erie County Fisheries Advisory Board

Resources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1253773/

https://response.restoration.noaa.gov/about/media/chemical-pollution-great-lakes.html

http://michiganintheworld.history.lsa.umich.edu/environmentalism/exhibits/show/main_exhibit/pollution_politics/great-lakes-pollution

https://www.wind-watch.org/documents/low-frequency-noise-and-infrasound/

https://americanhistory.si.edu/onthewater/exhibition/3_1.html

https://tethys.pnnl.gov/sites/default/files/publications/Effects_of_offshore_wind_farm_noise_on_marine-mammals_and_fish-1-.pdf

https://www.ahukini.net/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26515307/

© 2019 Southtowns Walleye Association of WNY, Inc.. All Rights Reserved.