Double-crested cormorants typical of the sort that frequent eastern Lake Ontario. Image credit:Wikipedia
Locals are weighing in early against plans to install hundreds of wind turbines in the shallows of Eastern Lake Ontario. The NY Power Authority-proposed project is purported to be 'not in the economic interest of the community' as reported in the Tonanwanda News. Reading between the lines of the Tonawanda coverage, it looks like sailors and lake home owners won't like the view - sounds like Cape Wind doesn't it? - and charter boat owners are worried about, you know, the fish. I guess it's less of a concern that Lake Ontario levels and fisheries could be affected by climate change.
Charter boat captains have a reputation issue to overcome regarding their ability to take a balanced view of resource management. Here's an example of what I'm talking about from Boat/US Magazine.
When wildlife biologists landed on Little Galloo Island in Lake Ontario in July 1998, they were unprepared for the carnage there. But dozens of spent shotgun shells quickly told the ugly tale behind a bloody incident which had claimed the lives of hundreds of victims.Perhaps the fishermen should make lemonade out of this proposed a wind project. Their support could bring an unexpected bonus. Hundreds of wind turbine blades spinning around Little Galloo Island could whack a whole bunch of cormorants. Eh?
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) officials called it "the worst mass killing ... in recent decades" and brought federal agents to this 52-acre patch of rock just off Watertown, NY. The federal agency that investigated issued a press release decrying the "senseless slaughter" of highly skilled fishermen -- 856 double-crested cormorants.
Ten men were arrested, most of them charter boat captains from around Henderson Harbor, NY. They pleaded guilty last April to violating the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and in August, a U.S. magistrate levied sentences of up to two years' probation and six months of in-home confinement, plus up to $2,500 each in fines. He also ordered the men to make a cumulative contribution of $27,500 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
But if that doesn't seem like a fair trade-off...
Call in the environmental whackos.
Should lake shore home owners or boat captains have college age offspring who identify with Earth First! kind of thinking (property values first!) perhaps they can be called upon to help orchestrate a demonstration like the one which drew attention to a smaller wind farm expansion proposal in Maine recently. See Earth First! Activists Arrested Protesting Maine Wind Farm - 'It's Too Big'
12 gauge logic
Kidding about bringing in the enviro-wackos. All politics are local - especially environmental politics - and charter boat captains and lake home owners alike would be more inclined to support a state funded project that outsiders say is objectionable for some obscure ecological reasoning.
There's a leadership opportunity waiting to be taken advantage of. A run up the middle that makes the home town fans stand up and cheer.