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Group Continues Push Against Lake Turbines

Residents along the Lake Erie shoreline have been fighting against wind turbines in and around Lake Erie for the last 13 years.

Sharon Tembrath of Angola, along with a handful of other residents, have been the loudest ones against the turbines, and after a bit of a hiatus, they’re back fighting against the same cause.

Before the Diamond Wind project was announced in 2019, two other companies also considered placing turbines in the Great Lakes waters. In Ohio, the Lake Erie Icebreaker project remains in litgation.

Tembrath said this group has been fighting Diamond Wind since April 2019, when the project was first presented. “We listened to their spiel,” she said. “They showed us pictures and the plan and they assumed there would be no fight.”

Just as Tembrath and the rest of the opposed group were ramping up their opposition, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, limiting the rallies and other efforts they could hold. But now that pandemic restrictions are being lifted, they were able to hold their first big meeting in an effort to educate the public. Tembrath said that around 60 people attended November meeting, with a majority of them being boaters and fishermen.

Diamond Wind has not returned comments from the OBSERVER regarding the proposal.

“The big thing is there is an exclusion zone around each one, so there’s no fishing or recreation around them,” Tembrath said. “Most of them lived within 5-10 miles of the lake. Most of them are boaters and fishermen so they have a vested interest. Moving forward, we hope to spread the word and educate the public.”

Besides the concern with recreational activities, Tembrath said the concerns also stem from environmental concerns from the turbines potentially breaking up the sediment layer in the lake, or lubricant from the turbines leaking into the lake and potentially diluting the fresh water source the lake provides. Tembrath said the group knows they have to be proactive in their opposition to the wind turbines.

“We can’t do anything until something is done, and once something is done, it’s too late,” Tembrath said. “We’re being proactive by educating the public and letting them know what can happen and watching for any changes in lakes.”

And Tembrath’s group knows they aren’t alone in their cause. On top of being backed by local legislators like State Sen. George Borrello, their Facebook page has 3,005 members, from Evans, to Arkwright, to even Ontario, Canada.

“The more people would call and tell me their stories, these turbines are a pain in the neck to people,” Tembrath said. “I hear all kinds of stories about sleep being affected, property values going down, and how they never wanted them there to begin with.”

On top of having meetings, they’ve been active in more ways. They’ve been selling signs that read “Just Say No in Lake Erie,” which fund the production of more signs. They’ve had road rallies, met with legislation, spoken at conservation clubs, all while being volunteers. Tembrath said they just want people to be informed.

“We don’t want people to say they don’t know. In the 20 years we’ve been fighting them, there hasn’t been an improvement in wind turbines,” Tembrath said. “We have driverless cars and are going to space, why can’t we get a wind turbine that works?”

At the end of the day, Tembrath said what the group wants most is a moratorium on any turbine project. As Tembrath gets older, she knows she can’t do this forever, so she wants to see it end.

“You don’t have to kill the planet to save the environment,” Tembrath said. “It’s a shame. I can’t do this for 10 more years. We have resolutions from Hamburg, Evans, and one in Hanover. What we need is a moratorium so we don’t have to keep fighting it. There has to be an end and we have to have it carved in stone.”

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