Wind Energy Poll: Nearly 60% say embrace natural gas

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Only 18% vote to keep expanding wind farms

By Andrew Harris

The answer isn’t that surprising. Allegany and Steuben Counties historical, economic, and political dynamics are in general, opposed to the “green new deal,” and in favor of a future powered by natural gas.

The ban on “hydro-fracking,” is a very sore subject in much of the Southern Tier, especially in places like Wellsville, Andover, Whitesville, Rexville, Greenwood. Not only are these communities the home of pioneers in the oil and gas industry, but also modern day empires like Otis Eastern, Joyce Western, Richardson Petroleum, Ebenezer Oil, Bradley Producing(Iroquis Gas,) and Plants and Goodwin just to name a few. Nathan Petrolum, based in Rexville, is a major local producer of oil and natural gas, operating 162 wells. National Fuel operates a massive network of storage, transmission, and delivery in the Southern Tier today.

After being refused the right to pursue the vast natural gas resources within the Marcellus and Utica formations, the oil and gas community considers the windmills offensive. Now, after one has combusted and rained down fiberglass debrix on several families in Rexville, that community is even more offended. As this poll clearly indicates, many would just rather invest in natural gas for the future.

Absent a retreat from wind power and lift on the natural gas exploration ban, the only real option available to West Union or Willing, is to focus on local laws regarding wind energy. While local laws can not stop wind energy from developing, they can make it more expensive for companies like NextEra. Local laws regarding the distance a wind turbine must be from a residence, local road use and repair regulations, light pollution, and noise pollution are all concerns that local governments can address.

The Town of Independence has already confirmed that they will be revisiting the wind laws they have in place. The Town of Wellsville is currently in the midst of creating a wind energy law. It is safe to say that the fire in West Union will have a big impact on the wind energy laws of all local governments in the Southern Tier.

We have been in contact with the folks in West Union who have been impacted and will continue to report on those impacts. We will also be focused on the reaction from NextEra to the many complaints and concerns from the local community.

Interested in this subject ? Listen to 1480AM WLEA’s live radio show, “Newsmakers,” Monday April 24th at 830am. Andrew Harris will be appearing on the show to talk about this subject and the story of the “Rexville Fire.”

Our regular poll questions are brought to you by the folks at Hart’s Jewelry in downtown Wellsville. Visit them online for more information, HartsJewelry.com

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