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Tilting at Windmills in the Sea

January 2, 2020

 Don Quixote’, by Cervantes, pits an aging, idealistic knight, against his imaginary foes. His quest leads him to joust (“Tilting”) against the turning arms of windmills, which his mind has distorted into menacing beasts. The issue of constructing windmills along our coasts has me feeling like Don Quixote. Perhaps I am “tilting at windmills” addressing this environmental issue but I will put on my rusty armor and will layout the real questions we all face since government and business interests have failed to adequately do so..

  This nearsighted project will severely impact the ocean environment along the coast of Long Island to Montauk and beyond. The first stage will be built by Equinor, fifteen miles off the coast of our south shore beaches, over the horizon. The idea is “What you can’t see won’t bother you”.

It will cover an immense area of 80,000 acres-Larger than our entire protected resource on Long Island, our Pine Barrens, and will initially contain 80 windmills.  30 miles off of Montauk another project will install additional windmills by the Danish Company, Orsted.
Although at the beginning they will only be consuming an area south of Jones to south of Fire Island Inlets, their areas defined as “Auxiliary” that are intended for future windmill deployment is approximately 17 times the original 80,000 acres equaling, according to the NOAA map of the areas-over twice the size of Long Island itself. You can bet if the first 80,000 acres become profitable, the rest will be developed in the future.
According to NOAA’s Environmental Impact Study dated 10/14/2019 these areas have “limited biological and geological resources that would be permanently impacted” containing “a limited presence of economically important fish or shellfish”! Tell that to commercial fishermen who risk their lives to make their living out there. Tell it to the sport fishing and boating industry employing thousands of people right here on Long Island. It’s a poor trade off for the 1600 jobs promised by the state and builders. There is no guarantee these jobs will actually be given to citizens of Nassau and Suffolk County. If you believe the promises you deserve everything you won’t get. Remember, these promises are being made by corporations, politicians, and government agencies propped up by lobbyists and sophisticated publicity agencies.  
Each windmill will damage the ocean floor as they are inserted deep into the ocean bottom and thousands of miles of cable will be laid over or trenched from each windmill site into the main lines bringing the generated power to shore. The parties have already admitted that there will be a “temporary effect” on fish habitat. When the government and corporations say “Temporary” –Well, you’re smart enough to know what that means.
Marine mammals such as dolphins, seals and whales, which only recently have returned in large numbers within sight of our beaches, will be particularly affected during the construction due to their sensitivity to seismic impulses.  Sea life will be driven away during construction. The builders’ claim the fish MAY return at some time after construction but the science of ocean windmills is relatively new and there are no guarantees.  Also to be considered is the effect on our already sick south shore bays. I wish I could take bets that the fish won’t be driven inshore. I have not seen any study on bay effects but the ocean is the lifeblood of the sea. One affects the other. If you think fishing stinks now due to mismanaged funky science and real pollution-wait until these corporate and government clowns get done. They’ll be nothing left in OUR OCEAN or BAYS!
Then there’s the issue of who has the right to take away the citizens' right to a less impeded ocean. Where is the guarantee of fishing and boating rights amongst these monsters windmills or will they be off limits due to “Terrorism” fears or “Safety of the public”. Guess what? Whatever they promise, even if it’s in writing, go ask Sitting Bull, our own Chief Wyandanch what those promises are worth. You got it! -“Not worth the paper they’re written on”.
Then there’s the issue of bird and waterfowl and connection to our coastal seas. The record of preserving birdlife in this country is tragic. In the last few years, the population of birds has dropped by the billions. Scientists claim 25% has disappeared in just ten years. Soon we will be in the “silent spring’’ of Carson McClure. Of course, these windmills are right in and adjacent to the “Atlantic Flyway” which huge flocks of birds use to migrate up and down the coast, day and night. These windmills are right in their path and would drastically impact their mortality rate, which these populations cannot afford. As of yet, there is no way to prevent the windmills from destroying birdlife some of which migrate from as far as northernmost Canada to the extreme south of Peru. There will be loose, chopped feathers flying all over the coast like a snowstorm.coast like a snowstorm.
Oh yes, our governor will dance and sing about what a great statement New York is making to alleviate global warming. It will be a feather in his cap when he tries to run for president someday. I get it. I was a great admirer of his father Mario and have a signed copy of his great book “Why Lincoln Matters”. My criticisms are “Not personal, they’re business” just like this windmill project is “Not personal, it’s about profits”. It’s strange that recently I read the Bellmore Herald in which Alphonse D’Amato, I man I disagree on almost everything, were finally on the same page. He warned we should go very slow here and questioned the validity of the whole project. For once I thank you, Senator!
 I firmly believe global warming is a horrendous growing problem, but this is a rush to a marine and aviary ecological disaster for our ocean and us. There are other options. Solar power is deeply underutilized, as is natural gas. If you presently have solar, have you noticed you are not permitted to bank your solar power in batteries to have free power day and night? It’s not permitted. But if you live off the grid in Dry Rash, Wyoming, once you pay for the panels, batteries, inverter and installation, etc. - power becomes free! But the power company and the government don’t want that. It’s a sweetheart deal. WE can all be off the grid and reduce the carbon imprint tremendously. But in the long run, not enough money will be made. Selling power on Long Island, as in most of the ‘good ole’ USA, is ‘’locked down tight’’ and competition free.
What about natural gas?  Not perfect. But it’s a better, cleaner option. Its way more environmentally sound than wind power, coal and oil. Nuclear power in smaller plants is also a better possibility. Today they are very compact and do not carry that much fissionable material to cause a problem.
There are also maintenance issues with these windmills. They can leak oil and other substances into the sea. Our Atlantic is not sheltered and over time these machines can be stressed and collapse or malfunction in storms. When they cease their usefulness for any reason, who pays to remove them? No matter how they shuffle the cards, some way or another, it’ll be you and me.
  According to official estimates -WIND POWER WILL COST YOU 7 CENTS MORE PER KILOWATT HOUR THAN OIL AND NATURAL GAS!!! Great deal! Huh! And if they say only 7 cents and you believe them? Well I have a bridge in Brooklyn I once bought that I will give a great bargain on!
Wait! Have they really made a solid effort to inform every citizen of what they are planning, the costs, logistics, timeline, etc.? Oh no! You didn’t get that report sent your home by the governor, your state senator and assemblyman explaining exactly what the plan is? Did they inform you as a citizen when you get your chance to VOTE on the future of YOUR OCEAN AND YOUR POWER ALTERNATIVES.  Amazing how much printed crap they send you when they want your vote but when it comes to taking the wrong road to curtailing carbon emissions and power they become speechless. That’s government and big business for you!  They’ll pay millions for TV, Face book, e-mail, Twitter, newspaper and radio ads telling you how great windmill power will be, but they will never give you the real, unmitigated facts.
 There is no doubt that government and corporations can come up with alternate facts, shoot some holes in statements I have posed but that will not change the foolishness of the irreversible damage to our ocean, beaches, bays, sea mammals, and birdlife these giant ocean windmill farms will cause. We share this earth with everything that surrounds us. We have an obligation to protect this patch of ocean. Check your own facts. It’s all laid out on the Internet to make your own decision just be sure to read both sides of this issue. Your future and the future of OUR OCEAN depend on it. Get involved. Call and write your representatives and the governor before it is too late.

By Mark C. (SEA) Nuccio C. 2020
All Rights Reserved
You can reach Mark at - mark@designedge.net


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