"Apex is guilty of making false statements and
inaccuracies and omissions."
-Clifford P. Schneider, Article 10 participant
Astroturfing is a deceptive effort to give the impression of a legitimate grassroots movement or opinion by neutral parties. Apex has been named twice in astroturfing complaints in just the Lighthouse Wind project (see below). One of those complaints brought to light that Apex is allegedly conducting an astroturfing campaign in Barre as well. Read the complaint filed with DPS here.
Of the 244 individuals who filed postcards with DPS as of 12/31/19, an overwhelming 77% oppose Heritage Wind. Only 21% are in support of the project, and of those in support of the project, 68% of the support postcards were sent by leaseholders themselves or their family members (just that we're aware of the relation - there could be more). None of the postcards sent by people in support of the project identified if they were a project participant. 2% of individuals noted that they were undecided.
-Note that when calculating, we removed duplicate submissions. For example, a supporter sent in 9 postcards. We counted that individual as 1 person.
-Note that we included the minor children whose names were on postcards sent in by their relatives, but will run the same calculations with them excluded in the future.
-Note that we did remove the people who we know do not reside in Barre.
"The omission of any information about the financial interests of project participants in these postcards creates a sense of project support by the proposed host towns’ residents that does not exist. It gives the appearance that the submissions were made by neutral parties. However, project participants—those who have been paid for signing leases or good neighbor contracts with Apex—have a personal
financial interest in filing postcards ad in soliciting others to do so on behalf of the project."
Heritage Wind, LLC may have violated numerous provisions of the Code of Conduct Agreement it signed with the NYS Attorney General by:
FAILURE TO RECUSE
Sean Pogue, your current Town Supervisor, has failed to recuse himself from official duties, including discussions and voting, connected to Heritage Wind despite having a clear and disclosed financial conflict of interest.
INCORRECT PROCESS AND PROCEDURES
In July 2020, Town Supervisor Sean Pogue tried to present his own version of a revised Barre wind ordinance to the Orleans County Planning Board without it having gone through the correct process, having board members' input or a public hearing, or being approved by the Barre Town Board. Orleans County tabled discussion, due to it being premature and out of line.
Orleans County Meeting Minutes See page 3, 20-13.
The changes Supervisor Pogue made, along with town attorney Lance Mark, were given to other Barre Town Board members only one hour before the August 12, 2020 board meeting. Supervisor Pogue then pressured members to vote on it without having enough time to read, digest, provide input or revisions of their own. Listen to the Town Board meeting here. Thankfully, the other Board members requested a workshop first.
"Apex Clean Energy promised that local people would have the chance to build the Isabella Windfarm, but once they received their permits Apex broke that promise and shipped in crews of out-of-state workers. Shame on Apex for turning their back on the community that welcomed them."
Why should we trust Apex when they tell us that Heritage Wind would bring jobs and income to Barre residents, Orleans County residents, or even New York State residents who are qualified and in need of work? We shouldn't. Apex has a proven track record of misleading communities just to get their project approved.
Union protests labor choice on Isabella County wind farm
ABC channel 12, Michigan
Everyone who was not in attendance at the March 11 Town Board meeting needs to watch the meeting online. At -1:01:25, Supervisor Pogue stated, "whereas here [Barre], the majority feel pretty much more in favor of the wind turbines."
Supervisor Pogue, We call on you to provide your data and sources for this comment you presented as fact.
In fact, comments already submitted to DPS prove this is not true. Of the 244 individuals who filed postcards with DPS as of 12/31/19, an overwhelming
77% oppose Heritage Wind.
Only 21% are in support of the project, and of those in support of the project, 68% of the support postcards were sent by leaseholders themselves or their minor children & family members (just that we're aware of the relation - there could be more). None of the postcards sent by people in support of the project identified if they were a project participant, although ethically they should disclose that. 2% of individuals noted that they were undecided.
March 11 Town Board meeting
In nearby Somerset, NY, town officials believe that Apex created a false sense of project support by engaging in deceptive public relations strategies and lobbying to improperly influence decision makers.
In short, Apex hired a public relations firm to attend town meetings and pose as project supporters. The website of this PR firm states that it's purpose is to "influence legislative decisions, land use approvals, and ballot measure campaigns." Town officials also state that they believe Apex engaged in deceptive "astroturfing," which is the practice of making a message appear as if it's written by a neutral party, when in reality it's not, by flooding the DPS website with comments of public support which were not legitimate.
"Such conduct can have a devastating impact on community relations, can turn neighbor against neighbor, family against family, and negatively impact the quality of life for the Town as a whole."
Apex has a history of using questionable tactics to sway opinions and divide communities. Read more about their Lighthouse Wind tactics here. Look closely at what has been happening in Barre and ask yourself what they are doing here to divide our community?
Galloo Island was known by Apex to be home to federally-protected bald eagles, but Apex failed to disclose this important information in their application and made false and inaccurate statements during the application process and Apex admitted to these omissions.
“When an applicant withholds information regarding the environmental conditions in a siting application and those conditions are relevant and material to the agencies’ review of the application and negotiation of stipulations and studies to be performed, it raises serious questions about the applicant’s character and fitness,” Judge Caruso said in the ruling.
Then, Apex conducted helicopter fly-overs to "monitor the nest and eagle population." Experts are convinced that these helicopters scared the eagles away and even wonder if it was intentional in order to pave the way for their profit.
Although it is a proven fact that that Industrial Wind Turbines have a negative impact on radar and weather systems, Apex pushed to build an industrial wind facility on Galloo Island that is within a 40-mile radius of Fort Drum and even closer to radar and communications facilities. Interfering with these systems puts soldiers' ability to train and safety at risk, as well as the future of the army base. As the largest single-site employer in NYS, Fort Drum is the most important economic driver in the North Country. Apex was willing to risk the base being forced to close due to turbine interference, which would hurt soldiers and their families, for it's own profit.
Two bills to prohibit the location of wind turbine facilities near military facilities were brought to the The New York State Senate. Apex hired a lobbyist to lobby against the two bills, essentially lobbying against the safety and economic well-being of our soldiers.
Senate Bill S1755A: Relates to the location of certain wind electric generation facilities
An Apex employee, her family, and her roommate made campaign contributions to an Apex leaseholder who was running in the election for Van Wern county commissioner. Public records of campaign contributions reveal that connections to Apex represent 84% of the funds raised for the pro-wind candidate and leaseholder. This is a clear violation of ethics and an attempt to influence the outcome of the proposed Long Prairie Wind project. After this information came to light, Apex announced they would no longer be pursuing the project.
A complaint was filed with the FAA after a helicopter, flying low and erratically over private land, spooked cattle which resulted in livestock injuries, deaths and property damage. When questioned, those on the helicopter, including a representative from Apex, denied flying low in that area, but the flight plan showed that they did. When presented with this proof, they admitted to looking for eagles' nests in the area but denied seeing any livestock. However, there were roughly 1,000 head of cattle in the field, which would be impossible to miss.
While flying a helicopter over cattle may be poor judgement and not necessarily unethical, lying is unethical.
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Heritage Wind announced at the July 2023 Town Board Meeting plans to change the layout and specs of the project once again! This is not over!
If you are approached to sign anything, please let us know! We are expecting this and want you to be aware.
CSAB will continue to educate and fight against this disastrous project.