Williams: The answer is a-blowin' in the wind

By the end of this year, the New York Power Authority will conclude its review of proposals for the Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project, a plan to install between 60 and 160 clean energy-producing wind turbines off the shores of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.

For all of you downstaters, the Long Island-New York City Offshore Wind Project is a little further behind, but is set to be the biggest offshore wind project in the country. Thirteen miles off the Rockaway Peninsula, those turbines could potentially bring in 700 megawatts of energy from wind off of the Atlantic Ocean.

Each respective community must enthusiastically embrace these projects. Unfortunately, people are whining. I'm from the Rochester area, so I was first alerted to this issue when I read some anti-wind power letters to the editor over the summer.

"Windmills are ugly; they'll ruin my view of the lake!" My response to that must be experienced, not explained, and anyone with a nose who has been to the shores of Lake Ontario knows what I'm talking about. Some spots on the coast are safe, but significant parts of Lake Ontario smell like microwaved vomit and the water washes up on the beach looking like a mixture of fish innards and industrial sludge. Anyone who is that concerned about aesthetics needs to focus on pollution, not windmills.

The second argument, related to the first, involved diminished property values. If you are concerned at all about property value, get out of New York. This is one of the most overpriced and overtaxed states in the country, so if it's really that much of a concern, you should just move to some lake in Arizona, if there are any. Bye!

And finally, I have to address the poor birdies that are going to blindly fly into the wind turbine blades. The United States Department of Energy conducted a study and determined that suburban pets are much more likely to shred Tweety than a wind turbine, so unless we want to outlaw cats, it's a non-issue.

We have the chance to produce clean energy for our country and reduce our dependency on foreign oil and we respond with selfish cries about aesthetics? I am ashamed and disgusted. Do these individuals realize the price that the world pays for oil? Nations sitting on oil reserves are some of the most oppressed, impoverished, polluted and corrupted in the world. Why aren't we willing to help fix the problem?

I am especially alarmed that this debate continued after the oil spill fiasco in the Gulf of Mexico. People living along those beaches aren't worried about protecting their views; they're too busy scraping dead animals out of their yard and filing for unemployment because their fishing job was destroyed along with the rig. It's one thing to turn a blind eye to oil problems abroad, but by refusing to encourage this project we are blatantly disrespecting our own neighbors and it's unacceptable.

Grow up, New York, and embrace the opportunity that we have to make a difference in our future as a community, state and nation.