Congressman Langworthy unveils first bill in House, Lakes Before Turbines Act

"Our communities here in Western New York enjoy and rely on the health of our Great Lakes"
Congressman Nick Langworthy
Photo credit Brayton J. Wilson - WBEN

Hamburg, N.Y. (WBEN) - Congressman Nick Langworthy (NY-23) was in Hamburg on Wednesday to unveil his first piece of legislation he introduced to the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

The bill titled the "Lakes Before Turbines Act" is part of a promise he made during his campaign to ensure that costly, unreliable, and environmentally harmful wind turbines will never disrupt the shores of Lake Erie.

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"My bill, the 'Lakes Before Turbines Act', does something very, very simple. It's a nice short bill, and I think people would like a few more short bills coming out of Congress," said Langworthy at a press conference with members of CAWTILE (Citizens Against Wind Turbines in Lake Erie) at Public House along Lake Erie on Wednesday. "We take the Tax Code of 1986, and we take the tax credit for the wind turbines and just strike the Great Lakes as somewhere that they are able to be used. That doesn't just apply to our beautiful Lake Erie, but Lake Ontario or any of the other Great Lakes that could be in danger for these wrongheaded plans.

"Any developers who choose to pursue wind farm construction on our Great Lakes would no longer have access to federal investment tax credits for those projects, making them unfeasible financially going forward. And due to the massive capital needed to construct these projects, if they don't have those tax credits to subsidize it, they will not have the ability or the incentive to foot the bill on their own."

While NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) came out Tuesday and said the wind turbine project on Lake Erie wasn't feasible at this time, Langworthy wants to continue to push against any such project from happening in the long-term.

"Just because they've decided not to do it today doesn't mean they're not going to come back tomorrow, or the next day. These lakes are just too important," Langworthy said. "This issue has been at the forefront of the news, because NYSERDA was actually forced to admit exactly what we were warning against. It would be too costly, and the technology is too unreliable to have a significant impact on energy production."

As Langworthy points out from NYSERDA's recommendation sent out on Tuesday, though, they left the door open to potentially install wind turbines that bore into the ground in of Lake Erie.

"I'm not going to trust any state authority or state agency's word to truly close the door on this," he said. "So we are moving forward with this legislation to ensure that not a single tax dollar goes to developers that want to build these wind turbines, so that it continues to remain too costly. Because the reality is you cannot put a price tag on the health of Lake Erie for this community.

"Our communities here in Western New York enjoy and rely on the health of our Great Lakes. There's an ecosystem, there's a thriving business culture around our beautiful lakefront. It's the gem of our region, and we need to protect it and to continue to restore it. And that's important now more than ever. It's a resource of fresh drinking water. It's a place for many species of birds and fish to call home. It's a place for sports and recreation, a place to watch a beautiful sunrise or sunset. Most importantly, our local economies depend on this lake. They depend on people making that trip to have a picnic, they're looking for a family vacation spot."

Hear more from Langworthy's press conference available in the player below:

Featured Image Photo Credit: Brayton J. Wilson - WBEN