Niagara Falls Air Force Reserve and National Guard C-130?s exercise flying over Niagara Falls NY, July 15, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Joseph McKee)

LOCKPORT — A retired Air Force colonel now working on behalf of Apex Clean Energy has tried to convince supporters of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station that the company’s planned wind turbine development won’t interfere with air base operations.

But the president of the Niagara Military Affairs Council said last week that wasn’t fully reassured, and opponents of the Lighthouse Wind project in Somerset and Yates weren’t buying the message, either.

H. David Belote, who was the first director of the Pentagon office that approves or rejects wind and solar projects around military bases, said his former colleagues aren’t concerned about the project.

In a March 16 letter to Apex development manager Taylor Quarles, Steven J. Sample, chief of the mission evaluation branch of the Department of Defense Siting Clearinghouse, said the Apex project "is unlikely to impact military testing and/or training operations in the area."

Military Affairs Council President John A. Cooper Sr. said, "They showed us some stuff that indicated they’re doing their due diligence. I don’t think they had anything definitive."

"In no way, shape or form will this project encroach on C-130 operations," Belote, former commander of the nation’s…

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