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Sierra Club joins Big Wind Bullies at Apex, Diminishing our Environment

By Mary Kay Barton -- November 27, 2018

“Today’s Sierra Club has strayed so far from [John] Muir’s original mission of protecting life and our natural environment it is unbelievable. We are greatly saddened to see the Sierra Club (a group many of us used to support) now lobbying for the destruction of vast swaths of rural America with industrial wind sprawl,…”

Sierra Club founder, John Muir, must be rolling over in his grave.

Recent news reports and advertisements indicate the Sierra Club’s uncritical support for Apex Clean Energy‘s proposed industrial wind project along the shores of Lake Ontario — despite the massive environmental destruction such a large-scale industrial project (600-foot-tall turbines with 240-foot blades) will cause! 

Never forget, it was a brave representative of the Los Angeles chapter of the Sierra Club, Bob Hattoy, who coined the term “the Cuisinarts of the air” in a late 1980s battle against a wind project in Gorman, California.

Apparently the Sierra Club is ignorant of the local citizenry’s overwhelming opposition to the project in groups such as American Bird Conservancy; Braddock Bay Bird Observatory; Burroughs Audubon Nature Club; Federation of Monroe County Environmentalists; Genesee Valley Audubon Society; Great Lakes Seaway Trail; Hawk Migration Association of North America; New York State Ornithological Association; Niagara USA Chamber; Orleans County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs; Rochester Birding Association; Save Ontario Shores, Inc. 

Or, like the Big Wind Bully Apex, they just don’t care.

Sierra Club founder, John Muir (1838–1914) was one of America’s first and most highly regarded advocates for environmental protection. Muir dedicated his life to exploring, writing and working tirelessly to make sure the beauty of our natural environment was preserved for the generations.

Muir was instrumental in the founding of one of our nation’s oldest National Parks, Yosemite. He helped draw up Yosemite’s proposed boundaries in 1889, wrote magazine articles that led to its creation in 1890, and co-founded the Sierra Club in 1892 to protect it.

John Muir believed God was found in the beauty of nature, declaring to a person he was guiding through Yosemite, “Listen to the voice of the Lord; how he speaks in the sublimity of his power and glory!” Muir’s message was that “God wants humans to care for nature and not destroy the systems of life,” a belief that guided his life’s work of educating people about the importance of preserving nature.

Today’s Sierra Club has strayed so far from Muir’s original mission of protecting life and our natural environment it is unbelievable. We are greatly saddened to see the Sierra Club (a group many of us used to support) now lobbying for the destruction of vast swaths of rural America with industrial wind sprawl, while also shamelessly advocating for abortion and other far-left ideologies that have nothing to do with protecting the environment.

Things Apex and the Sierra Club are NOT telling you when it comes to the industrial wind debacle include, but are not limited to:

1) The diffuse energy of wind provides NO firm capacity, and therefore, does NOT provide RELIABLE, dispatchable baseload power, and can NOT replace conventional power generators that do.

2) Niagra Falls hydro plant is producing an excess of emissions-free power that is being sold on the open market because we do not need it here. Building new generation in the face of this excess supply is a blatant RIP-OFF of New York State taxpayers and ratepayers and an unnecessary ASSAULT on our environment – something the Sierra Club used to rail against.

3) The World Health Organization (WHO) and others have stated that wind turbine noise and infrasound is a human health hazard. Despite WHO guidelines being recognized as the ‘Gold Standard’ worldwide, New York State officials are ignoring WHO recommendations and the negative impacts being experienced by citizens across the state, instead choosing to place their ‘green’ agenda above the health, safety and welfare of the citizens they are in office to serve and protect.

4) Towns in Iowa and Massachusetts are tearing down wind factories because they have so negatively-impacted their neighbors.

5) 308 industrial wind turbines in 5 Towns in Wyoming County have provided NO meaningful permanent local jobs. Wyoming County’s tax rate has skyrocketed by over 85% since 2000, in direct correlation with the installation of wind factories here. Properties in the wind company-owned towns are selling well BELOW their assessed values (IF they sell at all), while the County’s population has steadily declined.

6) Miles and miles of industrial wind sprawl cause massive Habitat Fragmentation. Habitat loss is cited as one of the main causes of species decline worldwide.

7) Bird and bat populations are natural insect controllers and pollinators, and are being decimated by industrial wind factories. Farmers will deal with the resulting insect problems by having to apply more insecticides.

8) Irony of ironies – Harvard recently released a study showing industrial wind factories are actually causing warming.

All of this information, and much more, is accessible online.

New York State residents (and residents across the nation for that matter), have a message for the Sierra Club and its’ Big Wind Bully pals:

We LOVE the natural environment God has blessed us with here in Western, Central and Upstate New York State! We have NO intention of allowing money-grubbing Big Wind Bullies to force us to DESTROY the beauty God has blessed us with in exchange for the CONSUMER FRAUD that is industrial wind.

We hope and pray the Sierra Club will return to the group’s original mission of appreciating all of God’s creation and working to protect it, as John Muir intended.  However, regardless of whatever the Sierra Club does, we will fight anyone who tries to force these monuments of subjugation upon our communities.


Mary Kay Barton is a life-long Western New York State resident, New York State-certified Health Science educator (retired), Cornell-certified Master Gardener, and tireless advocate for RELIABLE, affordable electricity for ALL Americans. This is an edited and slightly expanded version of her letter-to-the-editor published in the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal (November 19).


  1. Sherri Lange  

    Well done, Mary Kay Barton. Sierra should be shamed into behavior changes. If such a thing in this murky Sierra Land is possible. Following the money is always key.

    In the list of reminders to Sierra, you could add that turbine factories do not last long: 15-20 years not the 20-25 the industry states. And then…the re powering, or the landfill, or the “just abandon them” problem. This is the largest eco junk production ever on the planet. Fossil fuel haters take note: turbines ARE fossil fuels, and then give us more base load back up as well. Hideous lies from cradle to grave.

    Thanks for a very well written expose. Also please add another group of opposition: Great Lakes Wind Truth.

    FOLLOW THE MONEY. One of their donors is the Bauman Foundation: which also provides money to Environmental Defense, Greenpeace, Media Matters, and the Tides Foundation. Liberal and political powering Liberal ideologies, loosely threaded, the ideologies, not the money and influence, to President Obama, Clinton, et al.

    A long way from Muir.


  2. Clayton McKay  

    Excellent piece. I never realized how the government could do so much damage to the credentials of so many true American organizations as well as organized political jurisdictions using taxpayer money funneled through the outwitted or willing partnered corporate structure.


  3. Gary Abraham  

    Mary Kay has all the facts about our current situation right. But her account of John Muir requires revision: when he first looked upon the Yosemite Valley, Muir saw an arrangement of forests and fields, streams and orchards whose form and beauty he thought could only be the work of the hand of God. In fact it was the work of the Miwok Indians who had migrated around the valley for centuries, moving their settlements every two of three years as they exhausted the local resources. Before they left any site, however, they planted or cultivated fruit trees, forest edges from which to hunt, and left behind herbs and medicinal plants all of which would be ready when they returned. It was the hand of humans not God. Muir couldn’t know this because the Miwok had been chased from the valley by whites only one generation earlier. The important point is this: from Muir and other early conservationist the idea of preserving wild lands became a founding principle for the Big Ten environmental orgs like Sierra. This sort of aesthetic environmentalism values wild lands principally for urban people to elevate their spiritual interiors so they can get a temporary respite from the perceived spiritual poverty of urban life. This sort of environmentalism has historically allowed its adherent to feel fine about spoilation of all the non-wild lands, including their own urban backyards. In contrast, authentic grassroots environmentalism seeks to protect local amenities. It is far more straightforward and far less philosophical than Muir and the Sierrans. Among its mothers is Lois Gibbs, who taught us that if everyone protects (and cleans up) their own backyards, we’ll all benefit. The Sierra Club, like John Muir bring us faith-based environmentalism that, because its informed by revelation alone, lacks reason, a proper sense of justice, and respect for the land–all land.


  4. Mary Kay Barton  

    Gary Abraham, I find your comment to be both insulting and wrong! Your comment is insulting not only to John Muir and his life’s work, but to all God-fearing Christians who believe in protecting and caring for our environment — not just “to elevate their spiritual interiors,” as you so condescendingly falsely claim — but to elevate all of humanity while protecting God’s magnificent creation in the process.

    You say, ” It [Yosemite’s natural beauty] was the hand of humans not God.” You could not be more wrong. No one but God created the natural beauty of Yosemite Falls, El Capitan, and all the surrounding mountains and valleys. The pictures of Yosemite speak for themselves:


    Even the Miwok Indians would be the first to say that it was “The Great Spirit” who gave them this beautiful place and blessed them with the seeds and good harvests to sustain themselves, while they enhanced the natural beauty of the area in the process, in honor and thanksgiving to “The Great Spirit.” God has always worked through people on this earth, and He will continue to do so.

    The whole point of the article being – for any person, or group, to say they are trying to “protect the environment” while actively supporting the destruction of our environment with the consumer fraud that is industrial wind, is as far from protecting God’s beautiful, life-sustaining creation as one can get – whether they believe in God or not. John Muir just so happened to believe that Jesus Christ was his Lord and Savior, and he dedicated his life to preserving the beauty of God’s creation for future generations to enjoy. I thank God for the life of John Muir.


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