As noted in the last newsletter, many elected representatives and governmental bodies have sided with Save Ontario Shores against APEX's Lighthouse Wind Project, so why can't we just refuse to be host communities and be done with it? The answer is change in the state law. From the Department of Public Safety (DPS) website:
The Power NY Act of 2011 established a process for the siting of electric generating facilities and re-powering projects. As part of the process, a multi-agency Siting Board is charged with streamlining the permitting process for power plants of 25 megawatts (MW) or greater. The Power NY Act also encourages investments in clean power plants and affords communities more opportunities to participate in the siting process.
In addition, Power NY reauthorized Article 10 of the Public Service Law.
What this means for us: As Somerset Town Supervisor, Dan Engert, stated so well in an open letter to Governor Cuomo (August 28, 2015) "Local home rule power permits local governments to meet the unique and diverse needs of local residents and it fosters citizen participation and grassroots involvement in government. That is precisely why home rule was granted and guaranteed to local governments in the New York State Constitution. It is fundamental to representative government. Under the Article 10 siting process, home rule power granted to local government was stripped away from the local community and was given to unelected, appointed bureaucrats in Albany."
To their credit, Yates and Somerset are attempting to provide some measure of protection by rewriting local laws to reflect concerns over issues like set back distances from turbines and property values. The Town of Somerset has successfully passed a revision of the following law: http://www.somersetny.org/home/news/local-law-amending-chapter-205-zoning.
The Town of Yates has created an Ad Hoc Task Force comprised of a cross-section of the town including members of the town, planning, and zoning boards, town engineer, town special counsel, and town residents to update the wind law currently in place. These two town boards are acting on behalf of the residents and landowners in Yates and Somerset. The towns have followed an open process that includes public comment. APEX Clean Energy, in contrast, continues to work outside the Code of Conduct for wind project development and has not released any specific information about their intentions for our towns. APEX has not signed the Code of Conduct as they have stated they are willing to do.
Article 10 lists a specific set of processes. So far APEX had completed the PIP, the PSS and next will be the Application. The process gives an opportunity for public input, such as letter and comments to the DPS website, so we are able to participate as mentioned above, but it does not give communities the option to deny this wind project or any other. The process limits action by the communities. If this sounds wrong to you, let your voice be heard. Keep contacting the elected officials of the State of New York and let them know how Power NY and the Article 10 process are playing out along Lake Ontario's shores.
Thank you for your support!
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