BP's Tatics in Cape Vincent Ny

Thursday, July 31, 2008

IS THIS JUST THE BEGINNING?

the link to this story is no longer available
 link here to story in Google docs.

Rochester
Democrat And Chronicle
Joseph Spector. Albany Bureau. July 28, 2008

Corruption allegations swirl around push for wind power
The investigation comes as wind-farm companies are lining up at town halls with deep pockets and the promise of economic development for governments starved for new revenue to fund schools, fix roads and pay for emergency services. Roughly 65 wind projects are being developed in New York, and about eight are already operating, mainly in the Southern Tier, the Finger Lakes and the North Country. The state plans to have about 1,000 megawatts of wind power production.

July 28, 2008 by Joseph Spector in Democrat and Chronicle
At first there were sporadic complaints last year to the office of Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne.
Then the outcry grew. North Country residents alleged that undue influence was being put on local leaders to approve multimillion-dollar wind farms, with turbines 200 feet or taller, in their rural communities near the Canadian border.
To Champagne's dismay, he thought some of the public officials approving the contracts were also leasing their own land to the wind developers. Champagne found as many as seven town board members in Franklin County who had apparent conflicts of interest.
"These elected officials (who had lease agreements with wind developers) were the same ones who would have to pass the appropriate local legislation to allow them to be constructed," Champagne said last week at his office in Malone. "And they would do it."
As New York seeks to produce 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2013, the push by developers and the state to expand wind farms is creating unintended results: bitterly divided communities, accusations of corruption and complaints of poor state oversight for a new type of energy.
Champagne calls it New York's version of a "gold rush" and said it could be the next Enron scandal in the making. He sent out a memo to every town board in his county, urging them to adopt stronger ethical codes.
Some critics question whether the wind farms will produce adequate electricity or instead are being built to tap into public subsidies and sell wind-energy credits on the open market to offset pollution from other industries.
Michael Lawrence, supervisor of Brandon in Franklin County, said the battle over whether to have a wind farm "has created devastation in the community."
Champagne has turned over his cardboard box of documents on cases across the state to Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Last week, Cuomo issued subpoenas to two of New York's major wind-farm developers, saying that "if dirty tricks are used to facilitate even clean-energy projects, my office will put a stop to it."
The investigation comes as wind-farm companies are lining up at town halls with deep pockets and the promise of economic development for governments starved for new revenue to fund schools, fix roads and pay for emergency services.
Roughly 65 wind projects are being developed in New York, and about eight are already operating, mainly in the Southern Tier, the Finger Lakes and the North Country. The state plans to have about 1,000 megawatts of wind power production - enough to power about 800,000 homes - by year's end.
Advocates and land owners under contract with wind companies say the projects come at an opportune time because of skyrocketing fuel costs.
Paul Wolcott, a farmer from Cohocton, Steuben County, said he expects to have 13 wind turbines operated by First Wind of Newton, Mass., on his property later this year. He will get a percentage of the revenue from the energy sold to suppliers.
"What a waste of taxpayers' dollars for the attorney general to be investigating this," Wolcott said. "Here we are talking about getting an alternative source of energy, a renewable source that's local."
First Wind and Noble Environmental Power LLC of Essex, Conn., are being investigated by Cuomo's office. A First Wind spokesman could not be reached for comment last week, and a Noble spokeswoman declined to comment.
Critics of the companies said their concern is not whether wind is a viable alternative energy source. They worry that wind companies are running roughshod over ill-prepared town boards, the final arbiters for the projects, and allege that companies are deliberately entering into contracts with town officials to grease the process.
In Prattsburgh, Steuben County, Supervisor Harold McConnell has come under fire for voting on wind-farm issues and also reportedly having a contract with a wind developer, according to the Naples Record.
In Hamlin, residents have questioned the role of Town Board member Paul Rath, who said he has leased land to a developer but has been abstaining from votes about wind energy. He did, however, vote to start a Wind Advisory Committee.
Opponents say public officials sometimes negotiate agreements with wind companies, and then leave office and go to work for them.
"We need a consistent, thorough, comprehensive regulatory process that oversees the development of all these projects," said James Hall, a founder of Cohocton Wind Watch.
Hall and others contend that the state plays too small a role in the oversight of wind farms. Lawmakers have been trying to devise a more comprehensive system of regulation, but after years of debate the Legislature has been incapable of producing a law to streamline site selection for power plants.
"It puts a lot of pressure on municipalities who have to make tough decisions," said Carol Murphy, executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, which represents wind companies and wind-energy supporters.
Murphy said, "we expect our members to uphold the highest, strictest standards of developing projects" and said groups opposing the wind farms often make baseless claims.
She and some state regulatory officials said the state has adequate oversight and provides aid and incentives only to properly vetted projects.
"They can't sell any credits without producing energy," said John Saintcross, senior project manager for the state Energy Research and Development Authority.
Some of the opponents' protests have made their way to court. In Howard, Steuben County, Gerald Hedman is suing to seek the removal of Town Board member William Hatch, who is also the county Republican chairman, for alleged conflicts of interest. The case is to be heard in October in state appellate court in Rochester.
The lawsuit contends that Hatch spent years negotiating with a wind company and has voted on local laws that affect wind development, according to Hedman's attorney, Arthur Giacalone. This year Hatch entered into an agreement with EverPower Renewables that could put turbines on his property, but he said he has since recused himself when the board deals with wind-farm issues.
"They have been suing us for every reason they can, and this appears to be the last one they came up with, I guess," Hatch said of the wind-farm opponents. He said a company has only an option to lease his land and he won't receive any money unless a wind project is built.
If the town gets the 25 wind towers proposed, Hatch said, it could reduce town property taxes 40 percent because of payments made by the company to the local government.
"For the community, it's a great thing," he said.


Mr. Spectors story sounds similar to Cape Vincent.

Recently it was reported


Community Forum Case Middle School June 17, 2008

State attorney general Andrew Cuomo hosted a community forum as part of his Community Partnership Initiative.

He was here to listen to local residents’ concerns about state government.

Some people came with questions specifically about the North Country, like protecting the environment and wind farm development - saying they’d like to see the state help out.

We’ve had warning flags that have gone up with possible corruption in different arrangements.
It’s like anything else. It could be a good opportunity, but it has to be done right and it has to be done carefully,” said Cuomo.

Cuomo will take what he heard and bring it back to his office.
He has had other meetings like this across the state.

Sometimes he even launches investigations based on what he hears...


This is interesting and perhaps only the beginning.

As A Man of the People
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has been actively seeking out and pursuing injustice across this great state.


Will the winds of change be blowing Hurricane Andrew our way?

* Bp Reveals turbine sites for Cape Vincent

Sites of 95 wind turbines are unveiled

BP Alternative Energy revealed the setting of 95 turbines for the Cape Vincent Wind Farm on Wednesday with a room full of displays, two large maps and a speaker who heartily endorsed wind power.
The evening at Cape Vincent Recreation Park on South James Street drew more than 100 people and lasted just over three hours, with the majority of that time devoted to conversations between residents and BP representatives.

By Rachael HanleyTimes Staff Writer
Watertown Daily Times
31 July 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wind industry, politicians dupe residents of Snow Creek


As longtime residents of Riverside County, after many attempts to meet with Supervisor Marion Ashley to discuss the proposed windmills in Snow Creek, we have been met with silence. The county has thrown us residents “under the bus” and do not care to hear any of our concerns.

It matters little to them that we too pay taxes and are trying to preserve our rural way of life, that the wind developers will be stealing our property values, as any property adjacent to windmills is rendered useless, as are the seriously flawed noise studies that are done by the wind industry.

That we will be impacted with noise and visual blight is meaningless to them. They only have one master, and that is the wind industry that subsidizes their political campaigns.

It matters little to them that as more windmills are put up, our rates will increase, as the latest 20 percent by Edison.

Perhaps, this may wake people up to the fact that wind energy will not reduce their bills and the 100+/- MW that they generate does not provide power for the 250,000 homes that they claim.

You are being duped by the wind industry and our politicians.

Alexandra WeitWhitewater

The Desert Sun

29 July 2008

Turbine woe couple in council tax victory



 Story found at  from National Wind Watch
Tax Break for turbine case couple

A couple who say their home has been blighted by noise from a wind farm have won a 20% reduction in council tax because the house’s value has dropped.
Julian and Jane Davis moved into a house on Mr Davis’ farm in 2001 and planned to extend the property.
In 2006, eight 100m (328ft) wind turbines were put up 930m (3,051ft) from the house in Spalding.
A council tax tribunal panel ruled the wind farm had reduced the value of the house and changed it from Band B to A.
“This has completely blighted our lives,” said Mrs Davis. “Most of the time the noise is serious and all the time it is annoying.
“By September 2006 [three months after the turbines were installed], we were forced to sleep on people’s floors just so we could get a night’s sleep. By December we decided to rent another house so we would have somewhere to sleep.”
‘Real not imagined’
Wind Prospect Group Limited, which constructed the turbines, said investigators did not find the noise was a nuisance.
The couple claim they can hear different types of noise at various times of the day and night, including “swishing, ripping/flashing, low frequency humming and mechanical turning, background roar and helicopter noise (aerodynamic modulation)”.
Their council tax was reduced by £200 a year, Mrs Davis said.
Although investigators sent by the Lincolnshire Valuation Tribunal to measure noise levels did not find any problems, the panel conceded the construction of the windfarm “had had a significant detrimental effect on the appellants’ quiet enjoyment of their properties.
“The tribunal therefore found that the nuisance caused by the wind farm was real and not imagined and it would have had some effect upon the potential sale price of the appeal dwellings.”
In a statement, the developer Wind Prospect Group said: “After a review of recordings obtained and their own observations on site, the opinion of the environmental health professionals was that at no time did the noise experienced or recorded amount to a statutory noise nuisance.”
The turbines are now owned and operated by Fenland Windfarms Ltd, a subsidiary of EDF Energies Nouvelles.
By Stephen Briggs

Link here to read article

29 July 2008


 Original By Stephen Briggs
29 July 2008


Monday, July 28, 2008

Wind turbines found to cause sickness


SAGINAW — T-Boone Pickens says they’re the wave of the future.
But a wind turbine meant to save one Saginaw family on electricity has instead sparked a huge headache for their neighbors.
“It makes a terrible air raid noise,” says Debbie Behrens, about the high-pitched whine made by the turbine. “It’s driving me crazy.”
What’s worse, is that Debbie and her son Lance both say that high-pitched hum is now causing them problems, physically.
“You occasionally have the dizziness,” explains Lance, “The ringing in the ears, I’ve never experienced the ringing in the ears.”
It turns out, there is a documented health condition associated with the noise generated by some windmills called: Wind turbine Syndrome.
Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea and ringing in the ears — known as tinnitus.
Dr. Lee Wilson of the Callier Center says the noise from most turbines isn’t loud enough to cause actual loss, but constant sound can cause other problems.
“Any kind of thing like that has the potential to affect those kinds of feelings,” says Dr. Wilson. “And they’re real. I mean you’re really sick, nauseated, but it may be a result of some anxiety that’s related to what you’re hearing rather than the actual sound.”
Because there aren’t many windmills around, Dr. Wilson hasn’t yet seen any cases.
And, not every turbine makes that whine.
For example, the giant mills near Sweetwater make a quiet thump, as they spin.
Doctors say some people are more sensitive to constant sound than others.
The people who put the small, residential turbine in Saginaw aren’t bothered at all.
But the Behrens believe without attention and potentially regulation, wind turbine noise could become a major problem in neighborhoods, as the country switches to more eco-friendly energy sources. Some science shows turbines should be at least a mile away from homes.
The turbine that stands 50-years out the Behren’s back door, is loud enough to make them want to move.
“My life savings is in this house,” said Debbie, “But, I would not live with that going here for the rest of my life, no.”
By Janet St. James
WFAA-TV
Story not available at link
wfaa.com
28 July 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008

*STATEWIDE-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo launches Investigation into Wind Developments

July-18-2008



Cuomo investigating alleged 'dirty tricks' in local windmill projects



STATEWIDE—State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo launches an investigation aimed at two out of state companies developing wind farms in Lackawanna and across New York .[1]





"We've had a number of complaints from counties all over the state, from Franklin all the way over to Erie," said John Milgrim, spokesman for Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne was among "DAs from eight counties, public officials and citizens" who bombarded Albany with complaints about Noble and Massachusetts-based First Wind, formerly known as UPC Wind, he said. Subpoenas were served on both companies Tuesday, seeking an assortment of documents pertaining to agreements and easements obtained from property owners and public officials.[7] Attorney General Andrew Cuomo says the investigation was launched against First Wind, formerly UPC Wind, which developed the Steel Winds turbine, and Noble Environmental Power after complaints made by residents and public officials alike.[8] Back in May, wind-farm opponents pressed the state Attorney General's Office for an investigation into allegations of false claims, filing false instruments, bribery of public officials, larceny and fraud. Those accused by Cohocton Wind Watch of illegal actions are the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency, SCIDA Executive Director James Sherron, town and planning board members in several towns including Cohocton and Prattsburgh, and wind developers EcoGen and First Wind. Allegations by citizens' group include: the wind developers knowingly provided and submitted false statements and false instruments for permits and during environmental studies; the developers improperly influenced public officials through cash bribes, lucrative lease terms, bogus real estate transactions, purchase of personal property and contingent real estate purchase offers; developers seeking leases for wind turbine sites or easements for access roads and transmission lines have lied to convince landowners to sign away their rights.[9]



Overview of subpoenas issued



The subpoenas issued Tuesday were for all documents related to benefits conferred to an individual or entity in connection with wind farms; all agreements, easements or contracts regarding placement of wind turbines; agreements between wind companies that could indicate anti-competitive practices; and anything pertaining to payments or benefits received from local, state or federal agencies, according to Cuomo's office.[4] The subpoenas also seek all agreements on the placement of wind turbines, any non-compete clauses, and any payments to or benefits received from local, state or federal agencies.[3]





First Wind has three operational wind farms and 48 others in development across the country, according to its Web site. [9] Wind farm opponents were thrilled by the news that Cuomo's office is looking into the two developers. "We're ecstatic that is finally listening to what New York State taxpayers have been saying: that this is nothing but a total rip-off of the taxpayer," said Judy Hall, a member of Cohocton Wind Watch, which is fighting a First Wind wind farm in its community. Hall complained that communities aren't made aware of proposed wind farms until they're already approved and accused local leaders and developers of striking under-the-table deals to get the projects approved.[4] First Wind, which has several wind power generation projects in upstate, and Noble Environmental Power, which has projects in Western New York, are being looked at by Cuomo for possible anti-competitive practices.[2]



Noble Environmental Power has wind farm projects in Allegany, Chatauqua, and Wyoming Counties.[8] Chester, Connecticut-based Noble Environmental is operating three wind farms and five in development in Clinton, Franklin, Allegany, Chautauqua and Wyoming counties.[6]



First Wind has wind farms in development in Steuben, Chautauqua, Genesee and Wyoming counties in New York.[6] First Wind, according to Cuomo, have been developing wind farms in Erie County and has wind farms in development in Steuben, Chautauqua, Genesee and Wyoming counties.[3] First Wind has three operational wind farms and 48 others under development across the United States and in Steuben, Chautauqua, Genesee and Wyoming counties.[7] First Wind built the Steel Winds project along Lake Erie in the city of Lackawanna and has wind farms in development in Steuben, Chautauqua, Genesee and Wyoming (GenWY Wind) counties.[1]



the use of wind power, like all renewable energy sources, "The use of wind power, like all renewable energy sources, should be encouraged to help clean our air and end our reliance on fossil fuels," Cuomo said in a statement. "However, public integrity remains a top priority of my office and if dirty tricks are used to facilitate even clean-energy projects, my office will put a stop to it," he said.[4] In a written statement, Cuomo said the use of wind power is encouraged. He added that if dirty tricks are involved, his office will intervene. [5]







SOURCES



1. Wind farm deals under investigation - Business First of Buffalo:

2. Wind farm developers being investigated by state attorney general: Home: The Buffalo News

3. Cuomo investigates wind companies | PoughkeepsieJournal.com | Poughkeepsie Journal

4. Cuomo investigating alleged 'dirty tricks' in local windmill projects: City & Region: The Buffalo News

5. wbfo Newsroom



6. Wind-energy Companies Face Investigation

7. The Press Republican - Noble wind-energy firm under investigation

8. WBEN 930 : NYS Investigates Steel Winds Developer

9. Wind companies being investigated - Rochester, NY - MPNnow

draft

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Lack of Ability or Lack of Character?

The special Senate election between Will Barclay and Darrel Aubertine brought forth accusations of a conflict of interest for Darrel Aubertine.
February 23, 2008 The Valley news on line reported that on June 4, 2003, Assemblyman Aubertine voted in favor of legislation that would allow farmers to host wind turbines without having their property-tax assessments increased.
Responding to accusations of a conflict of interest in a television interview Aubertine denied voting on any wind power issues “no, not at all, “he said “I never-one way or the other- certainly not for personal gain.

February 22, 2008 the Syracuse Post standard wrote that when the Standard’s editorial board asked Aubertine if he thought it was appropriate to vote on a measure that affected his own property he responded, “If it was me alone, no” but, he said, “it’s not me, it’s the town and dozens of other landowners ."

A spokesperson for the Aubertine campaign denied any conflict of interest.

“That vote happened over a year before he sold his wind rights,” Aubertine spokesperson Cort Ruddy said, “those towers, if they are ever built, would be owned by the company and would not impact Darrel’s assessment at all. ”Ruddy added that the only approval process is done locally. “The company is going to set up an arrangement with the town for payment-in-lieu of taxes (pilot payments) and there’s usually no assessment,” Ruddy noted.

~~~
It is true that the June 4, 2003 vote occurred over a year before Aubertine sold his wind rights however, May, 25 2003 the Watertown Times reported that  then Assemblyman Darrel J. Aubertine said a company had approached him about installing wind-powered generators on his property and the properties belonging to three of his neighbors. Aubertine also said the company had been monitoring the wind in the town of Cape Vincent for a year and determined it was ideal for wind development.
 
New York wind/ Acciona applied for a met tower permit for a parcel on Constance road in May of 2002, over a year before the vote in question. Additionally Aubertines spokesperson deflected the conflict question by responding about assessments and PILOT payments when the bill was about land conversion penalties .

Previously, when land receiving an agricultural assessment was converted to a non-agricultural use, it was subject to a conversion payment equaling five times the taxes paid in the last year in which it received the assessment, plus interest of 6% per year for each year it received the assessment, up to five years.
 
The bill Aubertine signed eliminated this tax penalty for farmers changing the use of their land from agricultural to non-agricultural.
If Aubertine hosts wind turbines on his land he will directly benefit from this bill.
  
Aubertines problems did not end with the election, after being elected ,Aubertine hired his sister to work in his district office, violating the ethics reform legislation he co-sponsored in 2007 He called it "an error in judgment." The ethics reform law he broke called for a 40,000 penalty for this type of “error in judgment.”

Darrel Aubertine had another error in judgment that has plagued him through his political career Darrel Aubertines shameful letter to the Cape Vincent Town Board encouraging board members to vote even though they had conflicts of interest.

 To date this letter is the Single most down loaded and viewed document on my blog.