Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Planning Board Chair Richard Macsherry addresses Mr. Chandler.

 Richard Macsherry: With all due respect, most of us in our adult lives have been in a situation where you think am I on a different planet? And that's, to be very honest with you sir, either you haven't kept up with what has gone on for six years, or it is a business model to ignore it but this is a town that is as impacted as any other where there is not uniformity in perception.

 I do have something that I worked on for the last week and a half and which are due consideration. Ladies and gentlemen it is keenly instructive to remind ourselves how industrial wind came to the town of Cape Vincent.  I will note up front that only those directly involved from landowners to developer representatives know exactly when the first contacts were made. You see secrecy has always been a hallmark of the energy prospector’s business model. For 10, 15 years and perhaps more this Township has been a target for wind development.

What we have come to know with certainty, is through the leases  such as this and I do have an original here, as this example dated July 26, 2010 the developers took license, aided by the lax in nature of New York State real – a state law to legally bind a land – owner to do the wind companies bidding. And I quote from section 8.4 entitled requirements of governmental agencies, “owner(owner is the land owner) owner shall assist and fully cooperate with grantee, at no out-of-pocket expense to owner, and complying with or obtaining any land-use permits and approvals, building permits, environmental impact reviews, or any other approvals required for the financing, construction, installation, relocation, replacement, maintenance, operation or removal of wind power facilities in the project, this is interesting it's in parentheses (whether located on the property, on the adjacent property, or elsewhere) (goodness elsewhere) including execution of applications for such approvals, if required." Further," in connection with any applications for such approvals, owner agrees a grantee's request to support such applications (again at no out-of-pocket expense to owner) at any administrative, judicial or legislative level."

 Finally, and I'm almost done with this recitation"

 in the event that any laws, rules, regulations or ordinances of any governmental agency provide for setbacks or otherwise restrict the location of any wind power facilities to be installed on the property were adjacent properties, owner shall cooperate with grantee in obtaining waivers such as setbacks and shall execute any documents reasonably requested by grantee to evidence owners waiver of such setbacks."

Ladies and gentlemen, you will hear from others the issue of setbacks that is when tower distances from residents, property lines, roads and so forth. No wonder given what I have read above that BP and other developers claim (prior to Cape Vincent) such uniformity in siting criteria in currently operating wind farms in the state of New York. This lockstep tightness in force through contract stipulations generates the basis for what BP interprets as an industry standard. And as what Mr. Chandler said the company standards. What is clear is the goal of targeting community through biased efforts of compensated and compromised local citizens.

 By the way I did miss the point here that there is   no scientific justification embodied in the BP lease requirements.

The Cape Vincent community at large gradually began to grasp the implications of industrial wind and the hold their leases held over the landowners. In 2007 two town board members held wind leases and another’s family held leases. The planning board chair held leases in the board secretary was conflicted with lease holding family ties. To wind developers were courting business here and conflicted town officials played loose attention to the town's code of ethics. Recusal from official involvement was considered appropriate but only in the context of which company you are signed with. It didn't matter what the promotion of corporate wins agenda was a conflict no matter which developers application your actions furthered one was meant to complement the other.
The ethical due diligence expected of elected and appointed officials was secondary to the explicit expectations of leaseholders and the potential for personal profit. At this point you might ask didn't anyone step forward to question this masking of ethical governance? Certainly. Privilege of the floor was allowed town board meetings, but answers, let alone justifications for actions were rare but definitely tinged with the motion. Planning board protocol under the lease holding chair was to deny most residents their right of speech. Beginning in 2008 the videotape records of these meetings the suppression of citizens’ speech. The act of suppression were characterized by such vehemence that many residents withdrew from public interaction. One clearly remembers the visceral shock of this.

Compromised behavior on the part of political leadership usually does not persist without support. Such support was given, in writing by a sitting State Sen. and local land/lease holder in 2006, this was bolstered in 2008, by a staff attorney with the firm Whiteman Osterman and Hannah who coincidentally had been hired by the town at the request of the lease- holding planning board chair. That law firm has had a long history of pro- wind advocacy. I ask, what does the average listener   conclude was happening? BP's wind energy's business model has the effectively separates the few with self-interests from the majority whose only expectation was and is for transparent and inclusive and truly representative governance.

Did anyone in the town of Cape Vincent, New York complaining? Yes, early and often to the state attorney general's office. The record of this activity is robust and for all to see. After six years the case against conflicting governance due to wind related influence presumably remains  open, yet there is been no remedial action taken by the New York State Atty. Gen.'s office.
It was interesting to note however, on August 19, 2009 a Mr.Sakurada, VP for BP wind energy did sign the governors newly framed code of conduct agreement. Local project manager Jim Madden signed the same pledge on July, 30, 2009, again window dressing. There was no behavioral change on the part of either BP or local leaseholders in positions of power.

 I am almost done.

In 2011, the ballot box, the majorities last resort land, and even sell without a single illegality, to the changes that state government was not willing to address. There are no longer conflicted/lease holding residence on the elected town board. Conflicted planning board members recuse themselves from wind -related issues. And now, the ex-attorney general and current Gov.'s action seemed directed at sacrificing Cape Vincent, New York to fulfill a goal, a goal for expanded energy availability. The evidence here lies in his resurrection of article 10 legislation and rules. W Link this appears to be his tacit acceptance of the BP tactical business model. Our home rule rights have been denied; by and attorney general and governor whom we once trusted. Mr. Chandler and Mr. Cuomo let the discussion begin. You both know very well, that alternatives to taking Cape Vincent do exist.

Crowd cheering.

   Richard Macsherry: you know, there's no celebration for any of us. There's no celebration for the people who trusted what they were told individually in their homes and there's no celebration for me ,at one time I was willing to do some negotiating.  I can't now. This is just gone too far and public outreach, I just, you have to sincerely sir, address what is really the division of this town.  And if you're interested in just ignoring that, you have a heck of a time these next several months because the past is with us.
The issue with what went before with the prior planning board with SEQRA. I would defy anybody to tell me that due diligence was served. It was not, it was self-interest that was served. So, as far as I'm concerned, you're starting all over, and what you claim in your PIP, you really need to rethink, whether you're addressing this town all sides honestly, or this is more of just the slickness, because there are some of us that have really been out in the world before.  This is not the end of Appalachia which one of BPs proponents called us.

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