BP's Tatics in Cape Vincent Ny

Friday, November 30, 2012

Honorable Secretary Brilling

BP has been suspended from winning new government contracts. Due to what the EPA cited as a "lack of business integrity."


Honorable Jaclyn A. Brilling
Secretary, New York State Public Service Commission
Three Empire State Plaza
Albany, New York 12223-1350

 RE: Case 12-F - 0410: Application of Cape Vincent Wind Power LLC, for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need to Construct an approximately 200-285 MW Wind Electric Generating Facility in the Town of Cape Vincent NY.
 Honorable Secretary Brilling,

 I am submitting this letter in regard to BP’s continued pursuit of their Cape Vincent, Wind Power Project under an article 10 process.

 BP has been suspended from winning new government contracts. Due to what the EPA cited as a "lack of business integrity."

 For the past 6 years Cape Vincent has been a victim of BP’s lack of business integrity.
BP came into our community like thieves in the night, quietly signing many of our Town Officials and their families to Wind Leases and Good Neighbor Agreements, knowing this would create blatant conflicts of interest. This is a clear violation of the town’s ethics code and NY State law. These conflicted Municipal Officers played a pivotal role in moving BP and Acciona’s projects along.

 As a result of complaints over these conflicts of interests and subsequent actions taken by our Municipal Officers, then Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, launched an investigation that to this day has not properly addressed the conflicts of interests.  As a result, our community galvanized and through the democratic process we were able to eliminate the conflicted officials, removing BP’s influence/control over the approval process. 
  
  Now BP is attempting to bypass our community by pursuing their project through an Article 10, process. BP has submitted a public involvement program that grossly distorts their public involvement and outreach in our community.
The only board or community members that BP has reached out to are the ones that have signed financial agreements with BP.

 Recently; BP Wind Power Development Director, Richard Chandler
  stated publically, “we have an incredible amount of support from the community”.
BP began promoting their project by cultivating a fa├žade of community support.
  In 2007, BP retained the services of Trieste Associates (Marion Trieste) and her company’s team of public outreach experts to assist with planning events to educate and engage the public. As part of this effort, BP assisted a group of local wind power supporters in the Towns of Cape Vincent and Lyme to form a group known as Voters for Wind (VFW). [1] 

 Marion Trieste uses a community outreach technique she defines as grassroots organizing. Typically a grassroots movement is driven by the politics of a community however; Trieste specializes in developing grassroots movements that are driven by the politics of the wind developer. [2]  

Trieste organized a body of residents consisting largely of wind lease holders whom expect to profit from the wind turbine developments in Cape Vincent, NY.
 Over the years Voters for Wind have been successful in maintaining the appearance of being a civic organization, independent of the wind developers.
  Recently in their PIP, BP, re -branded Voters for wind as a public interest group they developed as part of their public outreach and education process. 
 Voters for Wind have been actively and aggressively promoting and assisting BP/Acciona with their respective wind projects.

  Below I have listed a few noteworthy outreach activities, conducted by BP’s Voters for Wind. 

 August 14, 2008 - Voters for Wind filed and won a lawsuit against town board members who voted for a law to regulate the siting of wind turbines in the town of Lyme, New York[3][4] ( Lyme is a stakeholder in BP’s Cape Vincent wind project)
  
May 5, 2010 - Voters for Wind were successful in derailing Cape Vincent’s efforts to enact a wind law.
 Over the years Cape Vincent has made several unsuccessful attempts to develop a zoning law to properly regulate the siting of industrial wind towers.
  A committee convened in 2010, and over the course of several months they reached a consensus on a wind law. However May 2, 2010 through the efforts of   a Voter for Wind spokesperson the agreement was sabotaged.
  The Voter for Wind spokesperson introduced data containing facts and figures supportive of a less restrictive, developer friendly wind law .The lease holding committee members agreed with the Voter for Wind spokesperson, consequently the process was subverted [5] [6]
Three days after this last wind law committee meeting, BP business developer, Jim Madden, sent a letter to the Cape Vincent Town Board containing the exact same data that the Voter for Wind spokesperson had presented to the wind law committee as her own.  It became apparent that the Voter for Wind Spokesperson was representing BP, and not the interests of the community. [7][8]

August 5, 2010 - during a Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency (JCIDA) meeting , members began discussing drafting a policy based on an idea put forward by Justin S. Miller, Harris Beach PLLC, Albany which would preclude local governments from signing off on any deal the agency made with a developer.[9]  
A voter for wind spokesperson supported taking away local jurisdiction as well,  stating  "I am appalled that anyone on this board would consider distorting the mission of the JCIDA to attempt to control alternative energy development by giving school boards the power to kill a project. We vote for our school board members on the basis of their ability to run our school, not our town or county. This back-door effort to kill wind power in Jefferson County is alarming and a gross misuse of power. Do not destroy the reputation of the JCIDA by using it as a political weapon. [10]

January 13, 2011 - At the Cape Vincent Town Board meeting, Voters for wind called for the resignation of Cape Vincent’s Town Supervisor because he released a series of 51 documents, that revealed the initial study on ambient sound levels conducted by the wind developers consulting firm, was "flawed" and that the "Planning Board had ignored the recommendations" of the town's own acoustic consultants. [11], [12]

Since their inception, Voters for Wind have been extremely vocal in promoting BP’s Cape Vincent Wind Project. In their pursuit of thwarting the opposition various members of this civic organization have engaged in other non- traditional activities that may or may not have been carried out under the direction of BP.

   BP’s record in Cape Vincent and Lyme is abhorrent; we have been used and abused by BP’s lack of business integrity. Their Development methods have been and continue to be unduly burdensome.  As long as BP has a presence in our communities we cannot begin to repair the damage done by their underhanded activities. In light of their past and continued actions, I respectfully implore you, to dismiss BP’s application for their Cape Vincent Wind Farm project.

 Sincerely,

Kathryn A. Hludzenski

Cape Vincent,NY




  

An anonymous comment came in to this post ,asking an important question


I posted a story today  titled  "Appraiser: Property values hurt by turbines":   The story tells about a proposed wind farm in southwestern Lee County Michael McCann of Chicago testified before the Lee County Zoning Board of Appeals on Ireland-based Mainstream Renewable Power’s plan for 53 turbines.
likely would cause nearby property values to drop .
An anonymous comment came in to this post asking an important question

 Anonymous  wrote ~ McCann has said the same for the Cape. Will he testify to the PSC on the behalf of the Cape Vincent homeowners who will lose big time if Bp is allowed to take our community? 


 Michael S. McCann, McCann Appraisal, LLC reviewed the Cape Vincent wind economic committees report on the economic impacts a wind development would have on our community.
McCann found that after completing his review of the subject location, it was clear that numerous homes in the Cape Vincent area will be adversely impacted, and the best available evidence indicates that value loss of 25% to 40% or more will occur to homes within approximately 2 miles of the turbines. This impact is not expected to be uniform, and some losses may well be lower and others higher.

His full report can be read at this link


Michael McCann has kept abreast of the latest developments in Cape Vincent. The following is an email correspondence between Mr. McCann and a resident of Cape Vincent.

 From: Mike McCann
 I read the * linked article,  and a thought occurred to me that may be of some use to you.

In Illinois, farm land values have shot up tremendously over the last several years, from around $3,500-$4,000 per acre to about $10,000 per acre currently. The reasons for this are the increased price of commodities and lower interest rates, which have made farming highly profitable and created more demand and competition for good quality AG dirt.
If this is also true in upstate New York, then all the farmers need to do is sell off a few acres to cover the “losses” that they claim from not getting a huge lease windfall income.
But, more importantly from a zoning/case law perspective, if farm values have increased there, then the land owners do not have a valid claim to “hardship” or financial plight that could be used (theoretically) to help justify a zoning variation or special use.
You know who to call to check local farm prices/sales, so I leave it to you to follow up. But let me know if I can be of any service.
P.S. I see my name and work is still being cited in the blogosphere. And I thought I just had tinnitus..Ha!
Regards,
Michael S. McCann
McCann Appraisal, LLC
~~
 To: 'Mike McCann'
This link will take to the Town web site where the draft of Cape Vincent’s law is:

 http://townofcapevincent.org/docs/cat_view/14-miscellaneous.html

Click in the Down Load for “Draft Zoning Law 6-4-12”
The sections that you would be interested in are: 6.7 Noise, 7.16 Tall Structures Applications,
Setbacks:

9) To protect the health and safety of all Town residents from ice throw and potential rotor failure, each WECS shall be setback a minimum of:
[a] Six times the total height of the proposed WECS from the nearest residence.

[b] Six times the total height of the proposed WECS from the nearest project boundary or property line.

[c] Six times the total height of the proposed WECS from any road.

[d] 1.25 miles from any WECS to the boundaries of the Village of Cape Vincent and from the Hamlets of Rosiere, Millens Bay, and St. Lawrence Corners as shown on the “Large Scale WECS Exclusion Map,”
Appendix 9.

[e] 1.25 miles from schools. Appendix 9, Large Scale WECS Exclusion Map

[f] In order to ensure that residents of adjoining Towns of Lyme and Clayton are not negatively affected by any WECS proposed in the Town of Cape Vincent, any WECS near the Town’s boundaries shall comply with the Noise Standards in Section 6.7 and shall be no closer than six times the total height of the proposed WECS to that boundary.

10) A map entitled, “Large Scale WECS Exclusion Map,” is attached to this Law as Appendix 9 and it delineates the areas of the Town within which WECS are excluded in conformity with the setbacks established here in above.

The new law has been a six months effort (meeting twice a week for 3 hours time.  We had a committee of 10 people that really busted their hump.

 Thanks for your continued interest in our Town
~~~
From: Mike McCann
I read 6.7 and 7.16 now. Looks pretty solid. Any idea if BP will challenge it legally?
~~~
To: 'Mike McCann'
The Town received a letter from BP stating that the new Z/L prohibits siting turbines in the town.
They intend to take it to the Article 10 Siting Board as being “unreasonably brudensone”
We will see!
~~~~
From: Mike McCann
Burdensome? How reasonable is it to dump their burden on 96% of property owners in Cape Vincent? (Rhetorical question, of course).

Keep me in mind if any supporting testimony is needed at an Article 10 hearing (?)

Michael S. McCann

Real Estate Appraisal & Consulting

* Linked article referred to by Mr McCann ~ The fight over wind farms continues in Cape Vincent

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Appraiser: Property values hurt by turbines

  
DIXON ILLINOIS – A proposed wind farm in southwestern Lee County likely would cause nearby property values to drop, a property appraiser said Wednesday.

Appraiser Michael McCann of Chicago testified before the Lee County Zoning Board of Appeals on Ireland-based Mainstream Renewable Power’s plan for 53 turbines.

The board already has heard from another appraiser, Michael Crowley of Bureau County, who was paid by Mainstream. He contended he could find no evidence that the proposed turbines would hurt the value of nearby properties long term.

McCann, however, said he found the proposed wind farm would likely cause nearby property values to drop by 40 percent to 50 percent and nearby farmland by 10 percent. Link here to continue reading
  
BP claims that property devaluation is not a problem...

A Cape Vincent Home owner Writes to the Public Service Commission concerning their property devaluation. 

 Secretary to the Siting Board
Hon. Jaclyn A. Brilling

I have been a regular visitor to the St. Lawrence River and the 1000 Islands Region of New York State since the early 1960's.  Once I became familiar with the Cape Vincent, New York area, I fell in love with a section called the Tibbetts Point Lighthouse Road.

This road runs from the village of Cape Vincent  to the historic lighthouse on Tibbetts Point.  This is where Lake Ontario forms the St. Lawrence River.  There are no houses on the river side of the road.  Directlly across the river is Wolfe Island, Ontario, Canada.

I dreamed for years of owning property and a home on this road.  I wanted to sit on my front deck and watch the river run, the wildlife and the seaway traffic.
In 2006 that dream came true.  My wife and I were able to buy 7.7 acres for $313,000.  We started to build our river home in 2006 and finished it in 2007.  It was built by a local contractor.  When it was completed in 2007, our total investment in this land, house and landscaping came to $1,036,000.  A nice addition to the local tax base.

Shortly after we took possession of this home the Province of Ontario authorized the construction of wind turbines on Wolfe Island, Ontario, Canada directly across the river from our new home.  We can now see 67 of them from our front deck.  At night instead of stars, we have flashing red lights.  We hear the turbine noise 24 hours a day if the wind is from the west or northwest.
Two real estate agents have told us that if we were to try and sell our new home at this time we would be lucky to sell it for $500,000 to $600,000. 

A reduction of my investment of some 40-50%. I say again, a loss of 40-50% . The reason they give is the view shed of 67 wind turbines on Wolfe Island and the threat of British Petroleum constructing 100 plus 499 foot tall wind turbines around the Village of Cape Vincent,NY.
 
Industrial wind turbines should not be allowed to built anywhere there are residences that will see devaluation of their property value of 20-50 %.  There is no logic that can justify doing so.
The western end of Wolfe Island, Canada is now a real estate grave yard and will remain so until such time that the turbines are gone.  The same effect will be felt all around the village and town of Cape Vincent if BP is allowed to construct turbines.  It will be a real estate grave yard for years and the financial blow to the local tax base will be devastating.

Industrial wind turbines do not belong near people and residences.  Why should our tax dollars be used to subsidize their operation while at the same time we see our property devalued?  There is only one answer to the question - it should not be allowed to happen.

There is no single individual on the Siting Board, the PSC or in power in Albany that would want this situation forced on them…

Please do not allow this travesty to be forced on our area.  It would destroy the 1000 Islands;  one of the natural jewels of New York State.


 Respectfuly submitted

A letter from a resident of the "eighth wonder of the world",



November 28, 2012
Honorable Jaclyn A Brilling, Secretary NYS Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment 3 Empire Plaza Albany NY 12223 RE: Case 12-F-0410: Application of Cape Vincent Wind Power, LLC for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need to Construct an approximately 200-285 MW Wind Electric Generating Facility in the Town of Cape Vincent, NY

Dear Secretary Brilling and Members of the NY State Electric Generation Siting Board,

It’s hard to imagine it has come to this. Something is wrong when people have to write letters to plead for the protection of one of NY State’s most amazing natural resources, the 1000 Islands, from mass industrial destruction. The Adirondack Park is protected! The Hudson River Valley is protected! The East Hampton’s are protected! But one of the greatest natural resources NYS has within its boundaries is in a position to be altered forever by corporate greed all in the name of an unproven, inefficient means of renewable energy. The 1000 Islands have been and remain a natural attraction for all those who live here because, to them, there is no other place like it on earth… for all those who spend summers here because it’s part of their genetic makeup or experience to be close to the islands whenever they can; and for all those who have visited here because they heard what an amazing area this is and had to find out for themselves. The Islands attract and intrigue humans of all races, ages, and status.

As one who has been deeply involved in attempting to understand renewable energy’s "
big picture", I am at a loss to comprehend how placing hundreds of 50-story structures next to population areas makes any sense, other than to create a divisive situation for all who are unlucky enough to be picked to endure these projects of mass destruction. The collective wisdom of those who truly care about this area came to the conclusion it was wrong and felt it was imperative to strengthen the local laws and

zoning ordinances to reflect a common sense approach to this issue that would ensure the health, safety and economic welfare of its residents and they spent 1000’s of hours doing so. This stance branded them as NIMBY’s (Not In My Back Yard) and roused the ire of wind developers who saw their "carte blanche" power to cover upstate NY with wind projects dwindling. Enter… NY State lawmakers who determined an appointed panel would be the best solution to settle this issue.

Now it’s come down to the five of you controlling the future of this region with regard to electric generation that brings with it the total altering of miles and miles of landscape and a change in life quality for thousands and thousands of residents. In my opinion that’s a responsibility that brings with it a duty to put the welfare of constituents ahead of corporate influence. If only there was a way for you to experience the "real emotion" that lies beneath the surface of your decision; to sit with residents of towns who have been deeply divided over this issue, to spend time in the homes of residents who live in the middle of these projects and whose life no longer resembles life as they knew it, to talk to those who have watched their property values plummet and their attempts to sell unsuccessful. This is the part of the equation that appears to be under-investigated by the rule makers in Albany. Does it make it easier to guide policy from an office at the state Capitol if you don’t have to look at or listen to the victims of your decisions?

As a resident of this "eighth wonder of the world", I have to trust you take your appointment to this siting board seriously and will ensure that all stones will be uncovered to reveal the information necessary to make the best possible siting decisions. My hope is when these stones are turned over, you will see the situation for what it truly is and conclude the 1000 Islands must be allowed to remain free of industrial destruction of this magnitude. We must be able to continue to honor the ways of the Native Americans who understood the importance of protecting and preserving this natural resource they called "Manitonna" (translated to mean "Garden of the Great Spirit"), thus leaving the legacy of the 1000 Islands intact for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.

Thank you for listening.
 

Town of Cape Vincent Supervisor

Responds to BP Letter dated November 20, 2012


November 26, 2012
Hon. Jaclyn A. Brilling
Secretary, New York State Public Service Commission
Three Empire state Plaza
Albany, NY 12223-1350

Re: Case 12-F-0410

Dear Secretary Brilling:

We are in receipt of a letter dated November 20, 2012 from Mr. Larry Folks, Senior Vice
President and Chief Development Officer for BP Wind Energy North America, Inc.

Mr. Folks claims in his letter to respond to a letter sent to BP Alternative Energy and BP Wind Energy North America on October 30, 2012. In that October 30 letter we, the collective elected and appointed officials of the government of the Town of Cape Vincent, expressed a number of problems we experienced in attempting to learn BPs plans for a major wind power development project in our town.

Mr. Folks’ letter is a “response” only in the most technical sense. In fact, it is wholly
unresponsive. Of the several concerns and questions clearly set forth in our letter, Mr. Folks does not respond to any of them. His letter does not merely fail to clarify anything; it does not even do us the courtesy of acknowledging the issues presented in our letter.

BP Wind Energy claims to be proceeding in good faith under Article 10 by engaging in a Public Involvement Program (PIP) through which they will diligently seek to inform and educate the residents of Cape Vincent and other stakeholders. However, the referenced BP letter shows no trace of genuine public involvement. It is nothing more than a few short paragraphs of very standard BP marketing language quoting generalized benefits that BP asserts will come to a community from having a wind project. We could have lifted that language from one of their
brochures.


The letter concludes with BP claim to be looking forward to “continuing dialogue” with us, but
we are unaware of any dialogue to date with BP -- in spite of our repeated efforts to have one.
BP’s effort is better characterized as a monologue, not a dialog.

This most recent communication from BP is very disturbing. It serves as further indication that
our town is faced with a major industrial developer, proposing a project of unprecedented size
and scope, which refuses to talk with us in any meaningful way.

We trust that you will weigh our concerns and frustrations very carefully as you continue to
evaluate BP’s so-called public involvement with the Town of Cape Vincent.

Sincerely,
Urban C. Hirschey
Supervisor

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

EPA suspends BP from winning new government contracts

"lack of business integrity"

By George Talbot on November 28,

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said today it was suspending BP from bidding on any new government contracts, citing a "lack of business integrity" by the company in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon catastrophe.


The EPA said the suspension is temporary and doesn't affect existing contracts. BP is the top supplier of fuel to the U.S. Department of Defense, representing hundreds of millions of dollars to the company and its affiliates.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

  BEAUTY CORRUPTION

Beauty Corruption 
A Protest Song in response to plans 
to build  industrial wind turbines 
in areas of outstanding beauty,
 Video taped at a planned turbine site Benington Village Hertfordshire (UK)





   Read about Benington's Industrial Wind War at this link


Attention: Article 10 Stakeholder Participants

 A new Frequently Asked Questions section has been added to the Siting Board
website that may be of interest to you.  It should be accessible at the
following link:

http://www3.dps.ny.gov/W/PSCWeb.nsf/ArticlesByTitle/9D5267D9751140B285257AB8007079E1?OpenDocument


PAUL AGRESTA
Administrative Law Judge
New York State Department of Public Service
Three Empire State Plaza
Albany, New York 12223
Tel: (518) 474-6436
Fax: (518) 473-3263
paul.agresta@dps.ny.gov

*************************************
WE WORK FOR THE PEOPLE
 Performance * Integrity * Pride

BP’s CAPE VINCENT WIND FARM
BECAUSE WE SAID SO
DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY
.


   . 
     

BP’s Top Ten Because We said so Phrases,
Utilized in their 
Public Outreach  
 


1.     Our wind farm is a good project for Cape Vincent.

2.    We have overwhelming support for our Cape Vincent Wind Farm Project. 

3.    Turbine setbacks are adequate to protect Cape Vincent residents.

4.     Turbine noise is not an issue for the residents of Cape Vincent.

5.    Property devaluation is not an issue for residents of Cape Vincent
  
6.    View shed problems are not an issue for residents Cape Vincent

7.    Distributing  misleading PILOT information to the residents of Cape Vincent is acceptable.

8.    It's OK for our project to violate Cape Vincent's  zoning law.

9.    Signing Cape Vincent municipal officers to wind leases is public involvement.

10.  If we build it residents of Cape Vincent will accept it.

Monday, November 26, 2012

PLEASE KEEP TURBINES OUT OF THE THOUSAND ISLAND AREA.


Dear Sirs,
I am an American citizen living on Wolfe Island, where our landscape has been devastated by 86 IWTs.  Recent studies show how destructive these turbines are to birds and bats.  My friends have had the value of their homes significantly reduced with no compensation.  they stay and have to tolerate the noise.
I have boated in the Thousand Islands since the mid-fifties and sailed under the Int'l Bridge this summer.  I worked at Customs and Immigration at the Bridge when I was in college.


PLEASE KEEP TURBINES OUT OF THE THOUSAND ISLAND AREA.


Sincerely,


Barrie Gilbert,
Wildlife Ecologist
 Wolfe Island, Ont.
Canada K0H 2Y0

and
Barrie Gilbert, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist Emeritus
Department of Wildland Resources
Utah State University
Logan, UT 84322-3250

PROTECT the 1000 ISLANDS

Participate in the movement to PROTECT the 1000 ISLANDS by joining with all those who are turning to their keyboards to email comments to the address listed. Help send Albany a loud and clear message. Pass the attachment on to everyone you know and ask them to do the same. Your attention to this matter is truly appreciated. Remember, it is our responsibility to protect and carry on the legacy of THE 1000 ISLANDS for our children and grandchildren.








The most recent comments to the Public Service Commission





Link here to read PR in Scribd format

Honorable Jaclyn A Brilling

Secretary NYS Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment

3 Empire Plaza
Albany NY 12223
 
RE: Case 12-F - 0410: Application of Cape Vincent Wind Power LLC for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need to Construct an approximately 200-285 MW Wind Electric Generating Facility in the Town of Cape Vincent NY Honorable Secretary Brilling, I am submitting comments on the following actions taken by BP regarding this project:
 
A. Revised PIP
 
B. Work Session of the Town Board of Cape Vincent, Town Board of Lyme, Planning Board of Cape Vincent and Planning Board of Lyme with Mr. Richard Chandler on October 23, 2013
 
C. Open House regarding this project held in Cape Vincent on November 10, 2013 D. General Observations  

 
A:  On November 17, 2013, BP submitted to you revisions to their PIP plan. Much of the revision is formatting as required by the Article X process with little change in the content or overall approach of the project plan by BP.  I have previously made extensive comments on the initial PIP submitted and will not repeat all of them.  Many of the comments I made in my September 25 and October 10, 2013 letters have not been addressed by the revised PIP.   I wish to draw your attention to the following points:

 

1.       In the Introduction section on page 1, BP states again that "the SLWF completed the SEQRA process with a favorable findings statement.....while the CVWF completed a substantial portion of the SEQRA process...."  These statements are (again) extremely misleading.  First, The SLWF did complete the SEQRA process.....technically.  The SEQRA for the SLWF was completely controlled by a Planning Board Chairman who did hold and still holds leases with BP. He claimed he could vote on the Acciona project since he was not a lease holder with Acciona. Since BP has now bought out this project, any decisions made by financially conflicted Planning Board and Town Board members should not be accepted in the Article X process. Article X  is designed to both streamline decision-making  and protect citizens. Under the SEQRA process in Cape Vincent, major concerns of citizens regarding sound studies, bird and bat studies, property values and health issues were completely ignored by the Town and Planning Board members who held leases with either Acciona or BP. The ethical issues involving this process are still under a NYS Attorney General investigation process that formally began in August 2010.  All work completed in the SEQRA process should be discarded now that BP has started a review with Article X. Second, the CVWF submitted a DEIS and the necessary hearings and comments were made.  Then a SDEIS was submitted to the financially conflicted Planning Board Chairman. This SDEIS was never formally accepted by the Planning Board, no Public Hearing was held and no public comments were accepted. So, in reality, the CVWF completed only Step 1 of the SEQRA process, not  "a substantial portion" as BP continues to claim.

  

2.       On Page 3, BP explains they have eliminated 11 turbines that were initially part of the two previously proposed projects by increasing the size of the remaining 124 turbines. They claim this was done to alleviate visual and sounds concerns about turbines close to the St Lawrence River.  This statement fails to address the multiple concerns of the community regarding placement of turbines in general.  BP does not recognize that visual and sound concerns were not limited just to homes along the St Lawrence River. The revised PIP states, "Studies are in the process to determine the relative impacts associated with a taller turbine."   What studies? When were they started, when will they be completed, when will they be explained to the community?

 

3.       On Page 4, there is a chart of setbacks that BP has used. There is NO explanation of any of these setbacks. A citizen has no way of comparing these setbacks to other wind farms, since this information is not usually provided by the wind farm developers. They appear to be simply what they think a community will accept and how much profit will come from the allotted number of turbines in the project. Cape Vincent Zoning Law clearly identifies scientifically substantiated setbacks, yet the setbacks used by BP violate our Zoning Law. Before the Article X Siting Board makes any decision on whether or not to set aside some or all of our Zoning Law I would expect that BP would be required to provide scientific evidence for the setbacks they chose.  I have yet to see any explanation of setbacks by any wind developer in any of the personal research I have done on these projects. BP has listed 16 other wind farms they own.  I reviewed these projects from the BP website. Each project page shows 3-4 pictures of the wind farm, totally 48-64 pictures. Only TWO of those pictures showed a residence in the picture. EVERY residence in this town will see most of the 124 turbines every day and hear them 24/7. This is only one reason why this community does not accept "wind industry standards" as an answer to what makes a good setback for an industrial wind development proposal  in a residentially dense community.

 

4.       On Page 4, there is once again a reference to financial gains for the leaseholders and community by referencing the "previously approved" JCIDA PILOT for another project (which has since been abandoned). As noted in my previous comments, this a misleading statement. Why is BP being allowed to continue to mislead the community with this information.? Below I will provide further details when I explain my personal experience at the Open House of November 10, 2012 regarding this topic.

 

5.        On Page 4, Section III there is a reminder of all the "outreach" done since 2007. This is listed in Exhibit 2. It is the exact same information on which I made extensive comments in my letter of September 25, 2012. Please refer to my comments in red on Pages 4-11 of my September 25 letter regarding the inaccuracy of the information provided by BP in this section.

 

6.       The remainder of the revised PIP contains the necessary charts to meet the Article X regulations.  I recognize it is the obligation of BP to meet the Article X regulations. Substantial comments were made by citizens regarding the PIP submitted in September. These comments have yet to be addressed by BP.

 

B:   Work Session with Mr. Chandler and the Town and Planning Boards of Cape Vincent and Lyme on October 23, 2012:  During this session, Mr. Chandler revealed for the first time a map of the proposed turbine layout. It clearly violated the CV Zoning Law. He heard unconditionally by every elected Town and Planning Board member present that the actions taken by BP since buying out the Acciona project in February 2012 were totally unacceptable. BP and the Voters for Wind group organized by BP choose not to participate in the fully public process of revising the Town Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Law. Instead, they waited 8 months to reveal what Mr. Chandler repeatedly said they believed was a "good project for this community."  There was NO explanation of what criteria made it good for the community. It was very clear that Mr. Chandler had completely ignored all the concerns raised by the community over the previous six years.

  

C:    I attended the Open House on November 10, 2012. Overall I did not find much new information at this Open House. Most citizens are well informed about how turbines make electricity and are very suspicious of wind company provided sound studies due to past experiences during the SEQRA process. The proposed map was available and some citizens had a chance to ask Mr. Chandler some questions directly.  Some  "Voters for Wind" members (wearing their green shirts) were in attendance. While I was there (for about half of the allotted time) I would estimate that the citizens in attendance represented the "hard core" pro and anti-wind viewpoints.  The Open House was announced in the local papers, but was not posted in the town locations where information about local events are usually seen. I spoke with many citizens after the event who knew nothing about the Open House. Effective communication with all town citizens was not evident by the relatively small number of people at the Open House.

 

       My first focus was a discussion with Mr. Chandler regarding the misleading information about the PILOT fact sheet and the money that it would allegedly bring to this town. I asked why he continued to use the Galloo Island PILOT example when the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency has publically stated many times that this formula would NEVER again be approved as it was for this now defunct project. I indicated I believed it was misleading to the community. "It is NOT misleading....it was an approved PILOT by the JCIDA" was his response. I asked why he did not include the Town of Lyme and the Lyme School District, since, according to the Acciona Economic Report that Mr. Chandler has used as evidence for the combined project, clearly states that the PILOT money was to be divided among the FIVE municipalities, not the usual THREE as has been done in other NYS industrial wind turbine developments. His response was that the handout available at the Open House (and on the project website) was mostly meant for the people from Cape Vincent who would attend the Open House! I almost laughed out loud! Here is the project manager basically admitting that the Town of Lyme and the Lyme School District (and any of those citizens who might have chosen to attend the Open House) were really not very important. But, these groups are stakeholders in this project.

 

       Mr. Chandler repeatedly stated to me that "everyone would know that this was only an example." I told him I disagreed and that this information was misleading. He condescendingly stated that most people would understand that it was "just an example." I tried to point out to him that his perception of this as an example was not clearly stated on the information sheet. He repeatedly told me he disagreed. I had no effective communication with him on this topic.

 

       I became very frustrated with his lack of willingness to hear me out and accept that there just might be an opportunity to refine communication with the community. It was clear to me that his idea of communication is "telling you what you must believe." I have read in the PIP about BP being "open to dialogue with the community" but his actions did not communicate that message. In the revised PIP there are other examples about sound studies and property values which reflect the exact same attitude. BP's idea of "dialogue and communication" is to provide the BP point of view and expect that the community will accept it. That is not going to happen in Cape Vincent. Many citizens have spent many hours researching the multiple aspects of hosting an industrial wind turbine development. We have many questions that have not been answered by the previous wind lease holding financially conflicted Town and Planning Board members. We have used the democratic process to remove these people from office. We now have the opportunity to deal directly with BP - but that must be a DIALOGUE, not a dismissive statement meant to shut down any discussion.  I was extremely disappointed with Mr. Chandler's  clear message that real dialogue was not to be accepted. 

 

       At our Town Board meeting of November 15, 2012, (a few days after the Open House)during our public comments, Mr. Jim Wiley, a former Town Supervisor and well respected citizen made the following statement in the context of a review of historical events in Cape Vincent from the 1950's to the present. He stated (in regard to the current controversy regarding industrial wind development), "According to our newspapers, the School District will receive 50% of the PILOT, Jefferson County will receive 35% and the Town will receive 15% and we lose home rule."   In his mind this PILOT "example" is actually a done deal. (For your reference,  Town Board meetings are videotaped and available for public review on www.steveweedproductions.com.) This is a perfect example of the point I was trying to make with Mr. Chandler - lack of clarity in the ads and fact sheet on this topic makes people believe this is THE formula that will be used and the amount of money is correct. I urge to you to insist that BP stop misleading the community regarding any PILOT money that a project might bring. Stop allowing BP to lie to our community and to you.  Any example PILOT must be clearly identified as a "sample" and include the Town of Lyme and Lyme School District (as clearly explained on page 5 of the Economic Report prepared by Acciona and presented to the community in August 2011). See Exhibit F of the original PIP submitted by BP in September 2012.  This Economic Report in fact, quotes the Galloo Island PILOT example differently than the ads and fact sheets provided by BP. This report indicates that Jefferson County would receive 50% of the PILOT (not the School District). What is a citizen left to believe? At the Open House, I was convinced that Mr. Chandler had no idea what that Economic Report stated.

 

       My second focus at the Open House was a conversation with Mr. Joe Kushner, Supervisor of the Town of Eagle, NY which hosts the Noble Bliss Windpark.  I am assuming that Mr. Kushner was paid by BP for his time at this event, but since his town had been used many times by Cape Vincent prowind citizens to "prove" that an industrial wind project would be wonderful for our town, I was very interested to hear his story. He clearly stated that his community is very different from Cape Vincent.  When his town was approached by Noble Energy regarding this project, the town was bankrupt. Unlike Acciona and BP, Noble discussed the project with the town board before they contacted land owners regarding leases. The town board members also recognized that any individual on the board who might have a lease would have financial conflicts and could not participate in the decision process. No one on their board signed a lease. Also, his county did not have a county legislature or an industrial development agency to guide any PILOT decisions. Mr. Kushner was able to negotiate a very profitable arrangement for his town with a Host Community Agreement that gave the town 80% of the money the wind company put on the table. The remaining 20% was divided between the county, the school district and the town. That division gave the town an additional 8% - providing the town alone with 88% of any money the company had available. The project has been operating since 2008 and Mr. Kushner explained that he was in the right place at the right time and got a very good deal for his town. He also clearly stated that this will not happen again due to the changes with PILOT negotiations and the Article X process. Mr. Kushner is very supportive of wind development and told us that we should "just get the best money deal you can since NYS will force it on you anyway." While I did not agree with some of his opinions about the NYS process, I was pleased to hear the "real story" about Eagle NY.  Comparing Cape Vincent with Eagle NY is just like apples and oranges....they are very different. What was good for them will not even exist for us....we will not solve all of the Cape Vincent problems with a PILOT with any wind company.  The current BP "example" PILOT calls for our town to have 15% of the money....and of course we have to share it with the Town of Lyme.  That amount is very small compared to the 88% of the project money that goes to his town! The lesson I learned.....just because a project works for another community, unless it has the same characteristics as Cape Vincent (and I have yet to find a town like us that is targeted for wind development) it will not work for us.

 

 D: General Observations:  In the town elections of 2009, 2011 and 2012 every Cape Vincent town board member who had signed leases with either Acciona and/or BP were voted out of public office. The current town board has no members with any financial conflict of interest in the proposed industrialwind turbine development.  Citizens have used the democratic election process in this town to removeofficials whose decision-making was being driven by their own personal monetary gain.  Since BP no longer has the support of financially conflicted town and planning board members to guide the project hey  have turned to  the Article X process.  The citizens of Cape Vincent have stated a clear message at the ballot box.  Industrial wind development is not a good fit for this community and is not welcome in his community by the majority of citizens. Cape Vincent citizens who made positive comments on this website regarding the project in general and about the Open House of November 10,2012 are all either lease holders or friends/family members of leaseholders. They are entitled to their opinion but I believe it is slanted by the potential of financial personal gain should the project proceed.  Payments to leaseholders are listed by BP as another "economic advantage" of this project. BP states they have about 100 leaseholders(representing about 4% of our town's population) who will receive about one million dollars annually - or about $10,000 per leaseholder.  BP concludes on page 5 of the revised PIP, "The economic benefits of the Cape Vincent Wind Farm will play a critical role in providing a sustainable community that will ensure growth and economic strength for future generations."  I fail to see the connection between paying 4% of the town population about a million dollars a year and "ensuring growth and economic  strength for future generations."  Am I to assume they will all spend all their money in town or start a new business? What will happen to the 96% of the citizens who face certain property value loss and possible health issues? Will the Article X process protect ALL citizens?

The social fabric of this community has been torn apart by proposed wind projects.  The new Article X process has resulted in only two applications for proposed wind projects. This BP proposal is extremely large at 124 turbines (each about 500' tall)- with  EVERY residence in this town being within 1-2 miles of one or more of the 124 industrial turbines.   There is not another industrial wind turbine development in the country with the majority of citizen's homes this close to turbines. This project demands critical attention to every detail by the Siting Board members in order to insure NYS citizens that this process is designed to promote appropriate siting of large industrial wind turbine evelopments and provide protection for the health, safety and welfare of the citizens who are forced to live within these large scale developments.

 I appreciate the opportunity to post this information for the PSC to review.

 Sincerely,

Donna Essegian