BP's Tatics in Cape Vincent Ny

Monday, December 31, 2012


January  2012: 

January brought the promise of a brighter future for Cape Vincent.
The newly elected officials, Supervisor Hirschey, Councilmen Schneider and Byrne, were sworn into office.  The planning board positions, which were abruptly vacated by Edsall, Reinbeck and McCarthy, were filled by Robert S. Brown, Paul L. Docteur, and past Planning Board member Rockne E. Burns.  Additionally, Edward Bender was appointed as the Zoning enforcement officer replacing Alan Wood.

January also began with a bit of controversy, as it was discovered that in the shadow of a town wide wind development moratorium the Zoning Enforcement Officer, Alan Wood, had approved several permits for personal wind turbines.  Among those granted permits were Richard Edsall and former Town Council member Marty Mason.  As a result, Supervisor Hirschey sent letters to all of the permit holders, telling them to halt their personal turbine activities.  It came to light that one resident had invested a fair amount of money in his personal turbine project however the situation was resolved favorably for the resident enabling him to complete the instillation of his turbine.  The other permits issued were deemed invalid due to technical and /or clerical issues.

Feb 8, 2012:
The newly elected Town Council acted upon one of their campaign promises by passing a seven-month moratorium halting all wind-power development in Cape Vincent to allow time to update the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Law.

Feb 9, 2012:
BP's Project Developer Peter Gross announced in a Watertown Times story that the BP Cape Vincent Wind project and Acciona's project had merged into one development.

March 15, 2012
The Town announced they planned to conduct an audit on all water districts in Cape Vincent in an effort to distribute the cost evenly among users.

April 13,2012
The Watertown Times reported that the Town of Cape Vincent suspected illegal water hookups and that a ground survey would be conducted in Water District 2, because of a suspicion that outside users of neighboring properties were making unauthorized private hookups to the public water system.

April 25, 2012: 
BP Project Developer, Peter Gross, announced that he was leaving BP, to “pursue an opportunity at another company,” but that the wind farm project will move ahead with a new project developer Richard F. Chandler.  Mr. Gross said BP is not sure which “landowners are getting the shaft” but that the company is devoting “a lot of time and attention to create the best layout.”

May 17, 2012:
The Cape Vincent Town Board submitted recommendations to the state Public Service Commission regarding Article10 of the 2011 Power NY Act.  Their letter called for tougher restrictions and more local control over wind development.

May 29, 2012: 
BP submitted comments to the state Public Service Commission, regarding Article 10, suggesting among other things that any override of local laws should be provided by the Siting Board early in the process.  Also, once a project has met the standards for approval the local community should bear the burden of proof to demonstrate why the more restrictive requirements are appropriate rather than the applicant demonstrating why they are not appropriate.

MAY 31, 2012
U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer announced that MetalCraft Marine, Cape Vincent, had been awarded an $818,901 federal contract, with the United States Coast Guard, for up to 10 long-range interceptor boats.

June 27, 2012: 
The Town of Cape Vincent received a letter from BP’s Director of Development, Richard Chandler, informing the town that the proposed Zoning Law was unreasonably burdensome and would effectively prohibit wind generation from being sited within the Town.

 June 28, 2012:
Cape Vincent's zoning committee held a forum at Recreation Park ,to discuss the proposed revisions to the town’s Zoning Law.  Approximately 50 people attended with only a dozen or so making comments.

 July 4, 2012: 
Town Board Member, Mickey Orvis, abruptly resigned.
The timing of his resignation left a 7 day window for a Republican candidate to gather enough signatures on a petition to be added to the ballot.  If Orvis had resigned at later point the Board would have been able to appoint a replacement to complete his term which ends January 14, 2014. 

July, 6 2012: 
The Town of Cape Vincent released the new draft Joint Comprehensive Plan.

July, 10, 2012:
Chair of Cape Vincent’s Democrat Party, Harold Wiley, submitted a formal request to the Cape Vincent Town Board recommending that Paul Aubertine be appointed to fill the town board position vacated by Mickey Orvis .

 July 21, 2012: 
A story in the Watertown Times reported that BP Wind Energy hoped to bypass strict local restrictions proposed for wind turbines and to expedite the approval of its Cape Vincent Wind Farm by submitting an application to a state siting board under Article X of the 2011 Power NY Act.

July 22, 2012:
A public hearing for Cape Vincent’s newly updated Comp plan and Zoning law took a strange turn when resident of Cape Vincent began aggressively interrupting Supervisor Hirschey as he was explaining the procedure of the meeting. This resident began filibustering, refusing to yield the floor to other citizens, and denying them their right to speak.  This resulted in a lengthy delay of the meeting during which time the police were summoned.  Eventually the situation was diffused without incident and the meeting continued. 

July 26, 2012:
Gary King, Harvey White, Marty Mason, Donny Mason, Paul Mason, Marlene Burton, Darrel Burton and Frank Giaquinto, members of the civic organization voters for wind, launched a lawsuit against two local bloggers accusing them, among other things, of defamation of character. 

August 1, 2012:
The Town Council unanimously voted to adopt a new Zoning Law designed to protect the health, safety and general welfare of the entire community.  The Town Board also discussed asking the Planning Board to consider terminating BP Wind Energy’s application for a wind farm.  Additionally co- founder of Voter’s for Wind, Gary King, submitted a protest petition to the Town Board signed by approximately 39 Land owners opposing the updated zoning law.

August 8, 2012:
Cape Vincent’s Planning Board began mulling over termination of BP wind application.  Planning Board Chairman, Richard H. Macsherry, said the Planning Board decided to wait until Cape Vincent’s wind moratorium expires Sept. 7 and vote on the issue at its next monthly meeting. 

 August 20, 2012:
Cape Vincent Zoning officer Edward P. Bender, who held the part-time position for seven months,  asked the Town Council to start looking for his replacement stating, “I’m not interested in spending the time to enforce the new Zoning Law, I don’t want to devote that amount of time.”

August 21, 2012:
A story appeared in the Watertown times with regard to Cape Vincent’s Water district 2 headlined, “A dozen illegal water hookups suspected in Cape Vincent; landowners not cooperating.”  In the story it was noted that, “Several Cape Vincent residents — including the commissioner of the state Department of Agriculture and Markets — have refused to allow engineers on their property to verify whether unauthorized connections have been made to the town’s Water District 2, according to a report.”

September 13, 2012: 
Michele Oswald won the Republican primary and will challenge Paul Aubertine in the upcoming election to fill the position on the Town Board vacated by Mickey Orvis.

September 17, 2012:
BP took its first step in applying for an Article 10 review process by submitting a Public Information Plan (PIP) for its Cape Vincent Wind Farm project to the State Energy Siting Board.   Additionally, in their PIP, BP confirmed that they were involved in the creation of Voters for Wind as a public outreach tool. 
September 18, 2012:
The Town Council hired James G. Millington, Lyme and Dexter’s Zoning Officer, as its new Zoning Enforcement Officer .

September 21, 2012:
The Town Planning Board decided not to take any action on BP’s local application for the Cape Vincent Wind Farm.

September 25, 2012:
The Town of Cape Vincent sent a comment letter to the Public Service Commission (PSC) concerning the gross inadequacy of BP’s Public Involvement Program (PIP).

October 17, 2012:

The Public Service Commission rejected BP Wind Energy’s Public Involvement Program for the proposed Cape Vincent Wind Farm.  In a letter the State agency asked the company to broaden its outreach efforts and submit a revised plan.

October 23, 2012:
BP Project Developer Richard Chandler met with Town officials and community members from the Jefferson County Towns of Cape Vincent and Lyme.  In the midst of orderly protesters, Chandler stated that BP had overwhelming support for their project.  The indelible message imparted to Chandler was “BP GO HOME.”

October 30, 2012:
Cape Vincent Town and Planning Board members sent a letter to Ms. Katrina Landis, CEO, BP Alternative Energy, expressing their astonishment at Mr. Chandler's persistent unwillingness to respond to very straightforward and pertinent questions. 

November 6, 2012:
The preliminary election results came in, Aubertine was ahead with 562, to Oswald’s 471.  The outcome of the race would be decided by the absentee votes. 

November 10, 2012:
BP held an open house in Cape Vincent where it was abundantly clear that this open house was merely a formality as it was completely devoid of meaningful dialog or 
public involvement.

November 15, 2012:
The Town of Cape Vincent submitted a letter to the Public Service Commission critiquing BP’s open house stating, among other things, “The Department of Public Service needs to revamp the Public Involvement Program that is required under Article 10.  There is no sense having an Open House and disguised public outreach if
an applicant has nothing to say or offer other than possibilities.”

November 16, 2012:
The absentee votes were counted and Michelle Oswald won the election, with 703 total votes as compared to Aubertine with 650.

November 16, 2012:
BP submitted its revised PIP to the PSC

November 20, 2012:
Larry Folks responded in a letter on behalf of Ms. Katrina Landis, CEO, BP Alternative Energy, to the Cape Vincent Boards letter, regarding Chandler’s avoidance of issues concerning the Cape Vincent Wind Farm.
Mr. Folk’s letter avoided addressing the issues, and concerns expressed by the boards, however, he did end his letter with, “We look forward to continuing our dialog.”

November 26, 2012:
The Town of Cape Vincent sent a letter to the Public Service Commission concerning BP’s response to their letter of concern sent to BP’s CEO Landis Nov 20.  “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.”

December 3, 2012:
John Harris, attorney of record for BP’s Cape Vincent Wind Project, sent a letter to the PSC informing them that he is leaving Harris Beach and taking BP with him.  From 2006 to 2010, John Harris was a partner with McKenna Long and Aldridge.  When Harris left McKenna, Long and Aldridge he joined Harris Beach, bringing BP with him.

December 5, 2012:
The Town of Cape Vincent commented to the Public Service Commission about BP’s claim in their revised PIP ,that the proposed project will not have major adverse environmental impacts on those within the proposed boundary and to those throughout the surrounding areas.

December 6, 2012:
BP held another workshop with BP lawyer John Harris hosting this workshop.  Many questions were asked by concerned citizens, however, Mr. Harris explained that he was not there to answer questions but only to describe the Article 10 process in a technical fashion and not to engage with the community.  It was at this meeting that the community learned that BP was offering money to local organizations (donations) as an outreach tool.  Additionally a concerned citizen asked Harris if BP participated in the writing of this article 10.  Mr. Harris replied “I don't know the answer to that.” 

December 7, 2012:
 It was discovered that BP lawyer Harris is the husband of a commissioner on the Public Service Commission.

December 10, 2012:
The Town of Cape Vincent sent a letter to the PSC with concerns that BP’s revised PIP contained statements that are misleading and/or incorrect. 

 December 12, 2012:
Town officials wrote to the state Public Service Commission with concerns that Maureen F. Harris, a PSC commissioner who is married to John Harris the attorney of record representing BP Wind Energy, will not influence the Article 10 siting deliberations for the wind project. Additionally they question the monetary public outreach being conducted by BP.

December 14, 2012
The Town of Cape Vincent Sent a letter to the PSC regarding the BP public education workshop held 12-6-12, noting that  BP lawyer Harris dodged and ducked questions.
December 18, 2012:
Jeffery C. Cohen, Acting Secretary of the PSC responded to the Town of  Cape Vincent’s  concerns over the relationship between BP’s Harris and the PSC Harris by assuring the Town that Commissioner Harris, will not be a part of, nor have any influence on, the deliberations that lie ahead for us in BP's Article 10 project proposal.  In response to concerns over BP’s monetary outreach Cohen evaded the concerns by commenting in a general fashion about the Article 10 process.

December 20, 2012:
The Town of Cape Vincent sent a letter to the PSC with a list of things BP has failed to include in their PIP as recommended by the PSC 

December 21, 2012:
The Town of Cape Vincent sent a letter to Jeffrey C. Cohen, acting Secretary PSC, expressing their surprise that he saw nothing questionable or unreasonable about BP giving money to stakeholders prior to the time these stakeholders will be asked what they think of BP's project proposal. 

December 20, 2012:

The town sent a letter concerning BP’s Cape Vincent Wind Farm website.  BP officially began their PIP Sept 17.  To date their website has neither summaries of feedback from the public nor summaries of actions taken by BP in response to feedback. It has been two months and their web-page is blank along with their response to the Department of Public Service.  Additionally they noted that Wolfe Island, an existing project, and Clayton, a proposed project, were not included in BP's revised PIP.

Lobbying blitz to save tax credits for wind energy

The Examiner
Tim Carney:  
Senior political columnist
Washington, DC
December 31, 2012 

The Washington Examiner
An all-star lineup of lobbyists, featuring former congressmen and many of Obama's closest allies, is fighting to save a tax credit for wind energy that expires at midnight Monday.
Congress created the Production Tax Credit in 1992 as a way of supporting the wind power industry until it could be self-sufficient. Twenty years later, the PTC is still subsidizing the likes of General Electric and Siemens and has been expanded to include solar and biomass. Companies get a tax credit of a penny or two for every kilowatt-hour their windmills or solar panels produce in their first 10 years. It's worth $1.4 billion a year to its beneficiaries. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Darrel Aubertine Defiantly not standing for the Pledge of Allegiance

Recently I did a post about Darrel Aubertine and the letter he wrote to the Cape Vincent Town Board members, encouraging conflicted board members to vote on wind turbine setback issues. Link here to read the post

 At the same time , I also posted a photo of Darrel Aubertine in the Senate, refusing to stand for the pledge of Allegiance.
This photo brought in a couple of comments disputing that it was actually Darrel Aubertine in the photo. 

(      (1)  I'm as antiwind as they come, but I would bet my neighbors windmill    lease that's not Darrell.

        (2)   The guy circled in the picture doesn't look like darrel aubertine. Maybe it's the way the shot was taken, but I have had three different people look at this pic. None of us think it's him.  

    Just saying... he can be blamed for a lot over the conflicts of interest with the windmill projects, but that's not him. 

      After  I posted the same photo without a circle around Aubertine,   

      a follow-up comment came in.

   ~  Alrighty then..the pic without the circle looks like Darrel. I stand corrected.
    As a result of these comments, I have received several emails  disputing my identification of Darrel Aubertine in the photo.   

I    Below is the copy of the  photo in question and a seating chart of the New York State Senate from the time period that Darrel Aubertine was a senator, if you look at the chart ,the person I Identified as Darrel Aubertine is sitting in the seat that is designated as Darrel Aubertine’s.   

There are others in the photo that are clearly recognizable as well.

 Image :Syracuse.com

Link here to original story ~Syracuse-area lawmakers who are seeking re-election played key roles in 2009 Senate coup ~ Syracuse.com

 Chart:NYDaily news
Link here to  view my  source of New York State Senate Seating Chart

“ A Cooperative Measurement Survey and Analysis

of Low Frequency Noise

This document is a report submitted to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission regarding Low frequency noise and infrasound at the Shirley Wind Farm in Brown County, Wisconsin.xx The following statement on page 8 of this report highlights the importance of its results.

 "The four investigating firms are of the opinion that enough evidence and hypotheses have been given herein to classify LFN and infrasound as a serious issue, possibly affecting the future of the industry. It should be addressed beyond the present practice of showing that wind turbine levels are magnitudes below the threshold of hearing at low frequencies.

 A Measurement Survey and Analysis of Low Frequency and Infrasound at the Shirley Wind Farm in Brown

Retroactive Wind Welfare?

“Everything in a stopgap package would be geared toward keeping taxes from jumping on the middle class, which is why the AMT (alternative minimum tax) and payroll tax would likely be in but the PTC (production tax credit) wouldn't,” Wu said.
  E2 Wire
The Hills Energy & Environmental Blog
By Zack Colman  
An energy security group told The Hill on Friday that it does not expect the one-year wind credit extension it has supported to make it into a “fiscal cliff” deal.
The Truman National Security Project's Operation Free campaign is preparing to fight for a retroactive extension to the credit next Congress.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Inside Out and Upside Down

At the December 20, 2012, Town Board meeting, a citizen made the following statement.

 "I'd like to address an issue, the new zoning laws – – there are problems that the organizers of the committee were not aware of and one of the problems was that the committee was made up primarily of, let me use the word -- outsiders."

Recently, a similar comment was also posted to an editorial by Perry White, on the Watertown Time’s website.  Among other things, this commenter wrote, The local government more resembles a white, retirement community than an actual functioning town board.” Additionally they added,The entire wind-related product of this carpetbagger council should be tossed aside.”

Are these comments an attempt to discredit the validity of our zoning law, by promoting a false premise? 
The characterization of the zoning law committee as outsiders is erroneous; every member of the committee that worked to update our zoning law, is a full- time resident of Cape Vincent.
    A certain element in our community, objects to a zoning law that was designed to protect the health, safety and general welfare of our entire community.

Yet, these same people openly accept, without hesitation ,each and every document and study created under the direction of BP , a convicted felon...     


 Zoning Law Committee

Zoning Law Committee
Years in Cape Vincent

Full Time Resident (years)
Full Time + Part Time (years)

Bill Desouza
Bob Brown
Butch Cullen
Clif Schneider
Debbie Suller
Dick Macsherry
Ed Bender
Ed Hludzenski
Kathy Pierce
Paul Docteur
Urban Hirschey

Totals / Avg.
247.5 / 22
350.5 / 31

Years in Cape Vincent

The Multiple Distortions of Wind Subsidies

Producers get so much from the government that they can pay utilities to take their power and still make a profit.

Federal subsidies for new wind-power generation will end on Dec. 31 unless they are renewed by Congress. For the sake of our economy and the smooth operation of the energy market, Congress should let the subsidies lapse. They waste taxpayer money, subvert the allocation of capital, and generate a social cost many times the price tag of the subsides themselves.
Since 1992, the federal government has expended almost $24 billion to encourage investment in wind power through direct spending, tax breaks, R&D, loan guarantees and other federal support of electric power. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that a one-year extension of existing federal subsidies for wind power would cost taxpayers almost $12 billion.

Attorney Todd Mathis

Editor in Chief

for Acciona's SDEIS

 Todd Mathis

  The Cape Vincent Planning Board's attorney,Todd Mathis  formerly of (Whiteman Osterman & Hanna) denied a freedom of information Law (“FOIL”) request submitted on behalf of Town residents for a copy of comments made By Mr. Tocci, sound consultant hired by Cape Vincent’s Planning Board.Consequently, the community had been unable to examine the full extent of Mr. Tocci's concerns over the sound study conducted by Hessler and Associates, for Acciona’s St. Lawrence wind project.
This denial was in violation of New York’s Freedom of Information Law.
The eventual release of the engineering documents revealed that Hessler ‘s sound study, prepared for Acciona and BP , underestimated noise from the proposed turbines, inadequately addressed noise mitigation , and exceeded the noise threshold contained in the towns noise “guidelines” (established in the original draft wind law ), which Acciona had previously agreed to abide by.

Mr. Mathis’s denial of this FOIL request also denied the community the opportunity to observe the extent of Mr. Mathis’s involvement in the preparation of Acciona’s SDEIS document.

OIIIMarch 20, 2009, before the community was allowed to see Acciona’s SDEIS Mr. Mathis sent an email to various representatives of (Acciona), and the subject of this memo was “Comments on St. Lawrence SDEIS.” This email is not just a comment letter about Acciona’s SDEIS. among other things the Mathis memo, addressed the noise portion of Acciona’s SDEIS and Mr. Mathis actually directed  Acciona as to what wording to use, what to eliminate and actually rewrote selected sentences to sanitize the SDEIS, thereby making it a more palatable document for the general public.

Mathis advised project manager Zedick to do the following.
section ~ 3.10.1

  • Eliminate “Based on this constancy, there is no reason to believe that the sound levels at points in between the monitoring locations would be substantially different”

  • Eliminate “typical” “From a statistical perspective the Leq is the mean sound level that is most likely to be observed at any given moment; consequently, it is called the “typical sound level,” and replace with definition of Leq deleted from prior revision.

  • Eliminate “very conservative” from “The L90 measure is considered a conservative to very conservative sound level for assessing…”

  • Eliminate “Using only the L90 would give a biased result,” and replace with “Using the L90 is appropriate to evaluate impacts at sensitive receptors, such as residences.”

  • Eliminate the paragraph that starts “A regression analysis was performed…” and replace with “A regression analysis was performed using the measured baseline statistical sound levels and wind speed. The wind speed was measured in 10- minute intervals by an anemometer 40m (131ft.) above the ground, located within the site area. Sound levels were then plotted against the measured wind speed, which was normalized to a height of 10m (33ft). The distances from the anemometer location to sound monitor locations ranged from _to_ Results of this analysis show… [Provide discussion].”
  • Eliminate "There are no local ordinances or regulations that govern potential noise associated with the Project;" and replace with "There are no local ordinances or regulations that govern the methodology for assessment of potential noise associated with the Project"
    section ~
  • Eliminate “…but as a temporary, daytime occurrence, construction noise of this magnitude may go unnoticed by many in the project area,” and replace with “but the noise will be temporary, occur during the daytime and be limited in duration.”

  • Prior to “Modeling results were compared to the NYSDEC cumulative incremental increase guidelines of 6dBa, which conservatively equates to a project- only sound level of 42dBa, as a basis for impact analysis,” insert:

    1. A description of parameters used in the CADN/A modeling which mitigate modeled sound levels; and
    2. Insert paragraph from section 2 of Hessler Report regarding veracity of modeled and potential variability.
  • Eliminate “conservatively” from “Modeling results were compared to the NYSDEC cumulative incremental increase guideline of 6dBa, which conservatively equates to a Project- only sound level of 42dBa, as a basis for impact analysis.”

  • Eliminate “nominal from “Only three residences on CR8 (between Route 12E and McKeever Road) and one at the intersection of Route 12E and Deerlick Road were found to have nominal Project sound level that was slightly above the 6 dBA potential threshold.”

  • Eliminate: “All remaining homes in the project area, and particularly the numerous houses along the St. Lawrence River shoreline, are well outside the area in which adverse Project noise impacts may occur,” and replace with “All remaining homes in the Project Area, and particularly the numerous houses along the St. Lawrence River Shoreline, are well outside of the area in which adverse Project noise impacts have been modeled based upon the L90 analysis.”

  • Eliminate: “An increase of less that 6dBA is not considered to be significantly adverse”

  • Eliminate: “Field experience indicates that these unavoidable and inevitable excursions are infrequent, and short-lived. For the vast majority of the time, sound levels will be close to the mean predicted value.”

  • Eliminate: “A change of at least 3 dBA is normally required before any real difference in sound level begins to be perceptible, so the cumulative increases of 2 dBA or less at some residences in the Project Area are fairly minor and do not represent a substantial change in the potential impact from the project when combined with the adjacent project. In summary, the reaction to noise would essentially be the same if only the St. Lawrence Project or if both projects were constructed.”

  • Add mitigation bullet points as follows: “Additionally, turbine location will continue to be evaluated based upon potential noise impacts from the St. Lawrence project, as well as potential cumulative impacts from the St. Lawrence and BP projects.”

  • Miscellaneous:
    Confirm whether sound power level used in CANDA/A input is Acciona’s guaranteed spl or monitored spl.


Link here to Watertown Daily Times story ~

Friday, December 28, 2012

Wind energy tax credits causing quite a stir in Congress

Date: Friday, December 28, 2012, 8:48am HST
The extension of the controversial wind energy production tax credit is causing quite a stir across the country and even closer to home as well.
More than 100 Hawaii residents have joined nearly 6,500 people in 25 states in signing letters urging Congress to oppose any extension of this production tax credit that expires at the end of this year.
To date, more than 200 U.S. senators and members of Congress have received the letter. Continue reading via this link