BP's Tatics in Cape Vincent Ny

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Article 10 Update:  Bob Dudley and BP Wind

Say To Hell With Cape's Comp Plan and Zoning Law

BP has been moving along the Article 10 path since September 17, 2012.  The initial Public Information Program lasted five months.  During that time Bob Dudley, BP's CEO, and BP produced a 50 year old map with few houses, wrong road names and 124 red dots denoting proposed turbine locations - that was the extent of the information BP provided.   BP attended meetings and hosted meetings where they were barraged by questions from the public and public officials.  True to form Bob Dudley and BP told us thank you very much for your interest, "We'll be getting back to you."  That refrain lasted five frustrating months.

On March 29, 2013 Bob Dudley and BP began the next stage on its path toward certification; it filed a Preliminary Scoping Statement (PSS).  A scoping statement outlines the issues and studies that an applicant must include in their formal application.  The full-blown application includes all the details needed by Public Service staff and the Siting Board to understand the project proposal.  It includes project layout details, various permits, equipment, construction details as well as assessing potential adverse environmental impacts, such as noise, shadow flicker, safety setbacks, projected bird and bat kills and a number of other issues.

Twenty-one days after Bob and BP's scoping statement was submitted, the public, Town and state agencies filed their reviews of the scoping statement on April 19, 2013.  The Department of Public Service, Department of Environmental Conservation and the Town provided extensive, detailed critiques of Bob Dudley and BP's statement.  Collectively the recommendations included a complete makeover of all the environmental studies they conducted in the past, with a number of new study requirements as well.  For Bob and BP too properly respond will require a year or more before a complete application could be filed.

Bob Dudley and BP were required under the rules of Article 10 to file: "Summary of Comments on the Preliminary Scoping Statement" on May 10, 2013.  For the most part Dudley and BP failed to respond to the State agency reviews.  In a remarkable display of corporate arrogance toward the Town, Bob Dudley and BP stated their proposed Cape Vincent project was "...not consistent with the Comprehensive Plan to the extent that the Project conflicts with the zoning law."  Bob Dudley appears to be saying the hell with the wishes of Cape Vincent we want our money dammit!
On Tuesday May 21, 2013 the Administrative Law Judges from the Departments of Public Service and Environmental Conservation came to Cape Vincent to award $99,750 in Intervenor funds, most of which went to the Towns of Cape Vincent and Lyme.  These funds will be used to hire technical experts to further review Bob Dudley and BP's scoping document and add to the already extensive list of studies.  In addition, the experts will suggest specific methods to employ in these studies.

At the conclusion of meeting the judges outlined what is called the Stipulation Phase of the Article 10 process.  This phase has no time deadline and will end when Bob and BP and any interested parties complete negotiations to explore possible agreements on some of the issues outlined in the scoping statement and reviews.   The next step in the process after Stipulation will be a time when BP could file its formal application; however, the application can be filed no earlier than June 17, 2013.

So, where is Bob Dudley, BP's CEO, taking BP this summer?  Will he wait to comply with all the study recommendations put forth by the Town and state agencies?  As noted previously, this could take well over a year.  This seems unlikely, since BP has its entire North American wind operation up for sale.  Why invest in expensive, long-term studies if Bob and BP are going to sell and bail-out?

After Stipulation Bob Dudley and BP's best plan may be to do nothing.  By doing nothing they will halt any further expense on a project that is on the auction block, which makes sense.  If there are any inquiries by interested investors, BP and Bob Dudley can claim they are in the process of submitting a formal application to the New York Siting Board.  That would give the illusion that Bob and BP were actually doing something.

Another option would have Bob Dudley and BP submit an application made up of all the old, stale studies the Town and State agencies found so lacking.  Just repackage, add some lipstick and submit it and see if it flies.  However, for Bob and BP to ignore extensive recommendations by the Departments of Public Service and Environmental Conservation, whose commissioners sit on the Siting Board, would be asking for its application to be considered incomplete, inadequate and substantially lacking.  Why bother if Bob Dudley is only going to get his hand slapped by Albany bureaucrats.  I'm sure Bob wouldn't like that.

In conclusion the best bet on what Bob Dudley and BP have planned for Cape Vincent this summer is nothing.  Just sit by the side of the road, thumb out and looking for a ride and a buyer.

Richard Chandler can look for a job elsewhere, Bob Dudley can try to figure out where BP will get all the money to pay off its debts in the Gulf and we citizens of Cape Vincent can enjoy our summer in the gorgeous Thousand Islands region of New York. The Town, on the other hand, will recharge its batteries, increase its resolve, continue preparing for battle and take whatever steps are necessary to defend our beautiful little piece of God's country. For the rest of us, maybe we can forget about wind for a summer. That would be nice.

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