BP's Tatics in Cape Vincent Ny

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 is a year to celebrate!

Two reasons why residents of Cape Vincent should celebrate and why 2014 should be more special than other years:
1)  The PTC expires tonight and hopefully will never be exhumed;

2)  "Any developer that ignores what Cape Vincent wants for its future should expect a fight; it should not expect any PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes), and it should expect that the town will work tirelessly to ensure that other taxing authorities will follow the town's lead."  (Town Concerns Linked to PILOT Support)
Happy New Year!2014

Grounded ship refloated; in transit to Montreal

CAPE VINCENT — After being stuck on a rock off Tibbetts Point for five days, the Orsula was completing its journey along the St. Lawrence Seaway to Montreal on Monday. Continue...

Monday, December 30, 2013

FAA selects Central New York as national test site for drone research

Updated 12/31/13
The Syracuse Post Standard is reporting that The Federal Aviation Administration selected Central New York today as one of six national test sites where researchers will figure out how to integrate drone aircraft into the national air space. Continue...

The Watertown Times adds local interest to this story by noting that Fort Drum will be part of FAA drone test in civilian airspace.

The bid from Central New York-based Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance, or NUAIR, will put the drone flights in multiple areas of central and Northern New York, including Fort Drum, along with portions of Massachusetts. NUAIR includes 40 academic institutions and private and public entities from the two states.Continue...

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Offshore wind energy developers look for way around Jones Act.

The American offshore wind industry faces a delema. The Jones Act, passed to protect maritime merchants, requires vessels transporting cargo or equipment between two U.S. points to be American flagged and manufactured. Because the offshore wind industry has not yet taken off in the states, the only vessels capable of helping it along are manufactured in Europe. Continue...

Grounded ship suffered propeller damage, salvage operations expected

CAPE VINCENT — The Coast Guard is overseeing operations to refloat a grounded 656-foot motor vessel in the St. Lawrence Seaway, according to a news release Saturday evening. Continue...

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Lawsuit over alternative power says Esty overstepped authority

Connecticut’s headaches over two long-term deals for renewable power, including a large contract with a Maine Wind Farm, now include a lawsuit by a New York firm that owns competing solar generation facilities. Continue...

Friday, December 27, 2013

Pattern Energy to buy two wind power projects

Pattern Energy Group Inc. announced it has agreed to buy two wind power projects from its majority shareholder, Pattern Energy Group LP, for total cash consideration of $202.4 million.
The purchase will add 214 MW (an increase of 21 percent) in net capacity when completed, increasing Pattern Energy’s portfolio to 1,255 MW. Acquisitions funded from available cash and credit facilities. Continue...

Wind power developers race clock to secure subsidy before it vanishes

As the rest of the world prepares to toast the new year, the wind industry is hard at work on its own year-end tradition, rushing to make sure projects qualify for an important subsidy before it is set to vanish at the stroke of midnight Tuesday.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Are top executives saying that Horse Creek and Cape Vincent wind are dead in the water?

 According to a story in the New York Times ,wind industry executives  are saying that developers are unlikely to start any projects without  the Production Tax Credit (P.T.C.) because without it they cannot compete with other energy sources.
The Times is also reporting that Kevin A. Lynch, managing director of external affairs at Iberdrola Renewables,  said: “In the near term, projects that do not have the P.T.C. attached to them are probably difficult to justify economically for buyers to purchase, and therefore for us to build.”
Are Lynch and the other executives referred to in this article saying that projects like Iberdrola's Horse Creek and BP's Cape Vincent Wind Farm doomed to extinction without the P.T.C?   

Governor Cuomo Announces $500,000 Available to Help Municipalities Protect Farmland Across New York State

 "This new funding safeguards New York's agricultural industry by enabling local governments to pursue smart growth strategies that protect farmland from future development."  [Auburnpub.com]

Press release ~

Albany, NY (December 17, 2013)

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo  announced the availability of $500,000 to aid farmland protection efforts across New York State. Municipalities can apply for grants of up to $15,000 under this new Request for Applications to amend local laws to better protect farmland from being converted to non-agricultural use. Funding is available through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund and administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

“Agriculture is an essential part of this state’s economy, feeding millions of families and providing a way of life for generations of New Yorkers,” Governor Cuomo said. “This new funding safeguards New York’s agricultural industry by enabling local governments to pursue smart-growth strategies that protect farmland from future development. I encourage all communities with farmland areas to apply for this grant opportunity to strengthen rural economies and support farmers across the state.”

This Request for Applications is a non-competitive grant opportunity exclusively for municipalities to either amend local laws to remove unreasonable restrictions on farm operations and agricultural land, or establish implementation-ready Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) programs to protect farmland from conversion to non-farm use. TDR relies on a conservation easement to protect farmland from development while also enabling the community to transfer and utilize elsewhere the development rights that will never be exercised on the farm.

Acting State Agriculture Commissioner James B. Bays said, “Governor Cuomo has put agriculture front and center in his Administration and farmland protection is hugely important to the fabric of our state’s agricultural economy. This new funding will enable municipalities to grow while making sure that farmland is protected and preserved for farmers of the future.”

This is the first such application being released by New York State in several years. Another more traditional Request for Proposals (RFP) for other types of farmland protection projects will be released in 2014. The RFP is also available to counties, not-for-profit conservation organizations (referred to as “land trusts”), and soil and water conservation districts.

Application materials and important webinar information for the Round 13 Farmland Protection Implementation Grants Request for Applications are available for download on the Department of Agriculture and Markets website at www.agriculture.ny.gov/RFPS.html. Application materials are also available by calling the department directly at 1-800-554-4501.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

BP loses bid to require proof of losses in spill accord

British Petroleum lost a bid to require businesses to provide proof their economic losses were caused by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico  under a $9.2 billion settlement over the disaster. Continue...

Ad hominem attacks distract from failure of wind subsidies

The reality is that American taxpayers have seen very little return on their forced investment over the past 20 years.

Even though Americans for Prosperity has a diverse donor base of over 90,000, our left-leaning critics usually focus on only two of them. Organizations like the Union of Concerned Scientists and the American Wind Energy Alliance used ad-hominem attacks as a political tactic to distract from the economic facts in its latest hit piece in The Hill by Elliott Negin. Looking past Negin's empty rhetoric, the consistent failures of federal tax breaks for wind power and the overwhelming grassroots opposition to extending them are clear. Continue...

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Pictures Sackets Harbor NY ~Ice storm

 Sackets Harbor Post office
Downtown Sackets Harbor
Main street Sackets Harbor
Tin Pan Galley

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Cape Vincent attorney, state official say private meeting didn’t violate law

CAPE VINCENT — A Dec. 9 private meeting with members of the Town Council, a representative from the Wind Power Ethics Group and three members of an advisory committee qualified as an executive session that did not violate the state Open Meetings Law as was previously suspected, according to town attorney Paul J. Curtin. Continue...

Friday, December 20, 2013





Owens: Fort Drum must be first pick for missile placement

As the military determines the necessity and potential location of an East Coast missile defense site, Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, said it is critical for Fort Drum to be the military’s first choice. Continue...

Negative pricing distortions of windpower

Lisa Linowes - December 16, 2013
“The combination of the federal PTC and state RPS policies has shielded wind developers from the basic supply and demand forces present in a healthy competitive market. As a result, we are fast-tracking the construction of expensive renewable resources that are variable, operating largely off-peak, off-season and located long distances from where the energy is needed.” Continue...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Actions speak louder than words

   Dennis Pearson:
"We refuse to allow ourselves to get dragged into this fight, but instead to continue to work for the future of the Cape through open and fair government. A government where everyone has a voice, a government you can trust." 

The letter below  by Dennis Pearson appeared in the Thousand Islands Sun November 06, 2013.  This letter speaks to fairness and representation of all citizens in Cape Vincent.

 Pearson wrote that he was for a fair and open government. "A government  where everyone has a voice."
 However,the events that transpired after the election demonstrate what  Aubertine Pearson and Wood are really all about.
Aubertine Pearson and Wood attempted to deny 78 tax paying residents a voice by disputing the validity of their votes.
 How is it fair that you would deny 78 tax paying residents their  legal right to vote in Cape Vincent ?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Representation without Taxation is...

The seasonal residents that were blacklisted by Democratic candidates Aubertine, Pearson and Wood all contribute to support our schools, town government and Jefferson County, through their tax dollars.

The 2012 Town and County and 2013 School Tax Rolls available from the Jefferson County Real Property office were used to examine tax payments made by blacklisted seasonal residents with their challengers, Democrat party candidates Paul Aubertine, Dennis Pearson and Alan Wood. That examination showed:
ñ  All those on the blacklist were seasonal residents (i.e., tax addresses were different from Cape addresses).
ñ  Sixty-six of the 78 individuals on the blacklist owned property in Cape Vincent and paid local property taxes.
ñ  Twelve individuals were not listed on the tax rolls.  Most likely these voters were residents of mobile home parks, who are not included on the tax rolls, but pay their share of local property taxes via the park owner.
ñ  Those blacklisted voters not on the tax rolls still contribute to local taxes, but the actual amount paid is unknown.  Therefore, any estimates of annual tax payments by blacklisted voters will be an underestimate.
ñ  Twenty-one couples and 24 individual blacklisted taxpayers paid a total of $97,945 in school tax, $83,471 in town and county tax for a total of $181,416 in support of the Town of Cape Vincent, Thousand Islands School District and Jefferson County.
ñ  Blacklisted seasonal landowners paid an annual average of $4,031 in property taxes in 2012-2013.  Tax payments ranged from $926 to $10,977.

In comparison, an examination of the tax rolls for the Democrat candidates who created the blacklist showed:
ñ  All were year-round residents of Cape Vincent.
ñ  Pearson and Wood paid a total of $6,982 in local property taxes.  This included $3,825 in school tax and $3,157 in Town and County taxes.
ñ  Aubertine, a full-time resident, apparently owns no property in the Town of Cape Vincent, since he was not listed on any of the tax rolls.
ñ  Ironically, Paul Aubertine paid nothing in property taxes to support the school, the town or the county, yet he tried to block the voting rights of 78 seasonal residents who paid nearly $200,000 in property taxes.

Link to Jefferson County Tax Rolls

Monday, December 16, 2013


 Cape Vincent ~ This past election the Democratic candidates Paul Aubertine, Dennis Pearson and Al Wood challenged a large number of absentee ballots based on residency issues. 
They believe that seasonal residents of Cape Vincent should not be allowed to vote. They charged in their verified petition that:

    (paragraph 9) “Upon information and belief, absentee ballots were issued by the Board of Elections in error, based on insufficient, fraudulent or forged applications.”

(paragraph 10) “Upon information and belief, absentee ballots were given to individuals whose primary residence is not in the town of Cape Vincent, nor in Jefferson County, and therefore were ineligible to vote for the public offices of Supervisor and Town Council, Town of Cape Vincent.”

Below is the list of seasonal voters challenged by Aubertine, Pearson and Wood that was provided by the Jefferson County Board of Elections through a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request:

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Another Correction for the Watertown Daily Times ?

According to a report in the Watertown Times Dennis Pearson is accusing the Town of Cape Vincent town Board of violating the open meetings laws.

The meeting in question was held at the town offices Monday December 09 prior to the article 10 procedural meeting held by the Public Service Commission at Cape Vincent elementary school.

The Watertown Times "appears" to misrepresent a meeting held by the Town of Cape Vincent as being illegal.

I have been informed by two reliable sources that those in attendance were Town of Cape Vincent attorney Paul Curtin, five town board members, Chair of the Planning Board, Chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals and past-Chair of the Planning Board.

Additionally, a represenative of Wind Power Ethics Group (WPEG) was there to discuss intervenor funding awarded jointly to WPEG and the Town of Cape Vincent by Judge Agresta.

Pearson apparently snapped a photo of the meeting that would be useful to identify those present, who were described as, “...a variety of others that weren’t members of staff or associated with government.”

The Watertown Daily Times article referenced above.

CAPE VINCENT – Before a public hearing Monday about the Cape Vincent Wind Farm proposal, Town Council held a private meeting seeking advice from an attorney that appears to be a violation of the state Open Meetings Law. Continue...

Friday, December 13, 2013

BP's SDEIS admits that their Cape Vincent Wind Farm will Preclude community growth

Before BP decided to pursue their Cape Vincent wind project through the Article ten process they submitted a
Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS ) for the proposed project  in it they offered an unusual rational as to why their Industrial Wind project would be good for our community.


page 117 
Permanent Impacts
Jefferson County is currently experiencing substantial growth in human population and housing developments, as evidenced by population and housing growth estimates in Fort Drum, where the number of soldiers, spouses, and other personnel moving to the Fort Drum area is projected to increase by nearly18,000 people between 2004 and 2013.
To accommodate this population growth, the Department of Defense estimated in 2005 that an additional 2,000 homes would need to be built off of the Fort Drum base over the coming years.

Due to these and other development pressures, in the event that the Project is not constructed, the current population and development growth trends will probably result in the loss of current and traditional land uses for the area. This would result in fewer undeveloped open spaces and lower human density conditions. The Project, once constructed, will likely preclude additional housing developments and will result in less fragmented conditions when compared to future scenarios without the development of the Project


BP is affirming that if developed their project will discourage families from building homes in Cape Vincent ,  
discouraging outside seasonal residents from moving into Cape Vincent may have been the major thrust for the Dems /CFG and locals that ran a campaign to "take back their town".
Not only would BP's wind farm provide an economic boon to the locals ,but the underlying motivation in their
 "Us versus Them" war was to protect their town from the seasonal interlopers that do not support Industrial Wind Development. 

Wind Energy Production Tax Credit To Die Quietly December 31

by Chris Clarke
This time last year, the big renewable energy issue was the Federal Wind Power Production Tax Credit (PTC), which was set to expire at the end of 2012. The subsidy, which provides owners of wind turbines with 2.2 cents in tex credits for every kilowatt-hour the turbines produce, was called critical to the survival of the American wind industry. Wind advocates said that letting the PTC expire could kill the wind industry in the U.S., taking thousands of jobs and non-carbon electrical power with it. Continue...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Iberdrola's Groton Wind under fire over fire safety

Grafton County, New Hampshire
GROTON — In issuing its opening brief regarding upcoming hearings on complaints against Iberdrola Renewables' Groton wind project, the state Attorney General's Office asserts that the state Fire Marshal has the authority to seek a suspension of Groton Wind, LLC's operating certificate and to halt operations at the facility. Continue...

Residents shouldn’t be funding solar panels

 Watertown Daily Times 
Letter to the editor

I was quite disappointed to read in Monday’s paper that I will be paying part of Davidson Automotive’s electric bill. As your article makes clear, Davidson’s solar array was made affordable only by a rebate from New York of $900,000.  Continue...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cape Vincent tells state: we want decision on wind farm

The town of Cape Vincent, in Jefferson County, has been divided over a proposed wind farm for a decade. The latest company to pursue the project is BP. But now, with a potential sale in the works, residents told the state power project siting board they’re getting impatient with the uncertainty. 
The meeting Monday night was subdued compared to past ones. The idea was to get everyone on the same page about the project’s status. Some residents reiterated their opposition, but largely, locals pleaded with state regulators to move more quickly toward a decision. Wind farm, or no wind farm, they said, we want to move on. Continue...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

IGAF World record Muskie caught in Cape Vincent??

A 54-inch muskie caught on the St. Lawrence River last week stands a chance of getting into the International Game Fish Association's record book as a world record under the "All Tackle Length" category.
The fish hit while Walter's 31-foot Cherokee boat was trolling near a shoal at Carleton Island, Town of Cape Vincent.  Continue...

Article 10 ~Judge Agresta establishes a control date for BP's Cape Vincent project

 Town of Cape Vincent attorney Paul Curtin addressed Judge Agresta about a control date for BP’s Cape Vincent Wind Project.

Cape Vincent gets update on long contested wind farm project

 Wind turbines are something many Cape Vincent residents and officials don't want to see in their town. As YNN's Elizabeth Jeneault reports, many hope a proposed wind farm is not approved.
JEFFERSON COUNTY, N.Y. -- British Petroleum's proposed wind farm project has been stagnant. That's because representatives from the company say it may sell its wind power division. But in the process, Cape Vincent has been left in limbo. Continue...

Cape Vincent NY Article 10 procedural meeting, Judge Agresta clarifies the question about the Town of Cape Vincent and Payments in lieu of taxes

  Update: 8:34 am~ 12/10/13
Cape Vincent ~ 
During last night’s Article 10 procedural meeting concerning the Cape Vincent wind project, Judge Agresta commented about a letter that the Town of Cape Vincent sent to the Public Service Commission November 09 2013, concerning a PILOT agreement for BP’s Cape Vincent Wind project.

The letter stated that any developer that ignores what Cape Vincent wants for its future should expect a fight; it should not expect any PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes), and it should expect that the town will work tirelessly to ensure that other taxing authorities will follow the towns lead.

Agresta noted that it was not within the scope of the Article 10 process to adjudicate whether or not there would be a pilot agreement and that a PILOT was purely between the developer and the town.

 It was further clarified by Jefferson County legislator Michael Docteur that the three taxing jurisdictions, In this case the Thousand Islands school district, the county of Jefferson, and the Town of Cape Vincent had to agree on a PILOT before it could be approved.

Last nights take-home message ~ Shut the thing down

  Cape Vincent ~ 

During last night’s procedural meeting concerning the Cape Vincent wind project.
The most important thing I heard Judge Agresta say was; “I don't want this to linger on forever.”
 “If there’s gonna be a new owner, we want to get the new owner in, get things moving.  If there’s not gonna be a new owner you want to shut the thing down."  


Cape Vincent wind project left in limbo after hearing

CAPE VINCENT — More than 100 town residents who packed Cape Vincent Elementary School on Monday night learned that BP Wind Energy will not sell its Cape Vincent Wind Farm project by the end of the year — as had been the plan — leaving the 124-turbine project still in limbo.

But during the public hearing hosted by the state Public Service Commission, the judge presiding over the Article X siting process needed to approve the project said that BP won’t be allowed to linger much longer without a sale. PSC administrative law judge and case examiner Paul Agresta established a deadline of March 17 for BP to sell the wind farm. Failing that announcement, Mr. Agresta said, the PSC will reconvene to determine whether BP’s application for the project should be dismissed.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Governor Cuomo's message regarding Article 10 legislation claimed that it would result in a “fair process.”

Kathleen Burgess September 18, 2013
Secretary to the Siting Board

Re: Matter Master: 12-02056/12-F-0410
Application of Cape Vincent Wind Power, LLC, for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need to Construct an Approximately 200-285 Megawatt Wind Electric Generating Facility in the Town of Cape Vincent, New York.

Dear Secretary Burgess,

Please accept this letter from me and post it with the other public comments that have been submitted in connection with the referenced matter. I understand it is longer than the hundreds of other comments that have been submitted to date. However, I sincerely believe I present here a set of facts and observations that should have a direct bearing on the resolution of the matter and staff judgment about the application process that is pending.
One year ago this week, on September 17, 2012,  British Petroleum (BP) took its first step in applying for an Article 10 review process by submitting a Public Information Plan  for its Cape Vincent Wind Farm project to the Department of Public Service staff .
 Introduction:  On August 4, 2011 The New York Power Act (Article 10) was signed into law by Governor Cuomo, re-authorizing the state to oversee and regulate the siting of new and updated electric energy generating facilities, stripping the decision making process away from local communities.
Governor Cuomo acknowledged there would be controversy associated with siting issues, but that both sides in any siting controversy would be heard in a “fair process.”  From the standpoint of a small town like Cape Vincent, New York, that has been the subject of major wind power siting designs for almost a full decade by a corporate giant coupled with the loss of control over the decision making process to a distant state Siting Board, a fair process now becomes a vital issue of survival for that community.
When Governor Cuomo and certain members of the Legislature expressed the need for Article 10, one of the major factors cited was the need to bring the entire siting process out into the
open and above board.  Too often, wind developers had been operating in a clandestine fashion, recruiting local public officials to become their leaseholders and, in full effect, their local agents. Obvious ethical compromises created by these arrangements were of no apparent concern to the developers, not least of which in this respect was BP in Cape Vincent.

This kind of corporate behavior no doubt led the United States Environmental Protection Agency to recently characterize BP as a corporation that "lacks business integrity (New York Times, Nov. 15, 2012). Furthermore, this type of behavior by a company currently seeking an Article 10 project approval should be exposed and brought to light before a decision is rendered by the Siting Board – or even before an application is considered sufficiently complete to put before the Siting Board.
Bad conduct should matter. We would certainly hope that the Article 10 process is not indifferent to persistent ethical lapses by an applicant.

BP's agents and allegiances:  What is apparent is that BP sought to distance the company from any direct involvement in public outreach and community discourse, particularly activities that might have had a secretive or otherwise negative tone or association.  To do this BP employed a community outreach consulting company, Trieste Associates that in turn created, nurtured and supported a community activist group taking the name Voters for Wind (VFW). It was no coincidence, of course, that VFW was comprised of many BP leaseholders or others who had a financial stake in the BP project coming to fruition. By any measure, VFW membership includes a very small minority of Cape Vincent residents. It is anything but a “grass roots” organization.

The Article 10 application process requires BP to engage the community through a Public Involvement Plan (PIP).  BP in its revised PIP describes their relationship with Trieste Associates and VFW this way:
In 2007, BP retained the services of Trieste Associates and the 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.” 
BP is acknowledging a direct link to VFW as well as the thinly buffered relationship through Trieste Associates.

BP's Agent Trieste Associates:  Marion Trieste is the principal and founder of Trieste Associates. She provided a remarkable insight into her role and activities in a July 2, 2009 Wind Powering America Webinar. In the webinar Trieste describes forming Green Energy Outreach Services (GEOS) to
help our clients in the national and international wind business to promote these types of projects all over the northeast.”  She talked about her association with VFW in Cape Vincent and BP.
And this group here decided to call themselves (voter) for wind to let it be known --they actually established themselves two years ago.  And I worked with them with a BP wind power project here.  BP was - is the developer that I'm - I've been working with there.” 
Trieste makes the case as to why BP needs to remain below the radar screen in the public eye:
I always tell these developers (BP), you know, you're there to help but pretty much stay away because, you know, we don't want to be contaminated by, you know, people thinking that they're just being used by the wind developers.” 
Trieste outlines why her program is vital to the interests of developers like BP:

We can have Barack Obama”, we can have all of our politicians talking about using more renewable energy but when you start putting these, you know, turbines, large turbines in people's view sheds, it's a totally different story.” 
She continues:
So every little locality, every little town has their own ability to make or break a wind farm by creating an ordinance, wind power - wind development ordinance that's going to allow a wind farm in or say no.” 
Trieste is recognizing the importance of local politics and local governance, and more specifically local zoning laws, to the overall success and outcome of BP's project plans.  In what could be interpreted as subtle understatement she concludes:

So we really need to get our local politics, our public opinion leaders educated on this. What makes sense and what it is that's really to their advantage in their community. And the best way to do this is again through constituents. They're the ones who are going to reelect them.” 
Educating politicians in this context could include petitions and lawsuits as well as pamphlets and brochures.

BP's Front Group Voters for Wind:  From all indications VFW was created solely for the purpose of implementing BP's agenda.  Their efforts included political, public relations and, in all likelihood, measures to chill unwanted public discourse and political speech though legal intimidation.
Trieste's webinar depicts some of the details about the function and activities of Cape Vincent VFW:
So we usually have folks prepared with t-shirts or hats and that can really stand out in the crowd. So the town board elected officials, whatever, can look out in the audience and they can see oh wow, I've got a lot of supporters out here.” 

This reference may have been suggesting those town officials who had lease agreements and were also members of VFW.  One of Trieste's prominent outreach tools are petitions. In her words:
When you have the silent majority that aren't speaking out, you put a petition together and promote your wind project to your town board members as, you know, before they're having, you know, very important critical votes on allowing projects to take place or wind ordinances being developed.” 
The advocacy for the use of petitions by Trieste can be seen in the history of actions of VFW; they carried and promoted a number of petitions.

BP's Lease agreements with their binding “cooperation clauses”:   The single most common characteristic among VFW members is their wind lease agreements.  Wind companies infiltrated (the correct word given the secretive nature of it) Cape Vincent beginning in 2004 signing landowners to wind lease agreements prior to any notification or public awareness of these activities. In particular, developers appeared to target sitting local officials, both elected and appointed. These contracts were complicated legal instruments that many landowners signed without the review and counsel of any personal attorneys. 

Aside from the usual language and contractual requirements there is a remarkable clause, particularly for a local elected official, that requires the cooperation and assistance of the land owner to expedite the wind developer’s agenda.  Section 8.4 Requirements of Governmental Agencies: Cooperation  states that landowners “shall assist and fully cooperate” with BP in securing permits, approvals, environmental impact reviews and essentially anything else required by BP to get local approvals.  All of this assistance provided to BP will be “at no out-of-pocket expense to the Owner.”  It was an astonishing indifference to basic ethical standards for BP to seek a contractual obligation from local officials to put their company ahead of the people the officials were sworn to serve.

Reading down through Section 8.4 the language is even more compromising regarding general assistance:
In connection with any applications for such approvals, (Land) Owner agrees at Grantee's (BP) request to support such application (at no out-of-pocket expense to Owner) at any administrative, judicial or legislative level.”   
BP's wind lease agreement appears to be a binding contract that requires  landowners to  assist them in any way BP determines is necessary and that the cost of such assistance shall not be borne by landowners, but will be shouldered by BP alone. 

It should need no emphasis to appreciate what BP may have intended in contractually obligating loyalty, i.e., binding leaseholders to assist BP.  This requirement to “assist and fully cooperate”, even extending to public officials is shocking.   

Voters for Wind's Vice President Munk’s Testimonial:  In a testimonial that appeared on the VFW website, [Exhibit 4], Dawn Munk, Vice-President of VFW states:

With Marion Trieste at our side, this small group (VFW) developed a mission statement, elected officers, developed by-laws, and began the task of reaching out to others.”  “We have organized letter writing campaigns and carried petitions and our group now has four committees regarding very specific areas of concentration.”  “The staff at GEOS (Trieste affiliate) is with us every step of the way, providing us with information, suggestions and technical and moral support.” 
Munk's testimonial demonstrated that Trieste Associates/GEOS were the guiding force for VFW and it further suggests that nothing of any importance would be set in motion by VFW without the advice, consent and full support of Trieste and BP.

Lawsuit against the Town of Lyme:  On May 6, 2008 the Town of Lyme adopted a wind law that was judged to be too restrictive to the interests of VFW, Trieste Associates and BP.  Then on July 6, 2008 ten plaintiffs, all members of VFW, filed a lawsuit In Jefferson County Court to force the Town of Lyme to rescind their newly adopted wind law.

Public hearing on Lyme's wind law prior to adoption:  In the process leading up to the adoption of a wind law by the Town Council, Lyme officials set dates for two public hearings. The first one was scheduled for Saturday January 5, 2008 at the Chaumont fire hall in Lyme. On the night prior to the hearing VFW organized a meeting to prepare and outline their strategy for the public hearing.  The meeting was attended by a reporter from the Watertown Daily Times who filed a report in the Saturday edition – the morning before the first public hearing.  The article begins:

About 30 members of Voters for Wind gathered at the fire hall Friday night to organize the opinions they will share at the town public hearing today...”  The article goes on to describe VFW activities, e.g., monthly meetings, and their concern for setbacks for wind turbines and limits to turbine noise levels.  Marion Trieste attended and was quoted in the Times article as saying,
The ordinance calls for turbines to be set back 4,500 feet, or more than five-sixths of a mile, from the lake, which, combined with other setbacks, would leave virtually no space in Lyme for turbines.  This is the most restrictive ordinance that I've ever seen in the state.” 
At the Town of Lyme hearing the following day VFW members parroted Trieste's charge the night before [Exhibit 6].  “The proposed setbacks are three times the setbacks of any other wind project in the state,” said Dawn Munk (Vice President of VFW).  Guy Gosier complained:

This is not legal and none of the town's business. These surveys were passed out with Town Board approval? Why are the people of this town being shoved aside to meet the demands of a certain few people?” 
The surveys Gosier was referring to sought the public's attitude toward industrial wind development in the Town of Lyme.  Larry Comins then added:

The town's informal survey was not a legal way of determining results for a yes or no opinion on the wind tower project.” 
These three commenters were members of VFW and were also among the ten plaintiffs in a lawsuit that was filed against the Town of Lyme on July 6, 2008.

Lawsuit filed against the Town of Lyme:  In a report filed by WWNY TV 7 on July 11, 2008 the news broadcast stated that a lawsuit was filed by ten members of VFW against the Town of Lyme because they adopted a wind law that was “too restrictive and does not adequately allow for the orderly development of wind energy facilities.” The news report further stated, “Members of Voters for Wind say developers can’t work within those constraints.” 

In addition the news report stated, “In the lawsuit, Voters for Wind says the board failed to recognize their protest petition.  The group says because a petition was presented, the town board needed to have a 75 percent majority vote to pass the zoning ordinance.”  The lawsuit therefore complained not only about restrictions on wind development in the newly adopted law, but also on the alleged failure of the Town of Lyme board to properly consider their petition of landowners. 

 On August 15, 2008 Supreme Court Justice Hugh Gilbert ruled that,” The Lyme Town Council acted "arbitrarily and capriciously" when it rejected 10 property owners' petition protesting the adoption of a local law regulating the siting of wind turbines.”  The law adopted on May 6, 2008 was struck not on the basis of the restrictions to industrial wind development, but because of the improper handling of the petition by the Lyme Town Council.  While the complaint itself did not describe any affiliation between the ten plaintiffs and VFW, the news reporting frequently mentioned VFW and the lawsuit.

Trieste Associates highlights the lawsuit against the Town of Lyme as an achievement :    After reading the WindWise Education Curriculum supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority some may consider Trieste’s statements as confirmation of Trieste/BP's involvement in guiding the legal action in the Town of Lyme.  In this Education Curriculum a case study is provided by Trieste Associates. The case study notes:

Community opposition can delay or prevent the installation of a wind farm. Trieste is hired to educate and engage the community where controversial wind projects are being proposed.”  “For example, Trieste Associates has helped citizens organize groups such as Voters for Wind in New York that educates the public about the benefits of renewable energy resources. Voters for Wind filed and won a law suit against the elected officials who voted to prohibit a wind farm in the Town of Lyme, New York.” 

Regardless of Trieste/BP's denials about their involvement in the Lyme lawsuit, the content of this NYSERDA sponsored document should be considered carefully.  

Article 10 Process – what's said and what's not said:  To reiterate, Governor Cuomo's message regarding Article 10 legislation claimed that it would result in a “fair process.”  Apparently unfazed by the governor’s words, fairness would not appear to be a top concern to BP.  It should be noted here that BP was recently described by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a corporation that “lacks business integrity.” 

What BP considers fair undoubtedly was included in their slim and cursory Public Involvement Plan (PIP) that was submitted to the New York State Department of Public Service, as part of their Article 10 pre-application process . Those listed outreach activities included: open houses, the use of local project offices, public education events, local advertisements, project newsletters, informational publications, and attending Town Board meetings. 

In Exhibit 2 of their PIP, BP reached back in time outlining the history of the outreach in Cape Vincent during the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQRA) process, again noting the clean, ethical public relations accomplishments.  It was those so called “accomplishments” (among others) that were fashioned by the kinds of ethical abuses that led then Attorney General Cuomo to try to hold wind developers in New York to greater public scrutiny. That effort was only marginally successful.

The Article 10 process also provides an online forum for stakeholder input, comments and recommendations regarding various siting projects. At present there are more than 320 comments from the general public, mostly opposing BP's project proposal. Presumably, these comments will be used in some way to gauge public sentiment. The majority of pro-project commentary, however, comes from unidentified BP leaseholders [they do not identify themselves as leaseholders], who are being paid by BP and who are contractually bound to assist and fully cooperate with BP to get their project approved.

A fair public information process should distinguish support and comment from the general public from those being paid by BP to support their project under the guise of general public support. A headline "Paid Advertisement" should be required to accompany any of BP's leaseholder commentary so that state siting officials will know and understand this is the applicant speaking through their front group and contractually obligated leaseholders, and not the general public.
Noticeably absent from BP’s PIP filing was any reference to using lawsuits, although the Lyme lawsuit was highlighted as an achievement by Trieste in the NYSERDA supported WindWise Education Curriculum.   BP has no qualms pretending that its relationship to Voters for Wind and Trieste Associates is no more than incidental and inconsequential.

Remarkably, BP feels free to pick and choose on a whim as to what is relevant and when.

Conclusion:  Cape Vincent is currently engaged in a fight to protect its future.  The threat comes in the form of an enormous industrial wind project that would cover the town from corner to corner, and a project that is wholly incompatible with the town and village's Comprehensive Plan.
Drawn into this struggle is the neighboring Town of Lyme, through which new electric transmission infrastructure would be required. Not only Cape Vincent and Lyme would be affected by the proposed project. There would be significant adverse visual, sound, economic and environmental impacts for miles around in all directions.  Several communities that make up much of the famed Thousand Islands Region and the people who live there and visitors alike would share the effects, directly and indirectly.

At risk could be citizens' health and safety, the value of their homes, and the small town atmosphere residents have valued throughout the town's history.  The greatest immediate risk, however, is two-fold: Cape Vincent's loss of local control, and the threat posed by British Petroleum, a company whose less than stellar record and reputation on the global stage is being mirrored by its conduct here in New York's North Country.  

The loss of local control will only be compounded if the Public Service Commission fails to ensure that the rules governing the Article 10 process are applied fairly, much as Governor Cuomo outlined and promised.  

Standing in stark contrast to a fair process, is the corporate history of BP in the U.S.  They have pleaded guilty to a number of felonies, lying to Congress being one. In a remarkable precedent BP has also been denied access to Federal leases as, a consequence of their recent actions.   The Environmental Protection Agency described BP's corporate behavior best, saying that BP was “lacking business integrity.”

BP's history in Cape Vincent is no better.  BP's lease agreements provided a means to pay town officials for their cooperation and in their PIP.  BP has acknowledged a direct link to Voters for Wind as well as the thinly buffered relationship through Trieste Associates. It was Voters for Wind that filed complaints to remove perfectly reasonable and prudent local laws and to block public discourse.

BP, incredulously, continues to assert that they have the support of the community for their project.  They simply do not. They choose to define the community, for their purposes, as the small minority of town resident and non-resident landowners who have signed lease agreements with them.

And what cannot be overlooked in considering these matters, is that BP never would have gained any developer toehold in the community were it not for the fact that they compromised former town government officials with financial inducements, and by binding those officials to unethical contractual promises. Having tainted the process so thoroughly, BP dismisses their own past actions as if they left no mark on the town at all. The level of mistrust and resentment they have generated by their actions will take generations to heal. And yet, they would presume to go forward with a "fresh" approach to developing their project as if their hands were perfectly clean. 

The history of the callous approach taken by BP in this development effort, has come to impress upon many St. Lawrence River area regional and municipal leaders, and opened their eyes fully to BP's abuses. These leaders who are involved in shaping the political, commercial and cultural life of our region, have come to reject BP as a welcome and valuable economic development partner.

Also, there are steadily decreasing numbers of those who reside in Cape Vincent and the surrounding area who may have thought they had a general understanding of the various tensions at work here.  There has been a steadily increasing number who understand how BP has worked many angles behind the scenes to manipulate, compromise, and intimidate the common good of the community.

By their past actions in Cape Vincent BP has demonstrated they are unfit to do business in our community. Cape Vincent deserves better treatment.

We are collectively holding our breath, and have been for a long time, for the message to sink in with BP that their development efforts here are unwelcome by the vast majority of residents. They should leave here to allow the town and the region to recover from nine years and counting of astonishingly arrogant corporate abuse.  We have had enough of BP's brand of public outreach and it is time for them to stop; it is time for them to go!

Thank you for your consideration of the content
Kathryn Muschell
Cape Vincent, NY