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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Why is NYSDEC Participating in an Industrial Wind Project in the Middle of a Wildlife Refuge?

Dear Secretary Burgess:

I have a number of concerns about the involvement of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation in the Article 10 application of Hudson North Country Wind 1 for Galloo Island.

In Hudson’s Exhibit #5 of their PIP it identifies NYSDEC as a “Host Landowner.” It also defines a host landowner as “...landowners with whom the Applicant has entered into a lease, easement or purchase option agreement.” This tells me that NYSDEC is an integral part of the project.

The land owned by NYSDEC on Galloo Island was conveyed to them in 1990 in three separate parcels by the U.S. Federal Government after it declared the land surplus. The deed specifically outlines how the land is to be used:
The premises described herein are conveyed as a reserve for the conservation of wildlife other than migratory birds and the benefits of which shall accrue to the United States from the continued use of such property for such purposes and by these presents are conveyed subject to the reservations, conditions, limitations, and covenants herinafter contained, for the use and benefit of the Grantee, its successors and assigns, having the management for the conservation of wildlife other than migratory birds.”

If the use of this land by NYSDEC is not compatible with conservation of wildlife then the deed also specifies the land would revert back to the federal government:
“...in the event the land they for any purpose which is not compatible with the use and maintenance of the property as and for the conservation of wildlife, the title thereto shall automatically and immediately revert to the United States , and upon which reversion the title of the State of New York thereto shall cease and determine and the United States shall have the immediate right of possession thereof.”

In my search of resources I have yet to find any wildlife refuge operated by any conservation organization or governmental agency that has promoted large scale industrial development within the refuge. Cooperating, endorsing and promoting the Galloo project by Hudson is beyond comprehension. I believe NYSDEC’s cooperation with Hudson nullifies any role the agency might normally have in the review and decision-making for this Article 10 application.

Furthermore, a number of questions need to be answered by NYSDEC:

Has the NYSDEC actually signed an agreement with Hudson? If so, then it should be filed with the Jefferson County Clerk’s office, but it hasn’t?  Why not?  What are the specific terms of the agreement? When will these details be made public?

Has the NYSDEC lost title to the Galloo Island lands included in Hudson’s project? What does the term “automatically and immediately” mean in the deed? When NYSDEC signed the agreement with Hudson to develop an industrial wind project on lands conveyed for the purposes of wildlife conservation, did that agreement violate the terms of deed conveyance between State and the United States?

Why is NYSDEC participating in an industrial wind project in the middle of a wildlife refuge?  How does an industrial development project align with conservation of natural resources?  How can NYSDEC possibly justify their actions?

When Article 10 was established 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.”

In the interest of maintaining public trust and confidence in the Article 10 process and to maintain the intentions set forth by Governor Cuomo NYSDEC should be removed from any involvement in the process, as well as its commissioner on the board, and all environmental assessments should be undertaken by the Unites States Fish and Wildlife Service or other qualified agency.

Sincerely yours,
Kathryn Muschell

Link to DEC/Galloo deed

If you have an issue with the DEC's involvement in this project please make a comment where it counts.

Link here to the Public service Commission to make a comment


Anonymous said...

In the PIP it says the first preliminary meeting was with the DEC and another in May of this year was to scope bat and bird studies. How can a project landowner, the DEC, oversee and direct bird and bat studies? Its a conflict. You are right the DEC has to drop out.

Tom McMullen said...

Stay with it Kay,,,,,,,,,,,

Anonymous said...

I wonder which elected officials accepted campaign contributions in order to let this violation of the law occur?