Secretary to the Siting Board
Dear Secretary Burgess,
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.”
Pursuant to the rules of the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment (“Siting Board”), Hudson North Country Wind 1,LLC (Hudson Energy Development)submitted an application under Article 10 to construct a major electric generating facility on Galloo Island.
Hudson Energy notes in their Public Involvement Program (PIP) (p.4) "Other important factors that increase the potential to develop a wind power project in the Study Area include land control and host communities,and previous environmental approvals (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation(NYSDEC) Hounsfield Wind Final Environmental Impact Statement(FEIS)and permit)."
NYSDEC acted as lead agency in the State Environmental Quality Review Act(“SEQRA”)for the prior Hounsfield Wind Farm project proposal and they ultimately endorsed the project in the Hounsfield FEIS.
The studies associated with the now defunct Hounsfield Wind proposal for Galloo Island are important information sources related to the island's geography,plant and animal life, visual impacts, and many other aspects to developing the island for wind energy production.
These studies were all available on-line at NYS DEC's website until a few months ago when they suddenly vanished. NYSDEC removed all references to the Hounsfield Wind project at the very time Galloo was announced as a new revived wind project site by Hudson Energy.
Exhibit #5 of Hudson Energy’s PIP identifies NYSDEC as a “Host Landowner.” Additionally, their PIP clearly defines a host landowner as “...landowners with whom the Applicant has entered into a lease, easement or purchase option agreement (p.9).” This tells me that NYSDEC is an integral part of the project.
NYSDEC's removal of the Hounsfield FEIS and related studies does not reflect the spirit of a law enacted to ensure an
open and fair process. Is the removal of these Galloo Island studies in any way related to Hudson Energy’s host agreement with the NYSDEC?
The next phase of the application is preliminary scoping of the environmental impacts and the Hounsfield studies will be vitally important in scoping impacts not only to the public but to the PSC as well. NYSDEC has to re-instate these documents, not Hudson Energy. Accepting these documents from the developer would be entirely inappropriate.
How can the NYSDEC commissioner sit on the Article 10 siting board while his agency is a partner with Hudson in its Galloo application before the board, and how can he justify removing important public information we could all use in examining the Galloo Island project impacts.
The fact remains that Hudson Energy has publicly stated in their PIP that they have a host agreement with NYSDEC. Hudson Energy has access to the Hounsfield FEIS, NYSDEC has access to the FEIS, but the public does not.
I respectfully request the PSC investigate the host agreement between Hudson Energy and NYSDEC and why those studies were removed before proceeding with the Article 10 process. I further request that Hounsfield studies be re-instated on NYS DEC's website in their entirety.
Thank you for your consideration.