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Gone with the wind  

www.libn.com

By Jean Paul Vellotti

BABYLON ““ Computer shortcomings at the Minerals Management Service, the federal agency holding the fate of the Long Island Power Authority’s proposed wind park in its hands, have put the public’s comments in jeopardy.

And one county lawmaker is now calling for a moratorium on LIPA’s plan.

“It has become apparent that our electronic comment submission system has some weaknesses ““ one being a clear message of receipt,” wrote MMS Project Director Doug Slitor in a note to the Suffolk County Legislature. “Also, we need to load the comments up to the viewing area. We have a bit of a manpower shortage in that area.”

Citing these concerns, Legs. Wayne Horsley, D-Lindenhurst, is calling for an immediate moratorium on the wind park.

“In light of this new information I am calling for a moratorium … and requesting that the scoping process be reopened to the public to insure that all public comments are received and reviewed,” Horsley said in a statement.

In July, residents, elected officials, Long Island Power Authority representatives and community activists faced off before MMS officials to share their thoughts on LIPA’s plan, which would place electricity-generating turbines several miles off Jones Beach. When those hearings concluded, MMS directed the public to submit comments online and set an Aug. 21 deadline.

MMS planned to incorporate public comments into an environmental impact study on the proposed wind park. But without every comment accounted for, Horsley said, “Any EIS … constitutes an insufficient review and shortchanges the public justice.”

It’s the second straight day elected officials have targeted a component of the LIPA plan. On Wednesday, Babylon Town Supervisor Steve Bellone accused FRL Energy ““ which proposes to build LIPA’s wind park ““ of attempting to evade a comprehensive environmental review study.

FRL Energy did not return calls for comment on that matter.

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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