The immediate future of BP Alternative Energy’s proposed Cape Vincent Wind Farm may hinge on what transpires at the Lyme Town Council’s meeting today.
The issue is whether Cape Vincent will supervise the entire environmental review for the proposed 210-megawatt wind farm project, which crosses town lines, or if the Lyme Town Council will opt for a separate environmental review for the portion in Lyme. That could slow development of the wind farm.
The Cape Vincent Planning Board declared itself lead agency for the State Environmental Quality Review for the entire project in January. Since then, some members of the Lyme Town Council have said Lyme should be lead agency for the Lyme portion.
James H. Madden, a developer with BP Alternative Energy, said a separate Lyme environmental review would mean duplication.
“That is a fair amount of extra work. We would have to really look at that,” he said.
The wind farm would bring 30 to 60 turbines to Lyme and 60 to 80 turbines to the town of Cape Vincent. While the company had planned to move forward with the SEQR process with the Cape Vincent Planning Board a few weeks ago, it is waiting to hear from Lyme.
“We just need to figure out their thought process,” Mr. Madden said.
The SEQR studies all of the potential environmental impacts of a project. A development can be turned down if adverse impacts cannot be mitigated.
Lyme Councilman Warren A. Johnson believes Lyme should be lead agency for the Lyme portion. He also has indicated that he would like a moratorium on wind farm development in Lyme.
Mr. Johnson said the Cape Vincent Planning Board’s letter to Lyme requesting lead-agency status did not indicate that if Lyme didn’t respond within 30 days, Cape Vincent would assume Lyme did not object to it being lead agency. DEC’s Web site says letters requesting lead-agency status should indicate the 30-day rule. Lyme did not respond within 30 days.
Steven W. Litwhiler, a DEC spokesman, said even if Cape Vincent is lead agency for the entire project, Lyme still has authority over land use within its bonds, and can decide where turbines would be placed through zoning ordinances.
While Mr. Johnson has been outspoken about the Lyme Town Council slowing down the wind farm development process, Town Supervisor James E. Golden said he does not have personal objections to Cape Vincent being lead agency.
Mr. Johnson expressed concern over Cape Vincent Planning Board Chairman Richard J. Edsall owning property in the town of Lyme in BP’s project area.
Mr. Edsall owns more than 500 acres in Lyme, and a few hundred adjacent acres in Cape Vincent. He said he signed a contract with Greenlight Energy for turbine development on 160 acres. Greenlight Energy was bought by BP Alternative Energy last fall. Mr. Edsall said BP sent him a new contract after the Greenlight was bought, but he hasn’t signed it yet.
When the Cape Vincent Planning Board voted to become lead agency on BP’s project, Mr. Edsall abstained, noting his property is within the project’s boundaries.
Cape Vincent Wind Farm is one of two projects proposed in Cape Vincent. St. Lawrence Wind Farm, a second project, is proposed by AES Acciona Wind Power New York, and is located closer to the St. Lawrence River.
By Kelly Vadney
Publication: Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, NY)
Publication Date: 03/14/2007
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