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Power-plant siting legislation threatens revered 'Home Rule'  

Governor Spitzer’s energy team has drafted the language for Article X, which governs the siting of energy plants, including wind-turbine factories. Article X as drafted is seriously flawed and a betrayal of the governor’s campaign promises.

1. This bill eviscerates Home Rule. If that happens, Governor Spitzer has clearly sacrificed Upstate New York for downstate interests. On the day he took office, he promised an annual State of The Upstate message. This bill relegates Upstate to becoming a factory for downstate financial interests. Needless to say, it also drives a wedge between Upstate and downstate.

2. This bill effectively circumvents the State Environmental Quality Review Act. SEQRA was put in place to prevent environmental abuses, and it should not be swept aside for any projects. We cannot cherry-pick SEQRA. We do so at our peril.

3. This bill preempts local land use controls and authorities. There is no assurance that local zoning will be respected. Communities that have zoned wind out will lose protection under Article X.

4. Currently, no intervener funding is allowed for wind projects. Thus, the project developer/applicant has no obligation to provide funding for municipalities/organizations to hire consultants to inform the siting proposal and process. Wind has acknowledged impacts. Why is it exempt from intervener funding?

5. The bill requests that communities that have banned wind energy be exempted from the siting of wind energy systems under Article X. Cherry Valley has fought off two successive attacks from the wind industry. Is it now to be attacked again by the current administration?

6) There is concern that wind projects that are “close to being permitted” under SEQRA may face double jeopardy and have to be re-permitted under Article X if the SEQRA permitting does not occur before implementation date of Article X. The governor is eager to grandfather specific wind projects in Article X. But he has completely usurped the rights of communities. Why is the industry favored, while The People are ignored?

The governor’s announcements of April 19, ironically Paul Revere Day, pander to the energy and banking industries at the expense of the people. As President Lincoln said, “You can fool some of The People some of the time. You can fool all of The People some of the time. But you can’t fool all of The People all of the time.”

Finally, does anyone remember the governor’s comments to the League of Women Voters questionnaire, during the campaign? The League asked: “What role do you see wind power, ethane and other renewable energy sources playing in alleviating the high cost of energy in New York State?”

Eliot Spitzer answered: “Investing in clean, renewable energy to reduce pollution and energy costs ““ and to diversify our energy supply ““ is a key part of my energy plan. On June 25, David Paterson presented our comprehensive clean energy proposal. However, for wind projects, we must respect communities’ concerns about turbine siting.”

Article X, as written, gives lie to Governor Spitzer’s campaign promise. You can’t fool all of The People all of the time.

Sue Brander
Van Hornesville

thefreemansjournal.com

5 May 2007

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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