The town of Lyme is using its six-month moratorium on wind farm development, which was enacted in April, to seek control in the environmental review process for the proposed Cape Vincent Wind Farm and draft zoning regulation for turbines.
It has written the state Department of Environmental Conservation asserting that it “will act as lead agency” for any State Environmental Quality Review within its boundaries.
Cape Vincent Wind Farm, proposed by BP Alternative Energy, would place 30 to 60 turbines in Lyme and 60 to 80 in the town of Cape Vincent. The Cape Vincent Planning Board declared itself lead agency for the project’s environmental review in December.
“We are lead agency for anything that happens in the town of Lyme,” town Councilman Warren A. Johnson said.
Kimberly A. Chupa, spokeswoman for DEC, said lead agency disputes are settled by the commissioner. DEC has not yet responded to Lyme’s letter but plans to discuss its “intent” with the town, she said.
“DEC does not have a formal role in that discussion at this time and does not have the authority to intervene in the SEQR process unless there is a formal request made to the commissioner to resolve a lead agency dispute,” Ms. Chupa said.
According to DEC’s Web site, involved agencies should make a request to the commissioner to render a decision in a lead agency dispute during a 30-day period allotted for the establishment of lead agency.
Deputy Supervisor E. Norman Schreib said he was not sure what the town will do if DEC does not find Lyme should be lead agency for the portion of the project within its boundaries.
“That’s something we’d have to address at a later time,” he said.
James H. Madden, project manager for BP Alternative Energy, said the lead agency issue must be resolved before his company can move forward with the environmental review under SEQR, whether it be through the two towns or DEC.
“They’re not interested in talking to us at all until the moratorium is finished. That’s just frustrating,” Mr. Madden said.
In previous interviews, Ms. Chupa said it would be contradictory to the SEQR process to spilt BP’s project in two.
The Lyme Planning Board is using two resources to draft the regulations, Chairwoman Joan P. Mazulewicz said.
The board is looking to Clayton as an example for what zoning is appropriate for turbine development and also plans to send out a community survey regarding zoning regulations.
Questions for the survey have not been drafted, but will focus on what setbacks residents would like.
“That will dictate what we get for setbacks,” Mr. Johnson said.
Before a survey is sent, the town plans to hold an informational session on wind power development for the community, similar to what was held at Thousand Islands Central High school last winter, Mrs. Mazulewicz said.
She hopes to bring in experts Kevin R. McAuliffe of the Green & Seifter law firm, Syracuse, and Keith D. Pitman, president and CEO of Empire State Wind Energy LLC of Oneida. Mr. McAuliffe represented municipalities in Lewis County during their negotiations with Maple Ridge Wind Farm.
By Kelly Vadney
Publication: Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, NY)
Publication Date: 06/11/2007
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