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Wind farm plans won't wait for Lyme  

CAPE VINCENT – BP Alternative Energy isn’t letting the town of Lyme’s moratorium on wind power halt progress on its proposed Cape Vincent Wind Farm.

The company moved forward with the state environmental review process for the wind farm with the Cape Vincent Planning Board on Wednesday. It submitted a scoping document, which explains what studies it will do in its environmental review. The public has 30 days to submit comments on the scoping material.

The document reflects a project area that ends at the Cape Vincent town line. Cape Vincent Wind Farm’s original project map proposed turbines west of Route 12E near Chaumont Bay in the town of Lyme’s seasonal residential district.

The Cape Vincent Planning Board declared itself lead agency on the environmental review for the project last winter, but Lyme has taken initial steps to open a lead agency dispute with the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The Lyme Town Council wants to be lead agency for the portion of the project that falls within its boundaries. It says wind power development has been rushed in Cape Vincent.

“We are still working with the town of Lyme,” Cape Vincent Wind Farm project manager James H. Madden said.

He said the company will try to move forward with Lyme once it lifts its moratorium on wind farm development, either by submitting a supplemental scoping document to address the portion of the project that falls within the town of Lyme or by addressing the additional project area in a draft environmental impact statement.

“For this phase of the project we’re moving forward with Cape Vincent,” he said. “The feeling right now is that Lyme isn’t ready yet.”

Mr. Madden said his company needs to move forward with the environmental review process now if it wants to start any construction in 2009. The company will have to submit an impact statement this winter for the state Independent System Operator to study how the project can be connected to the grid, he said.

Mr. Madden said BP is not opposed to working with Lyme if it becomes lead agency for the portion of the project within its boundaries, but it is not the most desirable outcome.

“That is a possibility, although it’s not our intent to do that,” he said. “We wanted to do one project. We didn’t want to do two projects.”

BP’s original plan called for 60 to 80 turbines in Cape Vincent and 30 to 60 in Lyme. The scoping document, with a project area solely in Cape Vincent, says there could be as many as 140 wind turbines over approximately 12,000 acres, depending on the size of turbines the company decides to use.

Urban C. Hirschey, chairman of the Wind Power Ethics Group, said he was pleased Cape Vincent Wind Farm chose to submit a scoping document. It is a part of the environmental review process that the St. Lawrence Wind Farm, located entirely within the agricultural district of Cape Vincent, chose not to do. In most municipalities, the lead agency determines whether or not a scoping session is required.

He said the group believes the St. Lawrence Wind Farm rushed the environmental review process by submitting an impact statement with incomplete studies.

“I would say BP is starting off with better footing,” Mr. Hirschey said. “I’m happy to see the process is in better shape with BP.”

Mr. Hirschey said the Ethics Group will monitor the progress of the Cape Vincent Wind Farm.

By Kelly Vadney

Publication: Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, NY)

Publication Date: 08/17/2007

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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