In this era of rampant citizen mistrust of public officials, the New York Power Authority isn’t doing itself any favors.
That’s because it continues to refuse to release even basic information about the five proposals it’s considering for turbines in either Lake Ontario or Lake Erie.
The authority is arrogantly flouting the open records law by missing a July 16 deadline to respond to an appeal by the Democrat and Chronicle. The newspaper, on behalf of citizens, is appealing a denial for requested information on the turbine bids. The authority will respond “as soon as possible,” said a spokeswoman. How soon that will be is anyone’s guess. As a public body, the authority should obey the law, and immediately.
Meanwhile, the lack of information about possible wind turbines has raised anxieties to the point that the town boards of Greece and Webster have approved non-binding resolutions against the turbines. A Monroe County legislator also circulated a non-binding resolution of opposition.
Those actions are premature, given all the unknowns.
The power authority doesn’t seem to get that it’s creating enemies unnecessarily. While it’s reasonable for the power authority to keep competitive information secret, no law prevents it from revealing such basic facts as the names of the bidders, the area of the lakes targeted, and the proposed number of turbines.
Fortunately, power authority board chairman Mike Townsend, a Perinton lawyer, promised this page that he would talk to the authority’s lawyer about sharing non-competitive information.
Ironically, while the authority flouts the open records law, president Richard Kessel has promised to go beyond legal requirements for gathering citizen feedback during the two-year permitting process.
Such concern for obeying the law should begin now.
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