State Sen. George Maziarz of Niagara County, chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, has filed a Freedom of Information request with the New York Power Authority for copies of offshore wind energy proposals.
The authority is reviewing five private-sector proposals to construct huge wind turbines in Lake Ontario or Lake Erie. The agency won’t make public any information about the proposals, which have stirred controversy in shoreline communities.
Maziarz’s open-records request mirrors one filed in June by the Democrat and Chronicle for documents related to the controversial wind-farm proposal. The Power Authority denied that request, but now is four weeks overdue in answering an appeal of that denial.
Maziarz, R-Newfane, said he’s hopeful his request will jar authority officials into making public the names of companies submitting proposals, the proposed turbine locations and other basic details.
“If they don’t, I’m going to sue them myself. One way or the other, the information’s coming out,” Maziarz said Tuesday. If he did sue, Maziarz said he would do it on his own behalf and pay for it himself.
Authority spokeswoman Connie Cullen, said the agency is reviewing his FOIL request.
Authority officials have said it would jeopardize negotiations and harm the companies’ interests if they released the information before trustees select the winning firm. That decision is not expected until early next year.
Maziarz acknowledged that he’s had a rocky relationship with the authority, which he said stems from his belief that the authority favors downstate interests. He also said he sees parallels between the offshore proposal and a failed clean-coal project that the authority promoted in Niagara County.
“I agree with generating power from renewable sources, but it has to be practical. I wonder how practical this really is?” he said, referring to offshore turbines. He said he’s unable to judge their practicality because of a lack of information.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding