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Cape defeats wind measure; Focus set on probe by attorney general  

Credit:  By Nancy Madsen, Times Staff Writer, Watertown Daily Times, www.watertowndailytimes.com 10 September 2010 ~~

CAPE VINCENT – Once again, an attempt by Supervisor Urban C. Hirschey to hold up wind power development failed to pass the Town Council.

Mr. Hirschey had proposed a moratorium first at a special meeting Aug. 17, when it failed to pass.

On Thursday night, Mr. Hirschey suggested a moratorium which would last until March 1 or the state Attorney General’s office has completed its investigation into potential misconduct by town officials related to wind power development.

“It is not going to slow down the work the developer has to do, but it will give us peace of mind,” he said.

In the 2-1 vote, he and Councilman Brooks J. Bragdon voted for the resolution. Councilman Mickey W. Orvis opposed the measure, while Councilman Donald J. Mason abstained because of his lease with Acciona Wind Energy USA LLC, developer of St. Lawrence Wind Farm.

“The attorney general’s office is coming – let them do it,” he said. “We don’t need a moratorium in my account.”

Mr. Orvis said, “The attorney general’s office had the authority to suspend action on wind development. The projects will not be built until the attorney general’s investigation is complete.”

Mr. Bradgon argued for the moratorium.

“It serves the community to just stop for now,” he said. “Why don’t we hear what the attorney general has to say and then go forward?”

Councilman Marty T. Mason was sick and did not attend.

Also during the meeting, resident John L. Byrne beefed up earlier accusations that town officials held an illegal meeting to discuss town business after the June Planning Board meeting. He said four Planning Board members, Donald Mason, Mr. Orvis, Zoning Enforcement Officer Alan N. Wood and Virginia W. Edsall, wife of Planning Board Chairman Richard J. Edsall, met after the Planning Board’s regular meeting.

In June, all of the Planning Board and Town Council members said there was no town business discussed.

On Thursday night, Mr. Byrne announced he sent an official complaint to Andrew Heffner, assistant attorney general in Syracuse, Jefferson County District Attorney Cindy F. Intschert and Mr. Hirschey.

He revealed he had recorded the audio and video of the meeting and read excerpts in which Planning Board member Thomas K. Rienbeck and Planning Board Chairman Richard J. Edsall discussed the town’s two escrow accounts from BP Alternative Energy and Acciona.

“These officials not only lied about discussing town business at their June 9, 2010, private meeting, but they all lied publicly in their official capacities as elected and appointed officials of the town,” Mr. Byrne said.

Mr. Mason said in response, “We don’t have to answer to anything like that. The attorney general – if he’s got them coming, I have no problem talking to him.”

From the audience, resident Paul C. Mason said, “Mr. Hirschey and Mr. Bragdon had a secret meeting with the attorney without letting the board know about it – what’s the difference?”

Mr. Hirschey said, “There wasn’t a quorum.”

He pointed out that Mr. Bragdon is the deputy supervisor.

“It works both ways,” he said. “We’ve got to find ways to communicate quicker and better and I’ve been trying to do this.”

Source:  By Nancy Madsen, Times Staff Writer, Watertown Daily Times, www.watertowndailytimes.com 10 September 2010

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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