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Henderson appealing wind farm decision

HENDERSON – The Town Council has appealed a state Supreme Court judge’s dismissal of its legal challenge to the proposed Galloo Island Wind Farm in the town of Hounsfield.

The council filed an appeal Monday to the state Appellate Division, Fourth Department, at the Jefferson County clerk’s office.

The council brought an Article 78 proceeding in February asking that a judge annul the town of Hounsfield Planning Board’s site plan approval for Upstate NY Power Corp.’s planned wind turbine project on Galloo Island, among other things.

Judge Joseph D. McGuire ruled in August that Henderson lacked both standing and capacity to bring the action and that the state Department of Environmental Conservation took the requisite “hard look” while reviewing the project’s potential environmental impact. He dismissed Henderson’s petition.

Henderson’s initial court filing contained a host of reasons why the town would be affected negatively by the project, including aesthetically. Later, the main issue was whittled down to the route the project’s transmission line will take and how the proposed line was treated under the state Environmental Quality Review Act process.

Henderson contended that DEC improperly “segmented” the transmission line from the turbines in its review, as the review should have considered the cumulative effect of the line and the turbines.

Judge McGuire wrote that segmentation of projects under SEQR “is not always improper” and that the Galloo Island project is one such case. He wrote that the turbine sitings would require a higher level of review, likely including an environmental impact statement, while the transmission line would require a less stringent review because it would be viewed as not having a significant effect on the environment. He said DEC’s review of the line was “appropriate.”

The judge ruled that Hounsfield’s SEQR findings and site plan approvals for the project were legal and “were not arbitrary and capricious or an abuse of its discretion.” He made a similar ruling regarding DEC’s final environmental impact statement and its other findings in dismissing the proceeding.

According to court documents filed Monday, Henderson is appealing each of Judge McGuire’s decisions and orders.