CAPE VINCENT – A group opposed to wind power development is asking that a judge nullify the town Planning Board’s approval of a final environmental impact statement for the 51-turbine St. Lawrence Wind Farm project.
Wind Power Ethics Group filed a state Supreme Court petition Wednesday at the Jefferson County clerk’s office alleging that the board violated the state Environmental Quality Review Act and conflict-of-interest laws.
The group claims in its petition that the board “ignored the findings and opinions of its own engineering and acoustic consultants regarding the noise that would be expected from the project,” as well as results from a WPEG consultant, instead relying on the findings of the project’s developer, Acciona Wind Energy USA, to determine noise effects.
The group also claims that a “majority of the planning board hold or expect in the future to hold investments in land that would be used for wind development” within the town, or have family or friends with such interests, and should have recused themselves from voting on the impact statement’s approval. The board approved the statement Sept. 15 by a 3-2 vote.
The group maintains that, in addition to the possible noise effects, the board failed to consider comments submitted by the town’s Wind Economics Committee that were critical of an analysis of the potential impact the turbines’ presence may have on property values in the town. It also claims that the board did not consider comments the group brought forth.
The group further claims that the board did not conduct a “coordinated review” of the project with the town of Lyme, which is considered an “involved agency” under the environmental review. The ethics group alleges the final impact statement was approved without notice to Lyme and without an opportunity for the adjacent town to respond.
The board also allegedly did not consider the possible cumulative effect of the Acciona project taken with additional projects proposed for Cape Vincent and neighboring towns, including an expansion of a project now operating on Wolfe Island in Ontario, and a project under review in the towns of Clayton and Orleans.
In its petition, the group is asking that a judge rule that the impact statement’s approval be nullified because it violated the environmental review act, was not conducted in coordination with Lyme and was voted upon by board members who should have recused themselves because of claimed conflicts of interest.
The ethics group is represented by Gary A. Abraham, Allegany.
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