HAMMOND – Town Councilman James E. Langtry said that he will no longer be voting on wind issues at Hammond Town Board meetings, though he does plan to continue sitting in for wind-related discussions.
“Wind is off the table for me, I’m not voting anymore,” Mr. Langtry said Friday. “My voice doesn’t mean anything anyway. I’m one vote and that doesn’t go anywhere against three.”
With Councilman James Pitcher already recusing himself because of a perceived conflict of interest as a result of his lease with Iberdrola Renewables Inc., Mr. Langtry is referring to the three remaining members of the town board, Supervisor Ronald W. Bertram, along with councilmen, Douglas E. Delosh and Dr. James R. Tague.
Mr. Langtry said he portrays himself as honest and up front, adding that he hasn’t participated in a wind-related vote since finding out that his sister, Susan Dunham, had also signed a wind lease with Iberdrola.
“I never knew she had signed any lease until it came out in the paper,” he said.
As reported in The Journal on Aug. 15, 2010, Mrs. Dunham, of 495 county Route 6, Hammond, signed a lease with Atlantic Wind (a.k.a. Iberdrola) on Oct. 9, 2008. The lease was officially received at Iberdrola headquarters in Oregon on Dec. 18, 2008, and filed with the St. Lawrence County Clerk’s office in Canton on July 29, 2010.
In a Sept. 17, 2010 story in The Journal, Mr. Langtry had said he hadn’t even spoken to his sister in three years.
“We all have relatives,” he said Friday. “Its hard, in a small town like Hammond, to find people who, in some way or another, aren’t related.”
Mr. Langtry said he’s heard there are planning board members in nearby Cape Vincent that participate in wind discussions but do not vote. He also said Hammond’s town attorney, Joseph Russell, of Syracuse-based, Menter, Ruden & Trivelpiece, had “told Jim (Councilman James Pitcher) he could sit, but not vote a couple years ago.”
In Cape Vincent, Planning Board member Andrew R. Binsley recently resigned, citing the issue of conflict of interest. Chairman Richard J. Edsall attends and participates in the discussion but won’t vote on wind issues. Member Karen Bourcy doesn’t attend meetings or discuss the Acciona wind project because she has a family member with a lease agreement with that company.
Mr. Pitcher has been recusing himself from wind discussion for about a year in Hammond. He does however, continue to sit in the public for certain discussions, as well as amongst the public for wind committee meetings.
“Since its establishment, wind committee meetings have been a waste of time,” Mr. Langtry said. “The deck was stacked when it was set up. Some people know what they want, and that’s what we’ll get.”
The final meeting of the Hammond Wind Advisory Committee is scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. in the Hammond Central School library. The next town board meeting is slated for Feb. 14, with special town board meetings on Feb. 28 and March 28, both at 7 p.m. in the village hall, for the purpose of reviewing the wind committee’s recommendations.
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