Power projects are almost always controversial in the north country.
The latest controversy revolves around what’s called Article X (Ten) legislation that Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law earlier this month.
Among other things the omnibus energy package, also known as “Power NY”, creates a state board to make siting decisions for power plant projects, including wind farms.
“Very small projects of any scale can now be sited through Article X so instead of developers going to your local boards and dealing with the local boards, now they go to one body in Albany and deal with them,” said John Byrne, president of the Coalition Against Article X.
It’s meant to streamline the process – something the governor says will encourage new investment in the state.
But, it also takes away power from the community – something many are unhappy about.
“I think that we are capable of making decisions up here one way or another and letting the political process work its way through,” said Assemblywoman Addie Russell (D. – 118th District).
A new statewide grassroots organization, the Coalition Against Article X, is working to bring the power back into to local hands.
Right now, it’s mostly an education campaign to let local leaders know just what is going on.
“This is not a wind issue. This is local control. This is losing local control to Albany,” said Byrne.
Local control has not been without its own problems.
Allegations of wrongdoing are not uncommon.
“I would much rather risk corruption on my local level than giving that control to Albany where it’s out of sight out of mind,” said Byrne.
And out of the hands of local voters to have a say in the future of their community.
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