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Environmental attorney seeking to strengthen Article X Energy Law accused of acting as a lobbyist for anti-wind groups

An environmental attorney who is pushing for tougher restrictions on wind development in New York’s Article X energy law is asking several north country towns to endorse his recommendations to the state Public Service Commission.

But some supporters of wind development are accusing the attorney, Gary A. Abraham of Allegany, of acting as an undercover lobbyist for anti-wind groups because of his past associations with the Wind Power Ethics Group, Cape Vincent, and the Environmentally Concerned Citizens Organization, Clayton.

“I’m a public interest attorney. And as a public interest attorney I work in the public’s interest,” said Mr. Abraham, adding that he has been working pro bono, or for free, reviewing and addressing what he considers shortfalls in the state law.

His recommendations, which focus on noise restrictions for wind turbines, will be submitted to the Public Service Commission by May 29 – the deadline for public comments on amending Article X – with or without municipal endorsements, Mr. Abraham said.

In the north country, the towns of, Cape Vincent, Hammond, Henderson and Lyme have been presented with the draft resolution.

“I think it would be insane for any of these towns to publicly endorse his agendas,” said Julia E. Gosier, a town of Lyme resident and an outspoken supporter of wind development.

Mr. Abraham, who also focuses on land use regulation and municipal law, had represented the citizens group ECCO during Clayton’s debate over Iberdrola Renewables Inc.’s proposed Horse Creek Wind Farm project and the Wind Power Ethics Group in its lawsuit against the town of Cape Vincent over alleged conflicts of interest.

ECCO member Patricia A. Booras-Miller said Mr. Abraham is a well-known and respected environmental attorney who is being wrongly accused by pro-wind residents of being a lobbyist.

“He is very well-known in Albany and he is not a lobbyist,” she said. “He really knows his stuff.”

Lyme Supervisor Scott G. Aubertine said Monday that the Town Council is still reviewing the proposal. Cape Vincent Councilman John L. Byrne III said “there’s been discussions” on the topic but as yet no conclusions have been reached.

“I understand this issue has been very polarizing,” Mr. Abraham said. “But the town boards need to overcome the animosity and act in a responsible manner to protect the people.”

He said he also will be advocating for the state to extend its public comment period to allow more communities to give their feedback on Article X.