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A River Rat’s open letter to British Petroleum executives 

Credit:  Jefferson's Leaning Left | jeffersonleaningleft.blogspot.com 29 July 2012 ~~

Mr. Lamar McKay
Chairman & President
BP America, Inc
501 Westlake Park Blvd.
Houston, TX 77079

Dear Mr. McKay:

For the past nine years utility scale wind power has been proposed for the Town of Cape Vincent, New York. In 2006 development rights were acquired by BP from a prior developer, which had earlier sought to site a wind power project in Cape Vincent. Earlier this year a second wind developer in Cape Vincent, Acciona Energia, terminated its development efforts in Cape Vincent, conveying its local rights to BP.

From the beginning, large-scale wind development in Cape Vincent has been highly controversial. In recent years it has become much more so. It has now reached the point where the very social and civic fabric of our community has been seriously damaged as a result of the tensions created over the issue of wind development
This is by no means, however, a controversy that divides the community down the middle. The great majority of our residents are intensely opposed to industrial scale wind development in the town. That opposition has been unequivocally demonstrated in two successive town elections that have resulted in the creation of a super majority of Town Council members who campaigned for election with opposition to large-scale wind development as their number one policy position and promise to the voters.

We are of the firm belief that efforts to bring utility scale wind development to Cape Vincent were ill considered from the beginning. Very early, a small minority of our large landowner residents met with agents of wind developers and entered into lease contracts allowing for the construction of turbines on their property. This was done without the general knowledge of the great preponderance of our residents and without the benefit of a community wide understanding of all the aspects that would accompany wind power development in the town.

Cape Vincent is located at the headwaters of the St. Lawrence River where Lake Ontario feeds into that river. It is part of the famous and majestic Thousand Islands vacation and tourist area. The economy of our town and that of several neighboring towns in the Thousand Islands Region is heavily dependent on the tens of thousands of people who come here each year from far and wide to enjoy our scenic and outdoor recreation attractions.

The natural beauty of the area is the cornerstone of our economy that depends very heavily on seasonal homeownership and rentals, hospitality businesses, and boating and fishing. There is broad agreement that these key forms of economic activity, and our municipal tax base so dependent on these activities, will be very adversely affected by the local wind development proposed by BP. Such development would result in a jarring visual transformation of the town and the surrounding islands and waters to a degree that would drive away the just mentioned economic activity on which our town has depended for over 100 years. We have already seen ample evidence that even the threat of wind development has significantly dampened demand and selling prices for seasonal residences that are the source of most of our property and school tax revenue.

There is another important matter that has been demonstrated to be an adverse impact from misplaced utility scale wind projects. The avian and bat mortality problem resulting from the presence of multiple large wind turbines would be fully experienced here. The area along the eastern shore of Lake Ontario leading into the St. Lawrence River Valley is a nationally recognized migratory flyway for a large number of prized species.

It is hard for us to understand why these and other important factors have not been given sufficient weight by BP in continuing to seek the construction of a large-scale wind project in our town. I am forced to conclude that it can only be the result of not having sufficient information come to the attention of senior executives of BP. With such information, it is my hope that you and other officials of the corporation will take a circumspect view of the negative impacts that will persist and intensify if BP is to continue with the Cape Vincent project. Being more fully aware of these negative impacts, we trust that you will decide that the BP Cape Vincent wind development efforts would be best terminated.

There appears to us to be, thankfully, a growing understanding within the wind power development industry that successful wind projects can only result where the local community is accepting of the project. Such a community would not be Cape Vincent, NY.

Thank you for your careful attention to this matter.

Sincerely yours,

River Rat

Ms. Katrina Landis
Chief Executive officer
BP Alternative Energy
501 Westlake Park Blvd.
Houston, TX 77079

Mr. John Graham
BP Wind Energy
501 Westlake Park Blvd.
Houston, TX 77079

(Thank you River Rat for sharing your letter with JLL.)

Source:  Jefferson's Leaning Left | jeffersonleaningleft.blogspot.com 29 July 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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