There appears to be a common theme expressed by many of the recent commentors on the Cape blogs, and in general folks around town, regarding home rule versus corporate rule as it pertains to Article X and industrial wind development in Cape Vincent, that being that if the state over-rules our zoning law there will be a protest and possible rebellion. Many have even gone as far as insisting that any candidate for the open town council seat, declare an intent to defend home rule and thus present a unified front by the board.
For some time both JLL and Pandora have spotlighted the motto –“home rule versus corporate rule”.
With all due respect, and appreciation for everyone who has contributed to the development of our updated Zoning Law, including ;
All who have committed hours, days, weeks, months, even years, and untold personal resources, to purging our government of illegal bias, campaigning for or applying for positions in our new government ;
All those who have diligently researched wind development and its potential negative impacts;
All who volunteered dutifully to review and revise our Comprehensive Plan and the Zoning Law.
Every person who has had the courage and determination to oppose the abuse of power by our previous town officials, and has withstood the disdain and ridicule by the spiteful “pro-wind at any cost”, element of our community.
Everyone who values the character and essence of this community enough to sacrifice whatever they could to impact this process, including the bloggers facing a legal challenge to their right to provide unlimited access to information regarding the facets of this issue.
To all these folks I ask, how are we going to express a protest or rebellion, if we first submit to the process of Article X? New York State has asserted their legislative authority to pre-empt our Zoning Law, by the simple passage of Art.X. If we participate in that process we are acknowledging that the process is legitimate, and in effect we relinguish any realistic legal basis for challenging its results. Any rebellion, or legal challenge will come in the form of an Article 78 action, which is ruled strictly on procedural elements. We can be sure the State lawyers have made certain they will win that suit, and there is a good possibility that the current town board will not even consider such a legal challenge. Anyone who believes our law will withstand the “reasonable, not overly burdensome” criteria, I remind you of the stated purpose of the Article X legislation-which is to streamline and speed up the permitting process for renewable energy projects, and then also the public comments of our own illustrious representative of Voters for Wind, Paul Mason- “you have zoned out commercial wind turbines”. Perhaps we should take heed to what Paul is telling us- we have created a law that in the eyes of industrial wind advocates, including Gov. Cuomo’s Stated energy policymakers, is overly burdensome!! We have played right into their game plan??
There is another option. The Cape Vincent Town board has been presented with a proposal to adopt a Community Bill of Rights , prepared by The CELDF(Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund) organization. This Bill of Rights would contain, among other things, the assertion that we have a Constitutional Right to self- governance, (“all power is derived from the people”),and that corporations do not have expressed Constitutional rights that supercede ours. The Article X legislation proposes to give corporations rights that supercede our local laws, therefore it is Unconstitutional.
This position moves the legal challenge from arguing the basis of any individual criteria, to that of challenging the State’s right to confer constitutional rights, that subjugate our own, to corporations, -in other words ,a truly meaningful “home rule versus corporate rule” protest.
Of course the first required action is to officially oppose Art. X and decline to participate in the siting review process.
If anyone is truly interested in seeing the fruits of the last six years efforts come to fruition, please contact your town board members, and encourage them to consider and adopt such a Bill of Rights. Lets make our Zoning Law the true Law of Cape Vincent.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding