Cape Vincent – Nearly $93,000 of the funds supplied by British Petroleum to help cover the cost of experts and professionals hired to advise on wind issues was assigned to applicants during a May 21 pre-application conference held at the Cape Vincent Elementary School.
New York State Administrative Law Judges Paul Agresta and Maria Villa held a court of sorts in the school gymnasium in front of approximately 200 residents and town officials from Cape Vincent, Clayton, Lyme, Orleans and Hammond.
After asking a few general questions, the judges conferred briefly and awarded the funds to those who applied, except the Development Area of the North Country, which is still under consideration.
The town of Cape Vincent was awarded $15,515 to hire Dr. Carl Phillips, Director of the Populi Health Institute, Wayne, Pa., to study health impacts.
An additional $11,320 was awarded for Attorney Paul Curtin to help guide the town through the application process. Attorney Curtin is a partner of Shulman, Curtin & Grunder, Syracuse.
The town was also assigned $16,410 for the expertise of Kris Dimmick of Bernier, Carr and Associates for the study of ice throw, mechanical issues and safety.
The Wind Power Ethics Group and the town of Cape Vincent had jointly applied for and was awarded $16,855 for acoustic engineer Paul Schomer, of Schomer & Associates, Illinois. The two entities were also jointly assigned to receive $15,940 for the expertise of Michael McCann, Certified Realty Appraiser, Chicago, to study wind turbines’ effects on property value.
Ornithologist Bill Evans will be hired to lend his expertise on the wind turbines effects on bird and bat populations. The town and WPEG were allotted $6560 for those studies.
The town of Lyme will receive $11,000, primarily for legal assistance of Attorney Mark Gebo of Hrabchek, Gebo and Langone, regarding the transmission lines that will run through the town.
A request by Dennis Whelpley for funding on behalf of the Development Area of the North Country was temporarily denied because of a legal technicality. Mr. Whelpley explained that BP proposes that higher power transmission lines from the wind farm will run along the regional water line that supplies drinking water to north country towns, and DANC has concerns regarding the running of the lines with the water lines.
Judge Agresta said he would like to award money to DANC, but since it is a public benefit corporation that has members that are state officers, it is not eligible under Article 10 guidelines.
Mr. Whelpley respectfully disagreed, pointing out that DANC receives no state funding, although some of its members were appointed by the governor.
Since the meeting, Judge Agresta informed DANC that it is not eligible for intervenor funding, since it was established to reimburse municipalities and local interests to defray costs.
During the pre-application conference, Lyme resident Donald Metzger addressed the judges, asking for reconsideration of the temporary denial of intervenor funds. “We are talking about water. Water is the basis of life,” he said in part.
Requests of more than $151,000 were originally made for the intervenor funds.
A request by Karen Stumpf was withdrawn, and a request by the Lyme School District was denied, because the request did not pertain to the Article 10 process.
He asked if there were any objections to decisions made during the conference, but there were none.
Before the close of the session, Judge Agresta stated that he hopes BP will attempt to comply with the local laws. “We’d like to see a scenario that attempts to comply with the town’s zoning law to the degree possible. I’m not saying you have to comply 100%, but you should attempt to comply…,” he said. He also mentioned that the company should discuss areas where visual simulations of the proposed 124 turbine wind project should be.
The parties involved in the intervenor funds were asked to negotiate stipulations of impact studies.
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