An EverPower road agreement is again front-page news. Years pass, but Carrollton remains the target for the construction aggravation and disruption other communities won’t tolerate.
On Aug. 24, 2011, the Olean Times Herald reported on a meeting with Olean’s Common Council initiated by Pat Eaton, then Allegany’s town supervisor. That coverage included: “ Currently, EverPower has its sights set on a route that takes delivery traffic through the town of Carrollton along Church Street and Nichols Run to the wind farm’s location, Mr. Eaton said.
“But if the Carrollton route is not approved, Mr. Eaton said the project’s truck traffic may travel through the city along Route 16, taking the delivery traffic down North Union Street.”
Olean officials expressed dismay. So, the Sept. 1, 2011, Times Herald reported: “The busiest street in Olean will not be used by the expected 8,000 delivery trucks bringing construction materials to the 29-turbine wind farm in Allegany. Instead, Mr. Spitzer (Allegany’s consulting attorney) said EverPower Wind Holdings is planning to use a delivery route through the town of Carrollton.”
While good news for Olean, Carrollton officials had never agreed to bartering away of their roads.
The Chipmonk Ridge hilltops are off the beaten path and the transport equipment anticipated is massive. Secondary rural roads were never designed to accommodate such huge cranes and components.
The blades for the N100 turbines are more than 160 feet long, even without a hauling trailer. But the Allegany Planning Board is now being sued for asking for additional information instead of approving outright EverPower’s request to substitute much larger N117 turbines. The blades for those exceed 190 feet!
Fast forward to the June 14 Times Herald. Kathy Boser encouraged Carrollton to consider accessing “ financial and legal consultants skilled in confronting the public relations and legal resources that large companies bring to bear when pushing through their corporate agendas.”
Literally helping to make her point, EverPower’s Kevin Sheen quickly submitted a response, which reads as if edited by corporate legal advisors. It argues that, “As a general rule highways must be open to the entire public; a municipality cannot restrict access without specific statutory authority to do so.”
Isn’t this the classic misdirection ploy? On the one hand, he suggests that a road-use agreement is not required, while – on the other – there is work to secure one at minimal cost.
Of course, businesses and individuals can normally travel public roads at will. But, does Mr. Sheen infer that private corporations can freely drive oversized and overweight vehicles on rural roads? Can they repeatedly stop or redirect oncoming traffic to make way for monstrous vehicles overhanging a narrow lane?
Can they remove or relocate trees and poles interfering with the extreme turning radii of such overlong trailers? Can they repair culverts which might not stand frequent passage of overweight equipment?
No, they can’t; they require the permission and cooperation of the controlling municipality. If no road agreement is needed for construction of a turbine farm via Carrollton’s roads, then why is Mr. Sheen trying so hard to obtain one?
Carrollton residents should question what their incentive would be for enabling a nearby wind farm that won’t be possible without their consent. They should remember that turbine blight can easily spread to adjacent neighborhoods once a wind farm devalues surrounding properties.
Also, EverPower’s agreement with Allegany acknowledges the potential for future expansion. Were that ever to happen, then those access roads would again be pressed into service. The wind farm is a 20-year deal, residents of Carrollton should not be misled into believing that their roads would only be used for the few months required for building the initial phase of a turbine farm.
Since EverPower’s management is resorting to the Readers’ Turn To Write forum to make business points, perhaps Mr. Sheen’s next submission could address why EverPower impeded the dropping of the Concerned Citizens of Cattaraugus County lawsuit against EverPower.
Why did representatives of EverPower endeavor to instead keep it in effect? Was it to assure a scapegoat they continue to blame for failing to progress with Allegany Wind LLC, while the generous federal PTC subsidies were not available in 2012?
Judge Michael Nenno of the New York State Supreme Court noted this bizarre behavior in his recent ruling declaring that EverPower’s special use permit has expired. Hence, the Allegany Wind LLC project, which was the basis for EverPower’s host agreement with the town of Allegany, is no longer permitted and cannot be constructed.
There is no urgency for consenting to a road-use agreement.
(Ms. Premo lives on Chipmonk Road is Allegany.)
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