The Yates Town Board formally opposed the Apex Clean Energy Lighthouse Wind LLC Project Thursday night.
Town Supervisor James Simon considered the meeting an overall success, with the board voting unanimously.
“It puts the political and municipal opposition all in a monolithic setting,” he said. “Both towns, both counties, both boards of health, Sen. Ortt, U.S. Congressman Collins, they’re against this project.”
Simon added that Assemblyman Steve Hawley has weighed strongly against Article 10, which hands over the ultimate decision to the state.
The town is still in the midst of the Article 10 proceedings. More than 600 public comments were made on the Public Service Commission’s website regarding the Public Scoping Statement from Apex.
“There are probably several thousand pages of comments that need to be addressed,” Simon said.
Apex has to respond to the comments within 30 days of Jan. 12, the day public commenting closed, regarding deficiencies, oversights or misleading statements in the PSS.
The board also passed a resolution authorizing Simon to collaborate with the town of Somerset and citizens’ groups for intervenor fund requests.
“We’re going to try to work this weekend and into next week to see how we want to spend that money,” said Simon. “Then I have to go back to the board and see if that agreement is acceptable. If so it would be nice to have that in place before Jan. 21 when the PSC is coming to make their decisions at the Barker fire hall.”
The board also formed a task force Thursday night, with the purpose of analyzing the wind energy law the town passed in 2008.
The committee is in reflection of what the town of Somerset just did, which was spend more than nine months in a committee that reviewed and rewrote their town law.
A representative from Apex and John Riggi, then president of the opposition group SOS, were participants in Somerset’s review of their wind law.
“It was pretty well represented with reps of the town as well as an expert from an engineering firm,” said Simon. “We think that wind law will have a lot of weight as we review ours. But of course Yates will have its differences in terms of points of view, goals to accomplish and things to protect.”
As for whom the state will ultimately side with, Apex or the towns, Simon said that’s the million dollar question. “This is the Public Service Commission,” he said. “It’s their function for the state to weigh the evidence. The final decision of that siting board is going to be based on concrete objective analysis and I think we are lining up, like I said, thousands of pages of commentary. These are real studies, peer review journals, scientists and health experts. Frankly yes I think we’re going to prevail and I think it’s because we are ultimately going to present an objective argument that they will by rights be able to rule in our favor.”
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