ALBANY – State officials rejected an appeal Monday from the owners of the lighthouse on Galloo Island for funds to help represent their interests during the review of a large-scale wind farm.
Anthony D. and Cara C. Dibnah sent a request in December 2017 for $50,000 in intervenor funding made available for the Article 10 review of Apex Clean Energy’s Galloo Island Wind project. They requested funds to retain law firm Harter Secrest & Emery LLP, Rochester, to aid them as they participated in the review. The examiners for the proceeding, however, denied the Dibnahs’ request in August because the couple didn’t own a dwelling in Jefferson County, with the keeper’s quarters in the former U. S. Coast Guard lighthouse failing to meet their criteria.
In response, the Dibnahs appealed the ruling and requested an interlocutory review in hopes of securing funding, prompting state Department of Public Service officials and the Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment, the state body that reviews large-scale energy project siting under Article 10, to convene Monday to consider their request.
John J. Sipos, acting general counsel for DPS, recommended the siting board deny the couple’s appeal. He said their request wasn’t considered extraordinary, a requirement for an interlocutor review, and their inability to secure funds doesn’t prevent them from submitting exhibits and participating in discoveries during the Article 10 proceeding. The board concurred with Mr. Sipos and denied the Dibnahs appeal.
“I find this to be a straightforward matter based on the laws subscribed and the facts,” said siting board Chairman John B. Rhodes.
The Dibnahs, Fallon, Nev., have expressed their opposition toward Apex’s 109-megawatt wind project throughout the proceeding, fearing it would adversely affect their property and the about 150-year-old lighthouse.
One member of the siting board came to their defense. Joan Treadwell-Woods, an ad hoc member from Henderson, said she believed denying their appeal for funds would be an exclusionary tactic prohibiting the couple, whom she considered seasonal residents of Jefferson County, from participating in the Article 10 review and protecting their interests.
“This is really a travesty, especially when the property … is on the National Register of Historic Places,” she said.
The couple applied for $15,000 during the first round of intervenor funding in 2016, but the examiners denied the request because they didn’t own a dwelling in the area.
They also recently called for a suspension or dismissal of Apex’s application due to an ongoing dispute involving a property easement, a request examiners also rejected.
Apex previously planned to build 30 turbines on Galloo Island for its project, which would send power to a substation connected to the electric grid in Oswego through a 32-mile underwater cable.
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