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Details are lacking with Apex’s proposed Barre project

Posted 19 April 2019 at 9:20 am

Editor:

Three months ago the Barre Town Board made a decision to make no changes to our current wind ordinance in light of the proposed Heritage Wind project. Board members indicated they had received information from the Town Planning Board, community members, Clear Skies Above Barre, Heritage Wind,  legal and engineering teams hired by the Town and from the Town attorney – information that presumably was used in making the final decision.

At the April Town Board meeting, it was revealed that Apex has proposed a “Professional Fee and Reimbursement Agreement” whereby they will offer up to $50,000 to pay for legal fees for our Town Attorney and an “Independent Consultant” to, once again, review our current wind ordinance. Whose idea was this?

The comment was made “we figured” that “we would get an independent party to take another, final look at our wind laws.” Who is “we”? Someone on the Town Board who voted in January to make no changes? Obviously Apex is not happy about this decision. Neither are some residents.

Unfortunately, we do not have $50,000 to try and bribe the Town Board into looking at this issue again. Ultimately, three Town Board members voted not to take Apex up on their offer.  Kudos to Councilmen Bennett, Hill and McCabe for their commitment to stand by a three-month old decision.

If, as we have been told on numerous occasions, our local laws mean nothing and the Siting Board will make the final decisions, what would be gained by another “final review” other than to pad the coffers of our town attorney and an “Independent Consultant” – both bought and paid for by Apex.

Let’s get on with it. Have the courage of your convictions and stand by your decisions for more than three months. Let Apex submit their application so we can all finally find out what the final project entails.

A ton of questions were asked after Apex submitted their PSS. Answers to multiple questions consisted of, “This information will be included in the application.” So let’s find out what is in the application. Is it 33 turbines? Is it 47 turbines? Or is it somewhere in between? What is the final proposed location of turbines? How large is the project – 200MW, 158 MW or 147 MW?  How tall are the turbines – 591’, 655’, 681’ or will they be up to 750’ by then?

A board member lamented the fact that if we do not take Apex up on their “reimbursement” offer, that they may not be willing to negotiate with the Town in the future. Great! Forget negotiating a PILOT that will result in only eight full-time jobs after construction is completed.  For eight jobs we leave millions on the table as a result of a PILOT? Let’s tax these industrial wind factories just as we are taxed on our property. Then maybe we really would see a decrease in our taxes

If you would like to watch this $50,000 discussion, go to Know Your Facts Facebook Page and view the April Town Board meeting online. The proposal starts at about the 25 minute mark.

Donna Rhodey

Barre