Pay-to-play charges in state government warrant scrutiny with proposed local wind energy project

Posted 3 October 2016 at 9:28 am


The recent charges brought concerning pay-for-play business throughout the State of New York is very troubling. We all would hope our government is honest and trustworthy and working for the good of all citizens. Any project that involves millions or even billions of dollars should be suspect. The man who sits closest to our governor, according to The Buffalo News, has been charged involving this crime.

Our area is involved with a large wind farm project. Both the Federal and State governments and millions of tax dollars are involved in the process of determining if this project will move forward and where. One of the major problems with this project to start with is that HOME RULE has been tossed out the window. That is being done regardless the fact that our State Constitution gives the HOME RULE protection to local towns and villages to determine how its land should be used. Both towns of Somerset and Yates as well as many other local government agencies have rejected the Apex wind farm and yet the project moves forward. That should get everyone’s attention.

The governor has set up a very ambitious goal for wind farms by 2030 and they are all going to be set up west of Albany, to keep the lights on in Albany and New York City. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. All local jurisdictions west of Albany better be ready. How did Apex get the right to pursue this project in the towns of Yates and Somerset? Was it a State or Federal government bid project?

The developers like Apex are supposed to be transparent. Apex was seeking lease holders for close to a year before they notified the Town of Yates that this project was going on. When they saw that the folks were against this project they hired union workers to attend a town meeting to give the appearance that many people were for this project. Apex has had meetings involving both State and Federal authorities but local Town authorities were not invited or allowed to attend. Local authorities requested but were not informed, on what the topics or purpose of these meeting.

Has Apex been transparent with lease landowners? Are all landowners receiving the same amount of income? Do contracts contain an escalator clause or profit clause? Why are lease holders forbidden from discussing terms with other potential land owners?

If this and other similar projects are so important why not take the property needed under eminent domain and remove the lease holder from liability? Can neighbors sue the lease holder for the nuisance they cause? If the project goes forward and fails, who takes down the towers?

We don’t know what we don’t know. The land can never be returned to what it was, but does big government care? We will see the answer down the road.

Ray Watt

Town of Yates