Siting Board decision for Cassadaga turbines could be milestone for projects to move forward locally

Posted 24 January 2018 at 10:43 pm


When the ribbons are cut in a couple of years for the Lighthouse Wind and the Barre Wind Projects, S.O.S. and its hand-picked boards will look back at last week’s Article 10 Siting Board Cassadaga decision as the high-water mark in the locals’ quest to turn back the 21st century.

Anti-groups read the decision as a victory for town boards scrambling to push through restrictive zoning laws aimed at appeasing dirty energy forces and the legions of garden variety NIMBY’s. Yates and Somerset Town Board members envision hundreds of New York towns and villages emulating their hostile laws.

But, not so fast. Seasoned observers of the State scene understand that each case brought before a State tribunal such as the Siting Board, brings its own unique set of facts, context and precedents. What was applauded by the anti-forces reflecting on the Cassadaga decision, may receive not even a mention in the upcoming Siting Board proceedings relating to Lighthouse Wind. As but one example, the Town Boards’ overt hostility toward agricultural interests in Yates and Somerset will likely be a key factor in the Board’s decision-making process. The now laughable Niagara Air Base threat should receive no play.

Clean energy supporters need to hang in there; the inevitable is the inevitable. (Have an off-record chat with state and federal pols’ senior staff sometime. Bring up Lighthouse Wind).

That doesn’t mean the town fathers should keep their ceremonial ribbon-cutting scissors at the ready. You won’t likely be invited to the ceremony.

Ralph Smith