Yates officials made a good decision in joining Somerset with same attorney to fight wind turbine project

Posted 24 April 2018 at 12:00 pm


The Yates Town Board is to be congratulated for its recent decision to join forces with the Town of Somerset in retaining Dennis Vacco from the law firm Lippes, Mathias, Wexler, Friedman LLP as the town attorney representing them in matters associated with the proposed Lighthouse Wind project. It is a win/win situation for both towns in their effort to stop the industrialization of our rural community.

Mr. Vacco, a principled attorney, has vast legal experience and is unique in that he is one of the few Western New Yorkers that have held statewide office. His credentials are beyond question. Critics are totally misguided.

The alleged “excessive legal expenditures” incurred by the Town of Somerset reflect the costs necessary to defend against a lawsuit relating to the siting of two Met towers in the town. Somerset maintained that the siting of these towers was a class I SEQRA action as they were in fact part of the Lighthouse Wind project with far-reaching environmental consequences. Apex disagreed and sued to force an approval. This is an example of the extent to which Apex will go to impose their will on a community that has demonstrated again and again over the last 4 years, that industrialization of our community with large wind turbines is unacceptable. The Yates Met Tower approval involved no such lawsuit.

With regard to the Somerset Power Station effect on our community, it was in fact an economic engine for the entire area. It employed 120 or more individuals, had an annual payroll in excess of $11 million annually and was privately financed. The Barker School District benefited from the tax base. Be reminded that this district encompasses a section of Orleans County including a portion of the Town of Yates. No number of industrial wind turbine projects will ever replace the economic contribution of that plant. It is tragic that it is being driven out of business by Governor Cuomo’s misguided energy policies with no thought of conversion to natural gas, a plentiful and clean-burning fuel.

It time to stop running loose and fast with facts and figures and recognize that our elected officials are carrying out the will of the people, something they were elected to do. We must all unite behind them and send Apex home. This is what the people want.

James C. Hoffman

Town of Somerset