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Yates supervisor was off base in criticisms of Article X review process

Posted 10 July 2019 at 7:21 am

Editor:

In response to Mr. Simon’s July 1st Letter to the Editor, I think it deserves having some light shed on it.

Mr. Simon states, “NY taxpayers concerned about the rapid increase in sprawling industrial wind projects should take heed.”

The Power NY Act of 2011 established the Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment, which instituted a process for the siting of any electric producing project in NYS that generates over 25 KW, whether it’s wind, solar, fossil fuel, water or nuclear powered. This process and the regulations guiding it are a referred to as Article X.

In the last 8 years, 19 proposed wind farms have begun the Article X application/approval process. One has been put on hold. Three have been withdrawn. Of the other 15 wind farm projects that have begun the filing process, only one, Cassadaga Wind, has had their application approved. This is according to the Siting Board website. None have been certified. A wind turbine occupies less than ½ acre or approximately 19 acres in a project the size of Lighthouse Wind (which powers 50,000 homes) – not exactly “rapid or sprawling” increase.

Mr. Simon complains that NYSERDA and NYS DEC should not be members of the NYS Article 10 Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment (the Siting Board) because he believes it is a conflict of interest.

Mr. Simon thinks there is a conflict of interest between the NYS DEC and the Siting Board but never tells us why he thinks this.

Regarding a conflict of interest between NYSERDA and the Siting Board, maybe Mr. Simon is trying to make the case that because NYSERDA awards money to wind farm developers, they are then biased toward approving wind farm projects. The NYSERDA “Green Fund” goes to all types of clean energy projects, not just wind projects. I fail to see how this constitutes a conflict of interest.

Mr. Simon accuses NYSERDA of using customers’ money to support wind farm development. Need I remind taxpayers that he and Yates Town Council members Riggi and Suhr voted to use constituents’ tax dollars to help the Town of Somerset pay legal fees that Somerset would incur in 2019 fighting against Lighthouse Wind? Based on what Somerset spent in 2016 through 2017 (the most recent full years at the time this was approved) that could cost $130,000 for the two-year period. The Yates budget for legal fees in 2018 was $19,000.

Mr. Simon accused Apex of not exercising “rigorous review” or “community development.” Apex presents the facts on their proposed projects when it is appropriate in the Article 10 process. Mr. Simon did not attend the October 2018 community forum that was held at Lyndonville School. In fact, he and others tried to prevent the meeting from happening after accusing Apex of not addressing community outreach. Regarding Apex supporting the community, please see Alice Mathis’ July 4th LTE.

I hope this helps clarify the status of Clean Energy in NYS.

Mark Crosby

Medina