Supervi s or

URBAN C. HIRSHEY
Town Clerkrrax Collector
MICHELLE A. BOUCHARD
Councilman
MICKEY W. ORVIS
BROOKS J . BRAGDO N
CLIFFORD P. SCHNEIDER
JOHN L. B Y RNE III
Superintendent of Highways
DANNY P. HUBBARD
September 25, 2012
Hon. Jaclyn A. Brilling
TOWN OF CAPE VINCENT
Jefferson County, New York 13618
Secretary, New York State Public Service Commission
Three Empire State Plaza
Albany, New York 12223-1350
A ssessor
ROBERT V.R.. B ARNARD
Historian
PETER J. MARGREY
Planning Board Chairman
RICHARD H. MACS HERRY
Soard of Appeals Chairman
R. DENNIS FAULKNHAM
Zoning Enforcement Officer
EOWARD P. BENDER
Re: Case 12-F - - Cape Vincent Wind Power, LLC, Public Involvement Program
Dear Secretary Brilling:
The Town of Cape Vincent was recently made. aware that BP initiated a pre-application process
for a wind power project in our town under Article 10. We have read their Public Involvement
Program (PIP) proposal and we are rather surprised at its lack of rigor. It appears to be a .
hodgepodge of materials slapped together to document what has occurred in the past with little
foresight into what is needed to move forward in the future. We respectfully submit the
following comments for the consideration by the PSC in their review ofBP's PIP.
In the 14-page Public Involvement Program statement most of this document, pages 3 through
10, describe public involvement efforts conducted prior to the adoption of Article 10 rules. BP
introduces its past public involvement history with the statement, "it is necessary to understand
the significant amount of public participation and outreach already conducted in the SEQRA
proceedings for the individual projects." BP then quotes Section 1001.2(c) of the Article 10 rules
suggesting the rules requires a review ofthe public involvement efforts under SEQRA. In our
reading of this section, however, the rules do not require or even suggest outlining public
involvement outside of, and which occurred several years prior to, the commencement of the
Article 10 process. Rather, we read this section as requiring the applicant to describe what
measures it is presently taking, or intends to take, during the Article 10 public outreach period
prior to actually submitting an Article 10 application. Public involvement efforts, including
those required by SEQRA, that took five or more years have no legitimate value in an Article X
permitting process going forward under that law. Much has changed since BP's years old prior
groundwork. Those earlier efforts are stale and have lost their validity
Additionally, BP's past history with Cape Vincent was not as well received as they suggest in
their PIP. BP's past efforts were well received by town officials, but not the community as a
whole, because many of these officials had wind contracts or were closely related to leaseholders
of BP and Acciona. While addressing these wind related matters, these former town officials
with wind leases were receiving money from wind companies. Because of those past conflicts of
interest the entire SEQRA process and public involvement program by the wind industry was, at
the very least, tainted. Most ofthose conflicted officials have now been replaced, either through
elections or by new appointments. To underscore this point, BP failed to include in its exhibits a
Watertown Daily Times story dated Augusl 14,2010, State Probing Officials at Cape, where the
New York State Attorney General's Office launched an investigation into the relationship
between Cape Vincent's municipal officials and commercial wind developers (see attached).
This investigation does not support BP's assertion that they had a " strong track record of close
community engagement and outreach." On the contrary, it suggests a more than questionable
record of community involvement.
Much of what BP outlines in their exhibits occurred between BP and their leaseholders and not
the general public or the town. Moreover, little of the material listed in their exhibits was
forwarded to the town. None of it is currently in any town files; much of it was new to all of us.
H was obvious from the exhibits attached to their PIP thai most of their past public information
efforts were directed at their leaseholder organization - Voters for Wind (VFW). VFW
information, however, was never accessible to the general public, since membership was
restricted to those who promised to support industrial wind development. Non-wind supporters
were told on VFW's website they were not welcomed. BP needs to redirect their efforts in the
future in order to have any credibility in the requirement for public outreach.
Qualitatively, the majority of BP's past public information program was a one-way
communication. Their efforts were directed more to telling us what they were going to do rather
than a dialog where they were listening to community concerns. This should change under
Article 10. For example, at the public hearing for BP's Cape Vincent Wind Power Project DEIS
on January 26, 2008, BP solicited public comment. Many people and various involved agencies,
including the PSC, studied the SEQRA material carefully and collectively wrote hundreds of
questions in response to BP's solicitation. Yet, today, four and one-half years later, not a single
question has been answered.
In another example, on April 14, 2010 the Cape Vincent Planning Board, then chaired by a BP
leaseholder, brought BPI Acciona's sound expert to Cape Vincent for a presentation to rebut
earlier testimony from the Town's acoustic consultant. This was a big issue and an important
educational opportunity. At the end of the presentation there were attempts by the public to ask
questions, but these individuals were cut-off by the conflicted Cape Planning Board Chairman.
His purpose was to halt any view that opposed or questioned wind developers intent. In other
instances this same conflicted chairman openly bragged that he failed to open letters from other
municipalities and the general public prior to accepting the SEQRA for Acciona's project (now
BP's project). This leads to one conclusion, that wind developers see their role as giving us facts,
as they see them, possibly allowing some chit-chat at an open house, but rarely responding to any
formal, public questioning. This, too, should change under Article 10 and begin anew. We need
honest, open dialog.
Suggested Changes to BP's Public Involvement Program
We would like to see BP go back to the drawing board and put more effort into their Public
involvement program. BP needs to build some trust in Cape Vincent. Their efforts should be
directed toward engaging the general public with less emphasis oriented toward their
leaseholders. In addition, much of the information they cite is not up-to-date and much of it little
more than BP advertisements and public relations literature. We submit that it should be plainly
obvious that they need to update materials, especially their time-lines.
We have a few additional suggestions that we believe to be essential to any proper effort to
inform and educate our residents:
.L. Honest treatment of important issues: BP correctly states that excessive turbine noise,
property devaluation and bird and bat kills along the migratory corridor are the major
concerns we have for our community. We do NOT need to hear or read more propaganda
from BP that these issues are phony and merely the rantings of overly sensitive seasonal
residents. BP can build some trust by admitting these issues are legitimate concerns and
that our zoning law is designed to deal with these issues.
2. Maps and more maps: The most important information BP can provide to our community
are maps outlining turbine locations. We need large-scale maps that show all turbines
and interconnecting lines that make up the total project, both the 200 MW and 289.5 MW
project alternatives. The maps should include the 35 dBA sound emission contour, since
Cape Vincent's nighttime sound limit is 35 dBA. There should also be smaller scale maps
that also include property lines so that individuals can see turbine locations referenced to
their property. Detailed project maps have been the most scrutinized documents in all the
open houses and DE IS filings in the past. All other materials are of far less significance
to average property owners. Good maps are a must in any public information program .
.1. Turbine model description: Specifications should be provided for the type(s) of wind
turbines proposed for Cape Vincent. In the past, 1.5 MW turbines with heights of
approximately 400 ft were proposed, but recent information suggests larger sizes may be
proposed under the Article 10 proposal. Cape residents want to know how tall the
turbines will be and they also need information on noise levels and other specifications.
4. Public hearing/open house: Along with BP's open house we suggest they include a
provision for an informal public hearing where people can ask questions and get
responses that all attendees can hear and understand. This format would be far more
informative than any one-on-one communication.
  Engaging local government: In their PIP BP suggests the only interaction needed with
the Town of Cape Vincent is to discuss infrastructure costs and what local zoning laws we
would elect to NOT apply. We find their presumption and indeed, arrogance, on the issue
of our local law appalling. At the same time, we welcome the opportunity to assert and
defend the importance of public safety, property values and protecting the Cape's natural
resources. Since financing is such a critical piece to wind development and nearly all
project developers seeks some kind of local tax relief, it should be a requirement in its
PIP for BP to begin a dialog with all the local taxing jurisdictions, including Towns of
Cape Vincent and Lyme, T. I. and Lyme school districts and Jefferson County. A single
meeting with representatives from all these taxing authorities would be preferred.
6. JustifY supplanting our local law: Given BP's past conduct in this matter, it is entirely
reasonable for us to believe that BP's goal in initiating this application is to supplant our
zoning law, and to have the local siting board declare it as "unduly burdensome." Since
this issue is crucial to our future, we believe we are entitled to see the rationale for
throwing aside our municipal prerogatives and trashing the zoning law that was des igned
in good faith and with expert consultation to protect the health, safety apd general welfare
of our citizens.
7. Justify ignoring our Comprehensive Plan: Similarly, our Comprehensive Plan describes a
community that embraces its small-town roots, values its natural , scenic and historic
resources. The Plan pointedly states that a large wind project, similar to that proposed by
BP under Article 10, is not a good fit for our community. There are just too many people
living in Cape Vincent to safely place a large-scale, industrial wind project. Given that a
large utility scale project is a poor fit, we would like to see BP's rationale for ignoring our
Plan and proposing to tum our community into something it does not want and that will
be a detriment to our overall prosperity - a highly industrialized energy complex.
8. Providing a solar alternative: As much as industrial wind is a poor fit for our community,
we are not opposed to a commercial, renewable energy project. In both our
Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Law commercial solar projects are deemed better fits
and are encouraged as a renewable energy development project proposal. Since BP has
completed other solar, renewable projects in New York, i.e. , Brookhaven, L.I., we
encourage BP to provide a solar energy development alternative as part of their public
involvement program.
We appreciate the opportunity to respond to BP's Public Involvement Program. Secretary
Brilling, we hope you understand why we take this matter so seriously and why we will respond
to each and every proposal BP directs toward our community, it is because after BP, the siting
board and your efforts are finished in Cape Vincent, we the undersigned will be responsible to
deal with the aftermath.
Respectfully yours,
Urban   - Town Supervisor
John Bym - Town Council
, .
Dick Macsherry - Planning
Board
Ro ne Bums - Planning Board

. Denms F;'fbtham - ZBA ChaIrman

,
Joe Martin -
Brooks Bradg,on ---:--p';puty Supervisor


Bob -Planning Board
y
Board
Bend
r
<?! ( Z;oning Officer
f (C \).
Keith Walker - ZBA
er Chase BA
.. J!rA
State probing officials at
Cape
By BRIAN KELLY
TIMES STAFF WRITER
SATURDAY, AUGUST 14, 201 0
AA
S
.. ' ",.-,
.... __    
CAPE VINCENT - The state attorney general's office is investigating allegations of misconduct by
"certain" town officials in connection with the development of wind farms.
John T. Milgrim, spokesman for the attorney general, confirmed that a letter was sent to the town and
its attorney Friday afternoon informing them an investigation had been launched,
Me. Milgrim also confirmed that two senior members of Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo's staff,
Deputy Chief of Staff John B, Howard and Henry M. Greenberg, executive division counsel , were in
Cape Vincent about two weeks ago conducting interviews of "parties interested in wind power."
Me. Milgrim declined comment on details of the investigation, including what prompted it or which
town officials may be its focus.
According to the letter, obtained by the Times, the attorney general has told the town it must
preserve all town documents, including those of the Town Council and Planning Board, and the town
is not to delete or purge any records until the investigation is complete.
The attorney general's office is specifically requesting information about any present, past or future
wind farm development or siting of the farms, as well as all information regarding wind turbines, wind
power and related faciinies or wind power projects.
The office wants all information about wind farm development compiled since Jan. 1, 2005, "whether
considered, planned, attempted or completed, including, but not limited to permitting, licensing,
construction and energy production."
By Aug. 28, the attorney general's office wants:
• All documents relating to town action on wind farm development, including, but not limited to,
board minutes, board packages, resolutions, voting records, communications, permits, applications
and licenses .
• All communications between or among town officials and any company engaged in wind farm
development.
• All documents concerning any financial relationship between a town official , or their relatives, and
a company engaged in wind farm development, including, but not limited to, any financial disclosures
filed with the town and any board minutes reflecting any such disclosures.
The attorney general's office is asking that town Supervisor Urban C. Hirschey and Planning Board
Chairman Richard J. Edsall , as well as members of the Town Council and Planning Board, be made
available for interviews. The office also wants to talk to anyone else who served on either board
since Jan. 1, 2005.
Acciona Wind Energy USA has proposed a 51-turbine St. Lawrence Wind Farm for the town and BP
Alternative Energy has an active application for the 62-turbine Cape Vincent Wind Farm. The
proposed projects have caused controversies between pro- and anti-wind advocates, including
allegations of conflicts of interest among town officials.

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