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BP holds wind workshop in Cape Vincent

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CAPE VINCENT — BP Wind Energy was again criticized by town representatives at a public workshop Thursday night for being evasive and not providing enough information concerning its proposed $300 million Cape Vincent Wind Farm project.

Like the wind farm’s project manager at a previous meeting, John S. Harris — an attorney who represented BP at Thursday’s workshop at the Cape Vincent Recreation Park — was unable to answer several questions posed by local officials.

Some of the inquiries were out of the meeting’s scope, Mr. Harris told the audience, and others, he simply did not know what the answer was.

“They make the same comments they always make,” said Harvey J. White, a wind lease holder, referring to the statements made Thursday night by town officials and opponents of wind development.

Mr. White further argued that Cape Vincent officials have been trying to get BP representatives to “lose their cool” in public by making anti-wind declarations in the form of a question.

Cape Vincent Planning Board and council members have, on several occasions, expressed their displeasure with BP’s “unresponsiveness” and “unwillingness” to cooperate with local municipal leaders.

Town Councilman Clifford P. Schneider went a step further Thursday night and criticized BP for making donations recently to local food pantries, arguing that this seemingly innocent behavior was “contaminating” and “tainting” the siting process.

Mr. Schneider also said BP has better access to decision-makers in Albany, giving them an unfair advantage when it comes to determining the outcome of the state Article X energy project siting review.

Last month, BP submitted to the state Public Service Commission its revised public involvement program for community outreach for its proposed 124-turbine project.

This is the first hurdle the wind developer needs to clear in the state-mandated process, which generally imposes a 12-month deadline for the review of the construction and operation of major electric-generating facilities of 25 megawatts or higher.

The next step for BP in the pre-application process is to submit to the state — as soon as Feb. 17 — a preliminary scoping statement with a description of its facility and proposed impact studies, among other items.

BP plans to host another public workshop in January.

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