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We must defend our law

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On Oct. 23, Cape Vincent and Lyme town officials held a public meeting with BP concerning BP’s proposed industrial wind complex for Cape Vincent. Officials expressed aggravation with BP’s proposal and that BP had no intention of abiding by Cape Vincent’s restrictive wind zoning criteria. Cape Vincent officials indicated our wind zoning is not negotiable. They should re-examine their claim.

BP’s project manager Richard Chandler didn’t flinch. He knows despite their bravado they don’t grasp the irony that they already are in negotiations with BP by their willingness to participate in the state’s Article X power plant siting process. The letters from the town and its supporters pleading to the Public Service Commission to deny BP’s development, and uphold our law are evidence this is already a negotiation with BP through third-party arbitration. Otherwise there would be no purpose to these letters. Virtually every letter is pleading to deny BP’s proposal instead of indicating we will aggressively defend our law. That is negotiation, not defense, and implies there is no will to defend our law. It is a dangerous contrary message.

Cape officials and their supporters fail to grasp they essentially don’t have a law to defend. They gave it away to the state to defend under BP’s significant influence and are now desperately pleading with the state to defend what they should have aggressively defended themselves. The law in this process was nothing more than a detailed dissertation of industrial wind concerns in our community. The town allowed the state, influenced by negotiations with BP, to determine the final law. So you either aggressively defend your law or you don’t, or instead hand it over to political third-party arbitration, with BP having significant influence over its fate,contrary to your intent of no negotiation. We get inadvertently caught up in the state’s subtle game, and BP’s Chandler knows it. He only needs to structure his approach so we remain in the game under the delusion we are standing tough and influencing the outcome.

The opposition must recognize as the town proceeds under Article X, pleading with the PSC, they are actually negotiating our law away with BP already. The only way to defend our law and make it non-negotiable is to deny the Article X process in our communities and stop desperately pleading like victims for our law’s defense, but take measures to defend it ourselves.

Art Pundt

Cape Vincent

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