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Cape Vincent town government, WPEG awarded majority of wind project intervenor funding

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CAPE VINCENT — The town government and Wind Power Ethics Group were awarded more than $80,000 in intervenor funds Tuesday night to hire six experts to help them review the Cape Vincent Wind Farm proposal.

In a draft ruling made at a pre-application conference for BP’s proposed project, case examiner and state Department of Public Service Administrative Law Judge Paul Agresta awarded the town of Cape Vincent and WPEG a total of $82,600.

The two parties had asked for $98,840, or 99 percent of the $99,750 in intervenor funding BP Wind Energy was required to provide under state law.

Still, town Supervisor Urban C. Hirschey and WPEG Chairwoman Sarah F. Boss said they were happy to receive a majority of the available funds.

Mr. Hirschey said he also was pleased to learn that most of the correspondence will occur via email and teleconferences, meaning representatives and consultants will not have to travel to Albany too often to participate in the deliberations.

Cape Vincent’s town government is slated to receive:

n $15,515 to hire Carl V. Phillips, director of the Populi Health Institute, Wayne, Pa., to develop a detailed list of health issues to address, along with a recommended approach and methodology for BP to follow in its studies of adverse health effects.

n $16,410 to hire Kris D. Dimmick, an engineer and vice president of operations at Bernier, Carr & Associates, Watertown, who would “review and critique” BP’s preliminary scoping statement for its proposed project, among other tasks.

n $11,320 to pay for the services of Paul J. Curtin Jr., an attorney with Shulman, Curtin & Grunder, Syracuse, who has been representing the town in its dealings with the wind developer.

Jointly, the town and WPEG would be getting:

n $16,855 to hire acoustical engineer Paul D. Schomer, Schomer & Associates Inc., Champaign, Ill.

n $15,940 to hire Michael S. McCann, a real estate appraiser in Illinois, to assist the group with land use and property value issues.

n $6,560 to hire ornithologist William R. Evans, director of the nonprofit Old Bird Inc., Ithaca, for his knowledge of effects on wildlife and birds at commercial wind farms.

Additionally, the town of Lyme was awarded $11,000 to pay for legal services and get technical advice from the town’s attorney, Mark G. Gebo, with Hrabchak, Gebo & Langone, and Mr. Dimmick of Bernier, Carr & Associates.

BP plans to run a 6- to 7-mile transmission line connecting its 124-turbine wind facility to a substation in Lyme.

A request for funding by the Lyme Central School District was denied because it had intended to hire a law firm to negotiate a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement with the wind developer, which is outside the scope of the state Article X siting process.

There is $6,150 left in the pot with the Development Authority of the North Country application pending further review.

Mr. Agresta initially suggested that DANC would not be eligible for intervenor funding because it is legally deemed a state entity and not a local or municipal party.

“I will promise all of you that we will get to the bottom of the issue,” he said. “We thought it would be a good idea for us to give them funding if we could. So it purely comes down to the matter of what the law says.”

Mr. Agresta also said he would be “very interested in parties working out some stipulations on alternatives,” such as alternative sizes for the project, and a case scenario that attempts to comply with the town’s zoning law — not necessarily by 100 percent but to “the degree possible.”

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