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BP hears more push back on Cape Vincent wind farm

Joanna Richards/NCPR

BP Energy was in Cape Vincent in the state's North Country last night to give a presentation on New York state's Article X process for siting power generation projects. 

It was another contentious encounter between local anti-wind power activists and BP representatives over the proposed Cape Vincent Wind Farm.

The session was an early step in the Article X* process, a new process the state has created that can ultimately circumvent local zoning regulations to site power projects.

Richard Chandler is project manager of the Cape Vincent Wind Farm for BP. "This is a new process, and it can be complex at times, so I think this is a really good way to kind of provide a synopsis of what the process is," he said.

Many residents are frustrated, and said BP has not heard their concerns about the project so far. Last night they asked specific questions about the wind farm's footprint and other issues, many of which the attorney giving the presentation couldn't immediately answer.

A wind power project would bring money to the municipality, but many locals said it would destroy the town's scenic, rural character.

Clif Schneider, a town councilman for Cape Vincent, cut to the heart of the conflict.

"They've already come out and said in effect that our local laws would kill any project plans that they have," Schneider said. "So that's really the crux of this whole project and everything else, is are they going to be successful in casting aside our local laws, or are we going to be successful in defending them?"

Schneider invited BP to meet with the Town Council about the local zoning law, which was recently rewritten to strictly regulate wind power development. BP's attorney accepted.

BP plans to hold another session next month. That meeting will address funding the company must by law provide for local officials to hire attorneys and experts as the Article X process moves forward.

* Editor: Here is an explainer on Article X from Adam Blair at Cornell University.

North Country Public Radio/North Country Reporter for the Innovation Trail
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