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Legislators clarify position on offshore wind turbines

Lawmakers in attendance at Tuesday's meeting of the legislature's Economic Development and Planning Committee took issue with a story published in that day's issue of The Palladium-Times that stated, "Discussions by area officials regarding the development of a wind turbine farm based in the Oswego County waters of Lake Ontario have not blown over." They have blown over, legislators said, during a sometimes contentious discussion.

The Oswego County Legislature will not be revisiting an offshore wind turbine project proposed by the New York Power Authority and they want the public to be aware that the issue is not under discussion.

Lawmakers in attendance at Tuesday's meeting of the legislature's Economic Development and Planning Committee took issue with a story published in that day's issue of The Palladium-Times that stated, "Discussions by area officials regarding the development of a wind turbine farm based in the Oswego County waters of Lake Ontario have not blown over."

They have blown over, legislators said, during a sometimes contentious discussion.

The legislature voted in March to oppose a New York Power Authority project that would locate dozens of wind turbines in Lake Ontario. A proposal made by New York Power Authority called for the construction, siting and operation of wind-turbine facilities in Lake Erie and/or Lake Ontario's eastern basin. The project would include inland transmission lines.

At the start of the committee meeting, Legislator Jake Mulcahey brought up the issue of possibly exploring onshore wind projects. Doyle then referenced the news story by asking Legislature Chairman Barry... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The Oswego County Legislature will not be revisiting an offshore wind turbine project proposed by the New York Power Authority and they want the public to be aware that the issue is not under discussion.

Lawmakers in attendance at Tuesday's meeting of the legislature's Economic Development and Planning Committee took issue with a story published in that day's issue of The Palladium-Times that stated, "Discussions by area officials regarding the development of a wind turbine farm based in the Oswego County waters of Lake Ontario have not blown over."

They have blown over, legislators said, during a sometimes contentious discussion.

The legislature voted in March to oppose a New York Power Authority project that would locate dozens of wind turbines in Lake Ontario. A proposal made by New York Power Authority called for the construction, siting and operation of wind-turbine facilities in Lake Erie and/or Lake Ontario's eastern basin. The project would include inland transmission lines.

At the start of the committee meeting, Legislator Jake Mulcahey brought up the issue of possibly exploring onshore wind projects. Doyle then referenced the news story by asking Legislature Chairman Barry Leemann, County Administrator Phil Church and Operation Oswego County Economic Development Specialist Austin Wheelock if they had been in discussions with NYPA. Each answered "no."

Legislator Morris Sorbello, who serves as the chairman of the committee, said he has not had contact with NYPA since the time an official from the company sent a letter stating the county was no longer under consideration for the project. That correspondence was received several months ago.

Legislators said there have been two recent articles suggesting the project is still under discussion that they referred to as "misleading."

Doyle said he had a concern that NYPA Chief Executive Officer Richard Kessel is using one local media outlet to try to reach an audience of people.

"Obviously there hasn't been any discussion of any local officials," he said.

"I have never actually talked to Kessel personally so that's just ridiculous and quite offensive," Palladium-Times reporter Aaron Curtis told the committee.

Doyle then asked who Curtis used as a source to write the story alleging that "area officials" may be in discussion in regard to the offshore project.

Several people began speaking at once and it was not clear if he answered the question. Curtis then shot back, "Did you read the article? Because it's quite obvious you didn't."

Sorbello interjected and said he understood Curtis wanting to defend the newspaper, however, he wanted to yield the discussion to the committee members. Sorbello said Curtis could have the opportunity to speak at a later time.

Mulcahey said that he believed the newly spurred media stories were the result of an effort by Legislator Doug Malone to discuss the issue at the July 14 legislature meeting.

Malone brought up the subject and subsequently made a motion to open the floor to discussion, which he later rescinded. Malone, a member of the committee, was absent from Tuesday's committee meeting. Malone has been absent from the January, April and June meetings, as well.

Legislator Art Ospelt said he wanted to clear up some misconceptions in the news that Oswego County is against wind power.

"I'm not against wind power," he said. "I'm against it in the lake."

Sorbello did not give Curtis another opportunity to speak. Sorbello said after the meeting that he believed the discussion was becoming too contentious and that he told Curtis he should discuss matter privately at the conclusion of the meeting.

Legislators said they want to make it clear that they are not involved with any discussions with the New York Power Authority nor do they have any intention to do so in the future.

They are open to discussions in regard to carefully sited onshore wind projects, it was noted. Leemann said that if Mulcahey is interested in learning more about wind power, as a member of the Green Team, discussions can be held with guest speakers from both sides of the issue.


Source: http://www.valleynewsonline...

JUL 31 2010
http://www.windaction.org/posts/27509-legislators-clarify-position-on-offshore-wind-turbines
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