PARISHVILLE — Avangrid Renewables, the wind tower company that wants to build wind turbines in Parishville and Hopkinton, had their motion denied to have a Parishville resident removed from the state siting board.
Parishville resident Gary Snell Sr. will keep his seat on the state citing board tasked with determining if 500-foot wind turbines will come to the North Country.
Snell was appointed to the New York Siting Board on Electronic Siting and the Environment on Aug. 2, but the wind company, Avangrid, claims he should be determined ineligible due to a conflict of interest.
Avangrid filed the motion Sept. 26 as well as a similar request on Sept. 5 that was denied by Hon. Kathleen H. Burgess too.
“This is in response to your letter of September 26, 2017 requesting the Department of Public Service to determine whether Siting Board Ad Hoc Member Snell’s refusal to recuse himself in the above-referenced case is appropriate,” the letter from Hon. Burgess says. The letter was addressed to Mr. Muscato (James A. Muscato II of Young/Sommer LLC, the legal representatives for Avangrid Renewables, the company behind the proposed wind farm.
“Mr. Senll is not a “Presiding Examiner” as that term is defined in 16 NYCRR Section 1000.2(ad) as Mr. Snell was not appointed by the Department of Public Service. Therefore, the remainder of your assertions are inapplicable and the determination you request is not an appropriate action for the Department. As a result, the initial determination stand,” the letter said.
Avangrid officials have previously stated they feel Snell has a conflict of interest due to his involvement with the Concerned Citizens for Rural Preservation (CCRP), a group opposed to the wind farm.
“He is entitled to his opinions and a role in the process, individually or through the local group he leads, but his actions are in direct conflict with the role a Siting Board member must play. He is supposed to address and balance the needs of the entire community, and rule in a fair and unbiased manner.”
Snell was allowed previously by Hon. Burgess to remain on the board. She offered him the chance to voluntarily step down, but Snell declined.
The siting board oversees the permitting process for power plants of 25 megawatts (MW) or greater. The board has five state-appointed members and two local members. Snell said was nominated by the Town of Parishville and St. Lawrence County. He would represent Parishville and Ernest Parker was chosen to represent Hopkinton.