Articles filed under Legal from New York
The Farmersville Town Board voted 3-2 Monday to appeal the New York Siting Commission’s approval of the Alle-Catt Wind Farm application. ...Board members also voted 3-2 to revoke a permit for a meteorological tower and to revoke a 2019 road use agreement the town negotiated with the Chicago-based Invenergy, the parent company of Alle-Catt Wind LLC.
The Fourth Department Appellate Division unanimously ruled on Thursday that state Supreme Court Judge James Dillon’s 2019 decision halting the 29 wind mills was incorrect. Dillon’s decision has been reversed and the residents’ petition dismissed in its entirety.
A recent complaint filed with the U.S. District Court Southern District of New York by Trireme Energy Holdings alleges that Innogy, former parent company of Cassadaga Wind, LLC, intentionally delayed construction on the project, which was scheduled to be operational by Dec. 31, 2020, in order to avoid making a milestone payment in the amount of $69.7 million.
Attorney Gary A. Abraham said Thursday that a lawsuit is being considered by opponents, including a coalition of citizen groups, an Amish community and the towns of Rushford, Freedom and Farmersville, where Abraham said anti-wind power candidates won November's local elections.
Eric Firkel, Freedom town attorney, said the judge’s earlier decision voiding the 2018 law stated the 2007 law was in effect and acknowledged the 2019 law, which was similarly approved. “It is void on its face. It was not passed with proper procedures. The 2007 law is the current law,” Firkel said.
Gary Abraham, an attorney for residents of the two towns seeking more protective laws than ones passed earlier by the Farmersville and Freedom town boards, pointed out that the examiners, two administrative law judges from the state Department of Public Service and one from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, state that the 2007 Freedom wind law is in effect. That means turbine heights in Freedom are capped at 450 feet, not the 600 feet that Alle-Catt was seeking for its turbines. Alle-Catt had sought a ruling that the town’s 2019 wind law was in effect after a state Supreme Court judge ruled the 2018 wind law had not been legally approved.
The Farmersville Town Board voted 3-2 on Jan. 6 to void the 2019 wind law, which town attorney Eric Firkel said was not properly adopted. The board’s action was demanded in a lawsuit filed by Farmersville United, which represents wind farm opponents. ...The lawsuit, filed Wednesday with Cattaraugus County Supreme Court Judge Terrance Parker, accused the Farmersville board of “attempting to invalidate” the town’s 2019 wind law by resolution voiding the law on Jan. 6.
“Since Alle-Catt cannot be a party, based on the new order, and the existing parties have settled the case, the order closes this matter once and for all,” Abraham explained. Abraham predicted the judge’s decision “will have serious effects on the Alle-Catt project proposal.” While most of the electrical connections for the 117-turbine Alle-Catt Wind Farm passing through Freedom for interconnection points near Arcade, the town’s 2007 law won’t permit the 24 turbines proposed by Invenergy, Abraham said.
A coalition of Chenango and Otsego county residents filed a petition last week in New York State Supreme Court calling for the annulment of the town of Guilford’s renewable energy law and the removal of the town supervisor from office.
Pending appeal, a decision handed down in state Supreme Court Monday could spell the beginning of the end of the proposed $775 million Alle-Catt Wind Farm. State Supreme Court Judge Terrence Parker ruled the Freedom Town Board acted illegally in approving its new wind law at the urging of Invenergy, the developer of the proposed 340-megawatt wind farm spread across five towns.
The suit was filed Tuesday and names EDP Renewables, Arkwright Summit Wind Farm LLC, Horizon Wind Energy LLC, Tetra Tec EC Inc., Tetra Tech ES Inc., Tetra Tech Construction Inc., URS Corp., West Inc. Fisher Associates P.E., L.S., L.A. of New York, P.C., Fisher Associates, P.E., L.S., L.A., D.P.C., White Construction of Indiana LLC and any other corporations who may be liable to the plaintiffs. No court date has been set yet, though an answer by the companies is due in either 20 or 30 days depending on how the companies are served paperwork.
A stalemate on a number of issues after the early wrap-up of this week’s “evidentiary hearing” for Invenergy’s Number 3 Wind Farm resulted in a closed-door “settlement conference” to try to search for middle ground.
Freedom United is trying to force the Town Board to rescind its new wind law and resubmit it to the Cattaraugus County Planning Board along with a complete Environmental Assessment Form. The law was passed on a 3-2 vote.
“The Freedom Town Board changed the allowable height of commercial wind turbines from 450 feet to 600 feet but without any consideration of the potential adverse impacts on the environmental or the community. This violates at least two laws, the State Environmental Quality Review Law, and General Municipal Law which requires such a review. ..."Actions like these by cash-strapped towns seeking to cultivate intrusive industrial wind farms without any concern for the impact of what they’re doing are understandable, but illegal."
“They tried to sneak a change into their zoning law without anyone noticing what was going on, because their zoning law doesn’t permit windmills,” Henderson Supervisor John J. Culkin said. ...According to the lawsuit, Hounsfield was required under state Town Law to notify Henderson’s town clerk in writing at least 10 days in advance about a Nov. 7 public hearing, but failed to do so.
The company failed to disclose relevant information, and its application should be tossed out. Apex previously claimed that no evidence of an eagle nest existed but acknowledged under oath that the island caretaker made the firm aware of the nest in the spring of 2017. ...even after being made aware of the presence of the nest, Apex saw no “material reason” to update its application ...so it allowed its inaccurate statement to stand. This is the very definition of deception.
After findings surfaced that an application for a Galloo Island wind farm failed to include the discovery of a bald eagle’s nest... the state departments of Public Service (DPS) and Environmental Conservation (DEC) withdrew their signatures on executed stipulations, agreements between parties that can pertain to studies that must be included in applications.
Lippes said he is almost finished with discovery in the lawsuit and the two sides are expected to exchange the names of their expert witnesses soon afterward. ...The lawsuit cites constant noise and vibration from the turbines “significantly diminishes the value of plaintiff’s property and homes.” The 50 dBA noise limit “is violated on a regular basis,” the suit alleges.
After it was revealed that Apex Clean Energy omitted the finding of a bald eagle nest on Galloo Island in spring 2017 from the application for its 109-megawatt project, administrative law judges allowed parties involved in the review to withdraw from the stipulations pertaining to studies of terrestrial ecology, wetlands and other related matters. ...Both the state departments of Public Service and Environmental Conservation said they have withdrawn from the particular stipulations due to Apex’s decision not to divulge the knowledge of the nest and the lack of studies to address it.
A petition to suspend, adjourn or dismiss the Article 10 review of the Galloo Island Wind project has been filed with the state Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment. Cara and Anthony Dibnah, who in 2000 purchased the former U.S. Coast Guard lighthouse on the island, are seeking relief from the board because of an ongoing easement dispute with the owner of the largest part of the island, Galloo Island Corp.