Ms. Ashley Moreno
Three Empire State Plaza
Albany, New York 12223-1350
RE: GALLOO ISLAND WIND, LLC. 15-F-0327
Dear Secretary Burgess and Presiding Examiner Moreno:
Please find attached a letter from David Stilwell, Field Supervisor for the Cortland Field Office of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Stil-well’s letter was also filed under Public Comments section of this case on July 14, 2017. I urge the parties to review the USFWS’s comments on Apex’s Final Stipulations for their Galloo project.
Although the USFWS comments were filed outside the posted 6-19-2017 dead-line for stipulation comments, the comments and recommendations are im-portant in that they describe serious deficiencies in Galloo’s study plan for avian impacts and suggest further studies to improve understanding of potential adverse impacts associated with Apex Clean Energy’s proposed de-velopment of Galloo Island. What is more, the recommendations suggested by the USFWS are more detailed and expansive points that I made in my comments on Galloo’s stipulations, which I submitted within the 30-day comment peri-od.
Briefly, the USFWS concluded “…that the 2008 radar studies for Galloo Is-land are outdated,“ and that “additional radar surveys be conducted on the island to more accurately understand the potential risk of the project to wildlife.” This supports my recommendation that Galloo should conduct two years of new radar studies.
The USFWS also called for a far more expansive assessment of Cumulative Im-pact Analysis on avian resources than Apex provided in their Final Stipula-tions. Apex offered to include three wind projects in their Cumulative Analysis: Wolfe Island, Amherst Island and Horse Creek. Ideally, the USFWS, stated, Apex’s cumulative analysis should include wind energy projects lo-cated regionally, including more than a dozen operational and planned pro-jects in both U.S. and Canada. The analysis should consider all projects that could affect the region’s migratory flyway.
The USFWS comments also revealed that Apex undertook special Bald Eagle studies on Galloo in 2016, but the Service has not received any communica-tion since a July 2016 meeting with Apex. USFWS noted, “We request that the DPS consider incorporating measures in the final stipulations which account for the ongoing surveys being completed by Apex, and also the potential for additional surveys, if warranted.”
I presume the Bald Eagle studies referenced by the USFWS are those studies associated with an application by Apex for a Programmatic Take Permit, which amounts to a permit for Apex to Take (Kill) Bald Eagles on Galloo Is-land. In an 8-2-2016 email obtained from a NYSDEC FOIL request, Apex indi-cated that “…they are consulting with USFWSto develop a "take" permit for bald eagle as a parallel process to NYS requirements. Larry Weintraub(NYSDEC General Counsel)indicated that the substance of Article 11 re-quirements will be folded into the Article 10 process.”
We are due explanations by Apex and NYSDEC. Is Apex intending to file for a Take (Kill) Permit? If so, then why was it not mentioned in Apex’s PIP, PSS or Final Stipulations? Why the covert studies? Why did Apex decide to keep a Bald Eagle survey of Galloo a secret? Was the idea fostered by NYSDEC to quietly issue a Take (Kill) Permit folded into the Article 10 process, an obfuscation with the hope that no one would know and thereby no one would complain? Again, the parties and public are due explanations by both Apex and NYSDEC.
Finally, if Apex chooses to ignore the reasonable and responsible recommen-dations by USFWS, then the Siting Board should deem Apex’s application in-complete.
Clifford P. Schneider
Wellesley Island, NY 13640