Articles filed under Legal from New York
the lawsuit is being welcomed by some state lawmakers who argue the rapid review process curbs the ability of the state Department of Environmental Conservation to fully review energy projects and threatens farmland and the natural habitat of endangered species of wildlife. “It is the ultimate irony that in their rush to ‘save the environment,’ ORES and the Cuomo administration are violating a state law that is the cornerstone of New York’s environmental protection efforts," said state Sen. George Borrello, R-Chautauqua County. "That contradiction speaks volumes about the true motives behind this so-called ‘green energy’ agenda."
Led in part by Columbia County town officials, a group of municipalities and local environmental organizations are suing the Cuomo administration over what they say is the loss of their constitutional home rule rights by giving a special state panel - not localities - the power to approve large solar and wind farms.
In a lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court in Albany on Tuesday, the American Bird Conservancy and 12 other entities filed suit against New York state and its Office of Renewable Energy Siting, among others, charging they failed to comply with the state Environmental Quality Review Act in devising new siting regulations for green-energy projects through the state's Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act. The groups, in a statement, accused the agency and the state of taking "critical shortcuts" in the environmental and public review process for recently approved and sited projects.
Today, local governments, community organizations and conservation and public interest groups across New York State are set to file a lawsuit against the New York State Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES) asserting a violation of New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). The lawsuit seeks to overturn regulations setting standard uniform conditions applicable to all renewable energy projects in the state. The coalition of plaintiffs alleges ORES failed to acknowledge that its regulations for siting power plants could result in even one significant adverse environmental impact, and as a result failed to prepare and environmental impact statement.
The proceeding contends the town rushed the process through without the proper review and did so in part to thwart the residents’ efforts to incorporate the hamlet as a village. It also says the developer "purchased the town’s compliance," referring to a $28.9 million community benefits package offered by the developers as part of the deal.
Gary Abraham, attorney for the Coalition of Concerned Citizens (CCC), and Zoghlin Group of Rochester, representing the Town of Farmersville, both filed lawsuits against the Siting Board and Alle-Catt Wind Energy LLC, a subsidiary of Invenergy, with the Fourth Department of the Supreme Court’s Appellate Division in Rochester.
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."