9:00am

Fri December 7, 2012
Regional Coverage

BP Article X session in Cape Vincent explains controversial new process for power projects

BP held a presentation last night in Cape Vincent on the Article X process for siting power projects under New York state law. It was another contentious encounter between local anti-wind power activists and BP representatives over the proposed Cape Vincent Wind Farm.

The session was an early step in the Article X process. That new process created by the state can ultimately circumvent local zoning regulations to site power projects.

Richard Chandler is project manager of the Cape Vincent Wind Farm for BP.

"This is a new process, and it can be complex at times, so I think this is a really good way to kind of provide a synopsis of what the process is," he said.

Many residents are frustrated, saying BP has not heard their concerns about the project so far. Last night they asked specific questions about the wind farm's footprint and other issues, many of which the attorney giving the presentation couldn't immediately answer.

A wind power project would bring money to the municipality, but many locals say it would destroy the town's scenic, rural character.

Clif Schneider, a town councilman for Cape Vincent, cut to the heart of the conflict.

"They've already come out and said in effect that our local laws would kill any project plans that they have," Schneider said. "So that's really the crux of this whole project and everything else, is are they going to be successful in casting aside our local laws, or are we going to be successful in defending them?"

Schneider invited BP to meet with the Town Council about the local zoning law, which was recently rewritten to strictly regulate wind power development. BP's attorney accepted.

BP plans to hold another session next month. That meeting will address funding the company must by law provide for local officials to hire attorneys and experts as the Article X process moves forward.