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Cape Vincent Planning Board gives BP an ultimatum


CAPE VINCENT — BP’s local wind application lives — for now.

Cape Vincent’s Planning Board on Wednesday night issued an ultimatum to the developer of the proposed Cape Vincent Wind Farm, giving the firm until Oct. 3 to submit a “meaningful and comprehensive response” to the town government regarding its latest plans.

If this request is not complied with, said board Chairman Richard H. Macsherry, BP’s application will be declared “incomplete and abandoned.”

On Aug. 1, after adopting changes to its zoning law that added strict restrictions on wind turbines, Cape Vincent’s Town Council unanimously voted to ask the Planning Board to discard BP Wind Energy’s application, citing inactivity and failure to inform the town of its progress.

Mr. Macsherry echoed the council’s concerns at Wednesday’s meeting.

“I consider this a completely new project,” he said, referring to BP’s takeover of another wind project in February and some new developments since then.

Earlier this year, when BP took over Acciona Wind Energy USA’s St. Lawrence Wind Farm project, the company said the new Cape Vincent wind project would produce approximately 200 megawatts of electricity.

But the company has since told the state Public Service Commission that the $300 million Cape Vincent project “can reach upwards of approximately 285 megawatts in size.”

BP also confirmed that it hopes to expedite the approval of its project by submitting an application to a state siting board under Article X of the 2011 Power NY Act.

Article X generally imposes a 12-month deadline for the approval of the construction and operation of major electric-generating facilities of 25 megawatts or higher.

However, the town government has been learning about BP’s latest plans secondhand, as there has been no “formal exchange” with BP since August 2011, Mr. Macsherry said.

“This is what we have had to work with. In my opinion, there has been a lack of due diligence on the part of both applicants and the past Planning Board,” he said.

Mr. Macsherry also expressed his concern over some missing town records.

“Regarding British Petroleum, the Draft Environmental Impact Statement was received by the Planning Board in December of 2007. According to the Planning Board minutes of January 9, 2008, a public hearing was scheduled for the review of BP’s DEIS on January 26, 2008,” he said. “No minutes of such a hearing are to be found at the town offices. The draft EIS must have been accepted but documentation of this is missing.”

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