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Cape Vincent’s meeting with BP Wind Energy will be open to public

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CAPE VINCENT — BP Wind Energy’s meeting with town officials regarding the proposed Cape Vincent Wind Farm will be open to the public.

Councilman John L. Byrne said the Town Council will have a quorum at the meeting with BP — set for 6 p.m. Oct. 23 at Recreation Park on James Street — which would give the public the right to attend under state law.

According to the state open meetings law, “every meeting of a public body shall be open to the general public,” with the exception of executive sessions. The law also states that while members of the public have a right to attend and record such meetings, it does not mean they may participate in the deliberations.

Cape Vincent Planning Board members as well as members of Lyme’s Town Council and Planning Board will be at the meeting to ask Richard F. Chandler, director of business development for the Cape Vincent Wind Farm, about BP’s latest plans for its wind farm.

Over the past few months, town officials have repeatedly criticized BP for what they consider a lack of communication. They have demanded that BP Wind Energy share its latest plans with them and update, amend or abandon its local application for the proposed $300 million project.

While BP has confirmed that it would seek a state review under Article X of the 2011 Power NY Act, it never made clear whether it wanted its local application submitted to the Cape Vincent Planning Board terminated.

Article X expedites the siting process for large energy projects by imposing a 12-month deadline for the approval of the construction and operation of electric-generating facilities of 25 megawatts or higher, and hands control of the review over to the state.

On Sept. 17, BP submitted its Public Information Plan for community outreach to the state energy siting board, which is the first step in the process.

The wind project promises to generate up to 285 megawatts of electricity and bring millions of dollars of new revenue into the region — through payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements and land leases with Cape Vincent farmers — but opponents argue that industrial wind turbines will be detrimental to the quiet town known for its natural beauty and fear they would drive down property values.

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