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State siting law a form of eminent domain


In 2008, I wrote a letter to the Times on a form of eminent domain by foreign wind companies right here in Jefferson County.

The dictionary defines eminent domain as the inherent power of the state to seize a citizen’s private property without owner’s consent.

“In simple terms that the government can take privately owned land, as long as the land will be used by the public and the owner is paid a fair price for the land, what the amendment calls just.” Used by the public being the key phrase.

A form of eminent domain is happening here in Jefferson County thanks to Article X signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. This law will take away home rule from our towns and give the power to the state to site industrial wind turbines.

After years of concerned local residents fighting off big wind companies’ corruption of our political system, the governor has sided with foreign wind companies and against these very residents of Jefferson County and all of New York.

An overwhelming majority of residents here in the towns of Lyme, Cape Vincent, Clayton and Hammond have come out against 500-foot high industrial wind turbines that would dominate the area for miles around. We now have laws on the books that will protect residents from these huge and noisy wind turbines. The question is will Article X rule over the laws of the towns and take away the people’s rights to their private property? Placing a few hundred huge wind turbines throughout these towns is a foreign wind company’s form of eminent domain.

Wind turbine noise can reach out hundreds of yards from the generator invading the surrounding private property and thus take away from property owners’ use of their own land. Because of the inconsistent nature of wind, a turbine is very inefficient. The Wolfe Island project generates at 17 percent to 24 percent and Maple Ridge is a little higher at 24 percent to 27 percent. This is very poor considering traditional generators generate electricity at 95 percent to 99 percent.

British Petroleum has a very poor record as a good custodian of our land and a very high record of fines levied because of its business practices. Wind energy has failed in Europe, added to its economic downfall and helped produce unemployment rates above 20 percent.

Let the secretary to the siting board in Albany know you want to save our bays, lakes and river from these huge wind turbines. Contact Hon. Jaclyn A. Billing, secretary of the state Public Service Commission, at

Steve Rutigliano

Three Mile Bay

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