Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Cape Vincent gets update on long contested wind farm project

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Cape Vincent gets update on long contested wind farm project
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Wind turbines are something many Cape Vincent residents and officials don't want to see in their town. As YNN's Elizabeth Jeneault reports, many hope a proposed wind farm is not approved.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, N.Y. -- British Petroleum's proposed wind farm project has been stagnant. That's because representatives from the company say it may sell its wind power division. But in the process, Cape Vincent has been left in limbo.

"We need to bring some conclusion to whether or not this project is going to move forward because it really has a negative impact on the community because people don't know whether they can develop their land or what is going to be happening with the future of the community," said John Byrne, a Cape Vincent Board Member.

Officials and residents hoped to figure out that future at Monday night's meeting. BP filed last fall for a new state process that could overrule the town's local land use laws. However, because the company may sell, the application hasn't been worked on, leaving land owners stuck in the middle.

"They haven't had the ability to do with their land what they'd like to do because it's under contract with the wind developers," said Byrne.

The proposed project has truly divided the community through the years, as some believe landowners in the area should have never leased their land to BP.

"It's going to ruin our view shed for 40 years or 20 years, whatever the life of the project is. It's going to have a lot of harm on wildlife," said Mary Donahue, a Depauville resident.

Although some locals are clearly opposed to the project, a local resident who didn't wish to be identified said he leased his land to BP several years ago and says he wishes the town board would just stop fighting the company. That's because he believes the wind farm could potentially bring him in a bunch more money. Either way, neither side wants to wait any longer.

"I think it's time for the community to move on whether the project is going to happen or not," said Byrne.

Although an exact end isn't in sight, BP's continued inactivity will eventually force the state to address the project's timeline. If BP doesn't do anything with the application by March, the state examiners say they'll have to look into closing the process.

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