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Activist urges Cuomo to fill vacancy on wind power siting board

SOMERSET – The president of Save Ontario Shores, a citizen group opposing the construction of a large wind power project in Somerset and Yates, on Wednesday released a letter she wrote to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, urging him to fill a vacant seat on the siting board which will consider whether to approve the project.

Pamela R. Atwater, whose husband, Randall B. Atwater, was appointed to the board by the State Senate, wrote in the letter that the Assembly has not made a choice for the board, as the law governing the siting process directs. In that case, the law gives Cuomo 45 days to make a choice.

The letter complained that the wind power procedure in Article 10 of the Public Service Law already stacks the deck against opponents, since five of the seven board members are state agency officials. Proceeding with a vacant seat “would be unfair, a further insult to the concept of home rule and would send a signal that the entire Article 10 process is preconfigured to ignore legitimate local and regional concerns,” the letter said.

Apex Clean Energy, a Virginia company, is proposing to build as many as 70 wind turbines, each as much as 620 feet tall counting the propeller blades, on land it is leasing from property owners in the two towns on the Lake Ontario shore. The towns are officially opposed to the project, and the Niagara, Orleans and Erie county legislatures also have passed resolutions against the plan, called Lighthouse Wind.