Patience, education key to understanding project
I think there’s some confusion about the permitting process for wind farms in New York. The multiyear process is very complex, but understanding it can dispel a lot of myths.
Right now, Lighthouse Wind is in the pre-application stage. The company behind the proposed project, Apex Clean Energy, is in the second year of all sorts of studies that look at how a wind farm may impact different species and the surrounding environment. The studies are still going on, but when they’re completed, everyone can see the results in its final application.
Study results and thorough investigations take time and help project developers decide exactly what size turbines and turbine locations would mitigate any impacts to the area. Until those studies are finished, Lighthouse can’t define the specifics of the wind farm. The company isn’t being secretive. It’s just making sure it does meticulous research before making those comprehensive decisions.
The Article 10 permitting process also lays out strict requirements for public involvement throughout the entire application process. Lighthouse Wind had to submit a lengthy public involvement plan to show how it has and will continue to educate the public and get input. People can give feedback both before and after the application is submitted. Then, of course, there’s the public hearing. On top of that, there are Siting Board members from the locality who represent their constituents in the decision-making process. Siting Board members for this project are Cathy Orr for the Town of Somerset and Russ Martino for the Town of Yates.
I think the biggest takeaway here is the value of patience and education. We must be patient for the studies to complete, rather than throwing out accusations of secrecy. We must educate ourselves on the Article 10 process. After all, it was the state that enacted the new permitting process, not Lighthouse Wind. Finally, we must educate ourselves on the project as that information becomes available.