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Wind Developer Sues Cortland County Demands Release of Environmetal Document
Friday, November 23, 2012
The developers of a proposed industrial wind farm in Cortland County have filed a lawsuit against the County asking that the courts force the County legislature to deem a draft environmental document is adequate and release it to the public for review and comment.
 
That’s according to documents filed in the Cortland County clerk’s office. TCI Renewables the company behind the turbine project filed their lawsuit Wednesday.
 
The suit asks the courts to force the county to show why the draft environmental impact statement is not adequate and why it should not be released as part of the State’s required environmental review process.
 
Last month the legislature voted that the draft impact statement was not adequate and did not address several concerns, among those is the projects potential interference with the County’s new $16 million dollar emergency communications network that is currently under construction.
 
County Legislator Kathie Arnold who has been a vocal critic of the project and the lack of thoroughness and detail in T-C-I’s environmental review said she was surprised to learn that T-C-I is now suing the county.
Arnold says this appears to be and act of desperation on the T-C-I’s behalf.
 
T-C-I has publicly stated that if the County did not approve the impact statement last month, the project was effectively dead because they could not meet regulatory deadlines. However earlier this week it was revealed that the company has asked federal regulators for an extension in order to meet that milestone, which includes releasing the impact statement.
 
Arnold says she doesn’t think they have a leg to stand on; the county is following the state regulations and is diligently working on the project.
 
Legislative Chair Mike Park says he was disappointed in the company and feels they have lost all credibility.
 
Park says he was under the impression T-C-I was going to address the radio project issues and then begin moving on from there.
 
Arnold and others have also raised concerns that T-C-I may be in violation of State code of conduct for wind companies, there are allegations that one of the proposed tower locations is on property owned by a Solon Town Board member which is allegedly in violation of that conduct agreement
 
T-C-I wants to put up nearly 50 500-foot tall wind turbines in the Towns of Homer, Cortlandville, Solon and Truxton. The company says the project represents a $200 million dollar investment in the County and will create over 300 long and short-term jobs. T-C-I also says tax payers will benefit from revenue to the County and Towns.
 
Opponents say the project will negatively impact property values and cite health and wildlife impacts. Other opponents have cited the enormous taxpayer subsidies that this project requires and challenge that it will ever generate the 72 megawatts of electricity that T-C-I claims.
 
The lawsuit will go before State Supreme Court Judge Phillip Rumsey on December 5th.
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