Judge Hears Wind Developers Lawsuit Against Cortland County
The developers of a proposed industrial wind farm here in Cortland County appeared in State Supreme Court Wednesday in connection with their lawsuit against the county over the release of a draft environmental review document for public comment.
The developer T-C-I Renewables is suing the County asking that the courts force the County legislature to deem a draft environmental document is adequate and release it to the public in order to keep the environmental review process for the project moving forward.
In Court yesterday T-C-I Attorney Kevin Bernstein said the County has ignored the purpose of the draft environmental report, he argued that unless the court acts and forces the release of the document the project will be irreparable harmed and will likely be finished because it cannot meet required regulatory milestones.
In October the legislature voted that the projects 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.
The County agreed to bring in engineers to discuss the projects potential impacts on the communications system, since then T-C-I filed their lawsuit and the County has canceled the meeting.
T-C-I is under a strict deadline with federal energy regulators and have already asked for an extension in order to get the draft document released.
Bernstein argues that the County’s hired engineers and the companies’ engineers have both deemed the document contains enough information to be deemed adequate for public review. Bernstein says the County is violating the intent of the State environmental quality review act by demanding excessive levels of detail at this stage of the review process.
Attorney Patrick Snyder argued on behalf of the County saying the County is well within its rights under the S-E-Q-R review process and has attempted to accommodate T-C-I to resolve the outstanding issues in the draft review.
Supreme Court Justice Phillip Rumsey questioned how the court could force the release of the report when it appears the county is within its rights under the seqr process.
Rumsey did not issue a ruling.