Group drops wind suitBy Patricia Breakey
Delhi News Bureau
The Western Catskill Preservation Alliance has withdrawn a lawsuit filed against the town of Stamford and Invenergy because the delay of the judge's decision allowed Invenergy time to file an application.
"The Article 78 is being withdrawn because it is in the very best interest of the people of Stamford," Ron Karam, WCPA president, said Monday.
Karam said winning the lawsuit would have left the town with no governing wind law and no basis to challenge the location of the 10 turbines proposed in Stamford.
Other turbines have been proposed for the town of Roxbury, where Invenergy in 2003 installed a temporary tower to test wind speed.
The Stamford Town Board voted at their meeting Wednesday to agree to the withdrawal of the lawsuit, Karam said.
"Moresville Energy LLC is pleased to learn that the WCPA has withdrawn their Article 78 lawsuit against the town of Stamford and Invenergy LLC," David Groberg, Moresville Energy vice president, said Monday. "This action seems to indicate that the WCPA has finally conceded what most people believed all along _ that the Article 78 lawsuit was a waste of taxpayer time and money."
Moresville is a subsidiary of Invenergy.
"Hopefully, the Roxbury Planning Board will be accepting the (Draft Environmental Impact Statement) this week, and we can move to the public participation component of the (State Environmental Quality Review) process," Groberg said.
The Article 78 lawsuit was filed June 16 in Chenango County, and a decision had been expected by September. Karam said he did not know why the decision had been delayed.
"The original intent of the lawsuit was to challenge the process in which the town developed the local wind-turbine law and to overturn the ordinance," Karam said. "If we were successful in overturning the law, our goal was to work with the town to put into place a stricter ordinance with scientifically based setback requirements that would better protect the landowners.
"As it turned out, with the elapsed time, Invenergy submitted its application before the court's ruling and made the mistake of filing an application in which it ignored the setback requirements," Karam said.
Groberg said, "Obviously, we disagree with the WCPA's ongoing characterization of our setback discussions and negotiations with private landowners."
Groberg said the proposed Moresville project would provide the following benefits: the sale of clean energy to the Delaware County Electric Cooperative; $16 million in local tax revenue; $12 million in payments to local landowners; and $4 million in local salaries.
Also, Groberg said, the project would include a conservation trust with the Roxbury Association for Environmental Preservation, which last year agreed not to oppose the wind-turbine project.
Stamford Supervisor Michael Triolo could not be reached by phone for comment Monday.
Patricia Breakey can be reached at 746-2894 or at [email protected].