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Lyme has been “ignored,” “marginalized” by state and BP Wind Energy, officials say

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CHAUMONT — Lyme officials said the town has been “ignored” and “marginalized” by both BP Wind Energy, developer of the proposed Cape Vincent Wind Farm, and the state.

Although there will be no wind turbines in the town under the developer’s latest proposal, BP still would need to run a transmission line connecting the wind farm to a substation in Lyme.

But instead of seeking local approval, the wind project manager in October said BP will ask a state siting board to consider the transmission line.

“Now BP and our own state are ignoring the town of Lyme, our comprehensive plan and our zoning law. This is not new, as Lyme has been marginalized in the entire process,” Lyme officials said in a Dec. 14 letter to Public Service Commission Secretary Jaclyn A. Brilling. “Perhaps you don’t care. Perhaps you and the other officials on the siting board are simply doing as BP is, the minimum that is required by law, checking off a box in the steps of a process that ignores the wishes of the residents of a small community.”

The letter was signed by town Supervisor Scott G. Aubertine and council members Donald R. Bourquin, Ann “Boo” Harris, Daniel J. Villa and David A. Henderson.

Supervisor Aubertine had told Richard F. Chandler, director of business development for the Cape Vincent Wind Farm, that Lyme’s zoning law allows for transmission lines, but Mr. Chandler said BP is treating the wind farm and transmission line as one project.

“Although the transmission line will divide our entire town, and Lyme will be surrounded by industrial turbines, there has been little attempt to engage with public officials or our residents,” the officials said. “The town of Lyme will have industrial wind turbines located just off their boundaries which in turn will impact property values.”

Officials also said they fear that BP will attempt to place turbines in Lyme as a possible second phase of the project.

BP’s proposed $300 million wind farm would place 124 turbines in Cape Vincent and is projected to generate up to 285 megawatts of electricity.

The developer is seeking an Article X review for the wind project and transmission line, which would allow a state siting board to overrule what it deems to be unreasonable local laws.

“Please do not override our carefully researched and well-thought-out law that will protect the residents of our community,” the Lyme officials said in their letter.

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