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Cape officials: wind contract holders’ comments should be separated

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CAPE VINCENT — Town officials have filed yet another formal complaint to the state Public Service Commission, this time calling attention to BP Wind Energy’s “cooperation clauses” in Cape Vincent Wind Farm land leases and good-neighbor agreements.

In a recent letter to the PSC, Town Council members argue that many “pro-project comments” submitted by the public to PSC’s website were made by leaseholders.

“The town of Cape Vincent is uncertain how these endorsements and support of BP’s project will be used and how these comments might influence the siting board’s eventual decision. Our concern lies with the relationship between BP and a number of those people posting comments who support the Cape Vincent Wind Farm project,” they wrote.

Town board members further request that comments submitted to the PSC by BP contract holders be identified separately because the agreements they signed require them to “fully cooperate” in the permitting and government approval of the wind farm.

“None of the other stakeholders or interested members of the general public whose comments we have examined on the PSC’s website have similar contractual constraints. These arrangements clearly influence the public dialog,” they said. “We believe payments to leaseholders and BP’s contract language requiring cooperation should at the very least separate and identify these project supporters from the remaining general public.”

Officials also criticized BP for failing to provide monthly reports identifying public involvement activities, which it had promised to post online on its Cape Vincent Wind Farm website.

BP’s “monthly public involvement tracking report” Web page reads simply, “Watch this space for a summary of past outreach events.”

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