STATUS: In progress, with opposition
OPPOSITION: Local residents
PROSPECTS: Prolonged Delay
BACKGROUND: Eco-Gen proposed to build a wind farm of 34 turbines in the towns of Prattsburgh and Italy. In March 2009, Prattsburgh Town Code Enforcement Officer Les Babcock sent a response to EcoGen’s application for building permits stating “There are no town laws or ordinances which prevent EcoGen from proceeding with construction.” The letter was sent a week after board members declined to take any action on EcoGen’s appliation. Days later board members hired environmental lawyer Gary Abraham as their special wind counsel and agreed to draft a six-month moratorium.
The towns of Prattsburgh and Italy have been defending lawsuits brought by Ecogen, since November 2009 and January 2010, respectively. Ecogen claims it should be allowed to proceed immediately with plans to set up 16 turbines in Prattsburgh, with a substation and 17 turbines planned for Italy. Ecogen alleges the town of Italy had no legal right to deny them building permits last fall. The issue with Prattsburgh stems from a town election last year, during which two pro-wind Prattsburgh board members were defeated in their bid for re-election in November 2009. Ecogen filed a lawsuit against the town, insisting all details be cleared up before the end of the year. The lame-duck board swiftly reached a 3-2 agreement with Ecogen in December 2009, which was rescinded by the new town board in January 2010. Ecogen then filed its second lawsuit, charging the new town board did not have the authority to overturn the December 2009 action. The board opted to fight the lawsuit, saying the earlier agreement violated a number of laws, including home rule.
In November 2010, Prattsburgh Town Supervisor Al Wordingham said Pattern Energy, parent company of Ecogen, will meet with representatives from the two towns in an attempt to reach an agreement. Both towns have told the judge that they would support alternate sites originally proposed by Ecogen. In a October 13, 2010 response, Ecogen maintained the Prattsburgh agreement in December is binding and any compromise would kill the project.
SOURCES: The Leader: http://www.the-leader.com/news/x599197050/Prattsburgh-wind-farm-OK-d-for-now;
Steuben Courier: http://www.steubencourier.com/news_now/x35352765/Prattsburgh-Highway-Shop-Picks-Teamsters-Continues-Wind-Farm-Ban;
National Wind Watch: http://www.wind-watch.org/news/2010/09/27/prattsburgh-able-to-pay-its-legal-bills/;
Last updated November 22, 2010