Parts of the state are consumed in debate about whether hydrofracking, a process of extracting natural gas from the ground, is an environmental disaster or an economic Santa Claus, bringing jobs down the Southern Tier's chimney.
Up in the north country, we have our own version of that debate, and it's been going on for years. Is wind power development a good thing for communities up here?
The majority of Cape Vincent voters think not, so they elected a town board that does not support wind-power development. One of the first acts of the new Town Board is to pass a moratorium on wind power development, something the anti-frackers have been clamoring for.
Here's the rub: The state passed a law last year that gives a panel in Albany the decision about whether and where to site wind turbines. There will be local input, but much of the debate may not occur on local planning and town boards.
Here is Jae Lee's story from today.
CAPE VINCENT — The town board will soon propose a six-month moratorium on wind-energy development, halting all activities pertaining to the installation of wind turbines in Cape Vincent while it formulates a new wind zoning law.
Town Supervisor Urban C. Hirschey said the moratorium will be presented to the public via the town website — townofcapevincent.org — within a week and then submitted to Jefferson County's Planning Board for its review.
Upon receiving feedback from the county Planning Board, the Town Council plans to adopt the moratorium following a public hearing at its February meeting, Mr. Hirschey said.
With only one pro-wind member left on the board — Councilman Mickey W. Orvis — the Town Council should be able to pass a moratorium and adopt a stricter wind law without much trouble.
Mr. Hirschey said he is aware that wind-farm developers may work around Cape Vincent's local wind law by simply submitting another application for the state to consider under the state-controlled Article X.
“If they want to stick with us and follow the law, that's fine. If they don't, I guess they have the option of holding out and going with the state and doing it all over again,” Mr. Hirschey said.
There are currently two commercial wind projects proposed in Cape Vincent — the St. Lawrence Wind Farm and the Cape Vincent Wind Farm.