The Town Crier

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The following is a transcript of a discussion that occurred between Oswego County Legislator Shawn Doyle and New York State Assemblymembers Kevin Cahill and Addie Russell during a recent Article X symposium at Jefferson County Community College. I transcribed it from the Steve Weed Productions video:

Oswego Legislator Shawn Doyle:  First, I want to thank everyone for putting this together and particularly Ms. Russell for your vote (Opposing Article X) and for your advocacy on home rule. I think that we are at a little bit of a comfort zone right now with the lull in need. And, that is perhaps why you are a little more optimistic Assemblywoman Russell, that we're safe right now with this Article X overseeing industrial wind we have proposed here.  I was, with a lot of people in this room, very happy that the fight against the massive Great Lake Wind initiative that the late chairman of the Power Authority pushed. And, I wonder, I guess my main question would be, "What effect did the opposition that was locally engineered by so many people in this room to get county by county to oppose the Great Lake initiative, town by town to oppose it?"

Oswego County Legislator Shawn Doyle
make reference to the New York State
towns and counties who succeeded in
killing former NYPA Chair Richard
Kessell's attempt to turn Eastern
Lake Ontario into a giant wind factory.
It seemed like Article X came in as we were really succeeding in killing it to say like, there were people who were looking at this opposition that went from one end of the Lake to the other, saying maybe we need to put the state in charge and re-affirm that the state is in charge. So, I'm wondering. Down the road, we don't have the comfort zone, and low need, if the substantial state interest in over-ruling home rule going to be, "we're going to need the power and the state now has the tools to say we're going to do it and it doesn't matter what Oswego and Jefferson or any other county says against something." You guys now have the power to do it. Especially if we are below the generating threshold. 

Assemblymember Kevin Cahill:  That has been the case in the history of the State of New York with future legislatures. What future decision makers do in response to that new environment will be up to them and not us. But, it has been the case where there has been an overriding interest and the state does step in and assert its authority to override local rule consideration. However, that other point that you made is also an important way of protecting state policy. 

Unrelated to the subject of wind, except for the wind that comes out of every mouth when you smoke a cigarette, our indoor smoking laws came from the fact that our local counties around the state had passed earlier individual bans. And it actually came from the industry, mostly the restaurant industry.  They came to us and said please unify and have one uniform approach to this. So, the local government impact of what happens around the state does have an impact on future legislation. 

Oswego Legislator Shawn Doyle: I hope we will have some discussions on this super highway.

Assemblymember Kevin Cahill:  Highway. Not super highway.

Assemblymember Addie Russell.  Oh yes. Be careful. He's really touchy on the "super".  (audience laughter)