3/18/12

New York Assemblyman saw a number of examples where town governments were corrupted by wind development.


The following is a transcript of a discussion that occurred between an audience member and Assemblymember Kevin Cahill during a recent Article X symposium at Jefferson County Community College. I transcribed it from the Steve Weed Productions video:

Audience member:  Assemblyman, in your opening remarks you made a reference to problems that were being encountered between the expiration of the predecessor to the current Article X. Could you be more particular or specify what the problems were, that were seen where Article X would be adopted to deal with.

This sign greeted then NYS Attorney General
Andrew Cuomo when he was visiting Watertown, NY,
on a campaign trip.
Assemblymember Kevin Cahill:  Well, from the industry's perspective, it was that they felt that they had to knock on too may doors. And, that they were getting conflicting decisions from those different doors. Even within state agencies. That the public service commission would tell them that they had to do one thing and the DEC would tell them that they had to do something that was in conflict with what they were told to do by the public service commission. 

For example, that is one example of what occurred. What I started to perceive, particularly when it came to wind, was that promoters of wind development across the New York State were town shopping. They were municipality shopping. And we saw a number of examples where town governments, in my view, were corrupted by wind development. (Audience applause.) And, there was no general mechanism to allow the town that was passed over, because they either had stricter regulations or a more honest board, to get back engaged in this process.

And, in my view,  this Article X allows that community to get back into the game to the extent that it continues to affect their communities. So those are some of the problems that I was seeking to address in my advancing of the bill. And what I said, when I looked around at this for the first time back in two thousand six or seven, whenever the beginning was started in the conference committee process, I sat in our conference committee room and I said, "You know, a no bill is good enough for me. That was OK for me."  But, If we are going to have a bill, it better have an opportunity for adequate public
participation. And, I think that is what we accomplished. 

Audience member:  If the idea was to deal with corruption and it  still (?) back to the localities, doesn't it seem like there still should be greater authority to decide in the locality to make the ultimate decision as opposed to the snatching of it from Albany?

Assemblyman Kevin Cahill:  The corruption was existing at the local level. There was no assertion that anybody had given a vested interest to an agency person who was making   a  decision. There was no allegation that there was a (?) involvement in the development of the site. There was no allegation that (?). This goes back to the time that our governor was then the Attorney General and it got so bad that the governor got the wind industry to agree to a voluntary code of ethics that changed a lot of practices (Audience laughter).

7 comments:

RWiley said...

Cape Vincent, NY is still under investigation by the New York State AG for conduct of certain public officials in regards to wind development. Many formal complaints have been made by Cape Vincent citizens. I received an official letter and case number on a complaint I filed. The letter said that these matters take time to fully investigate.

In the meantime, by using the political voting process and majority rule, Cape Vincent, NY has cleaned the government of those wind lease public officials who were in a voting position that would serve their own self interests.

The last election put three wind lease candidates against three non-wind lease candidates and the non-wind lease candidates made a clean sweep.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rick...

Mr Cahill...

Not entirely so that the corruption existed only at a local level. Your one time Senator Darrell Auberine had signed wind leases, was covering up to the news reporters the fact that he was receiving money and how much from the developers and for many years was denying the existence of those contracts. Staff members on many occasions were telling reporters that Aubertine did not have leases. This was recognized by even us in Oswego County.

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of gobbledygook.

Is Cahill serious about this comment: "in my view, were corrupted by wind development. And, there was no general mechanism to allow the town that was passed over, because they either had stricter regulations or a more honest board, to get back engaged in this process."

Holy Crap! Cahill's concern with corruption is that only the bad guys are entitled to "wind goodness." He doesn't seem to give a shit about corrupt officials lining their pockets and making decisions in their self interest rather than the public's interest.

If you believe this nonsense you'd believe that people in communities that got "passed over" were demonstrating in the halls of our Albany legislature. You'd believe they were posting letters to editors and screaming to anyone who would listen, "We want wind and it's unfair that only the corrupt towns get to have wind."

Furthermore, you'd think these towns that got "passed over" would be putting up officials who would promise to be crooked and corrupt just so they could hop on the Big Wind bandwagon.

This is the most ridiculous argument I have heard in six years of having to deal with big wind and corrupted officials in Cape Vincent. Cahill's logic is so twisted and distorted than I'm wondering how he can even function as a representative in Albany.

Anyone who believes this line of bull should have their head examined, including Kevin Cahill.

Anonymous said...

"Furthermore, you'd think these towns that got "passed over" would be putting up officials who would promise to be crooked and corrupt just so they could hop on the Big Wind bandwagon."

The first two rows had voters for wind in them. Was Cahill appeasing them by saying every other town wished they could be corrupt too?

You made a good point anon above.

Anonymous said...

The wind developers paid for lawyers that wrote misleading opinions that made the corrupt Cape officials think that what they were doing was ok. Edsalls false recusals provided a comedic relief for the community as he would get out of his chair and move over ten feet. British petroleum Jim Madden witnessed one such recusal as Edsall got up and moved over closer to him when he was telling Edsall that the more noise Bp makes the more money you make.
CV was certainly up on the top of the list of industrial wind corrupt. Everything done should be thrown out.
Volunteer code, my ass. All they did was get people like Gary King and Karen Stumpf to do their dirty work for them.

Anonymous said...

Rick,

Here is the 2006 letter that Darrel Aubertine sent sanctioning the industrial wind corruption in your town.


June 15, 2006

Cape Vincent Town Board Members
P.O. Box 680
Cape Vincent, NY 13618

Re: Abstaining from Voting on the Location of
wind Turbines in Cape Vincent.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I regret that I was unable to attend the public hearing held on June 3rd. at which time the above referenced subject was discussed and I appreciate the opportunity to share my thought with you now.

Specifically, I would like to comment about the issue of whether a board member should abstain from voting on an issue. As elected representatives, we are responsible to make decisions for the benefit of our constituents and community. This project, which affects thousands of acres and dozens of property owners, has the potential to positively affect every resident. Whether through a reduced property tax rate or new economic opportunities, Messrs. Wood, and (2) Masons (three members with wind contracts) will certainly not be the sole beneficiaries should the project move forward.

While some may feel that these elected officials should abstain from voting on this matter-my belief is that they should not. If they are restrained from voting in this instance, then shouldn't the community decide now what the guiding principle will be for future abstention in different matters and with different representatives? i.e. voting on a tax rate that affects their personal property.

Healthy and positive discourse is mandatory in a democracy; however, governing by referendum is unwise. After careful reflection, I feel that it is ethically proper that in this case all board members should vote on the issue at hand. In fact, I believe it is their responsibility to do so.

Sincerely,
Darrel J. Aubertine.

Anonymous said...

Note: Darrell Aubertine was in the assembly when he wrote that letter and had signed wind leases and was being by a developer.