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Copake's battle with Hecate may go to the courts

Jun 13, 2021 5:45 am

Natasha Vaughn is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media the town of Copake is considering legal action against the Office of Renewable Energy Siting over the agency's use of regulations that violate state law related to the proposed Shepherd’s Run solar project. The town board unanimously approved a resolution June 10, which would allow the town to sue the Siting Office. “In light of Hecate’s intention to seek a permit from the Office of Renewable Energy Siting, the town board should be aware that the ORES process is currently using regulations that I believe are flawed, and that could violate numerous previsions of state law,” said attorney Benjamin E. Wisniewski, who represents the town on all matters related to Shepherd's Run. Wisniewski advised the town board to authorize the law firm to investigate and commence litigation. “We’re certainly not breaking the law,” said Hecate Project Developer Alex Campbell. “We received a request from the town to submit the entire application to them for the pre-application meeting, before it’s ready. That’s impossible,...It’s a way to stall the project.” Campbell said a letter is going to town officials next week, providing a presentation on the things that are not yet completed, but requested, and to provide a status report on those items. But Deputy Town Supervisor Richard Wolf said Copake residents have reported receiving the company's notice of intent to file an application for the industrial-sized power plant with ORES on or about July 15, and regulations require that two meetings take place at least 60 days before the filing. The company must outline for Town Supervisor Jeanne Mettler a description of the facility and the environment into which it would be constructed, provide a detailed map showing where each of the power plant components would be placed, summarize Copake’s laws governing the construction, operation maintenance and decommissioning of the proposed power plant, and much more, Wolf said. July 15 is only 35 days away and neither of the two mandated meetings, one with the supervisor and the other with the public, have occurred, he said. “If Hecate goes ahead and attempts to file an application without the two mandated meetings, it’s the town’s position that by its own regulation, ORES may not accept the application,” Wolf said. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.