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Copake officials, residents discuss Hecate proposal

Aug 03, 2020 2:15 pm
Nora Mishanec is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media more than 150 people, including Assemblymember Didi Barrett, tuned in July 30, to hear about Hecate Energy’s proposed 500-acre Shepherd’s Run Solar Farm project. The size and scale of the proposal has generated “considerable concerns” from the local community, reflected in the high turnout on the virtual meeting, Town Supervisor Jeanne Mettler said, Barrett said she will support the town. “Whatever we can do, we are with you,” she said. Town officials retained Rochester-based environmental lawyer Benjamin Wisniewski in April 2020, to better understand and respond to Hecate’s proposed 110,000 megawatt solar project. Wisniewski provided an overview of the solar siting process, pointing out that the town is at the beginning of long and complicated process. The Shepherd’s Run Solar Farm proposal remains in the preliminary scoping phase, one of several stages Hecate must complete before submitting its application to the state. The preliminary scoping phase can last up to year and includes ample opportunity for public participation, Wisniewski said. Copake Deputy Supervisor Richard Wolf, who is serving as the project liaison, decried the lack of local input on the project so far. He said many residents had not received invitations from Hecate to participate in virtual forums that were held instead of public meetings in light of the ban on in-person gatherings. Wolf said many residents are not opposed to renewable energy, but are worried the project will lead to compromised pastoral views and decreased property values. Hecate Project Developer Alex Campbell was on the virtual meeting, but did not speak. He later praised Wisniewski’s presentation, but said it glossed over many of the project’s positives. “This project will bring in millions of dollars to the community and the county,” Campbell said. “There are not a lot of other projects that offer tax revenue without requiring public infrastructure or water resources.” Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.
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