Hecate nixes plan for Copake open houses
Jun 22, 2020 1:30 pm
Diane Walden is reporting for The Columbia Paper Hecate Energy has announced it will not conduct in-person open houses to gather public comment or to answer questions before it files with the state details of its industrial-sized solar energy facility to be located in Craryville. Copake Deputy Supervisor Richard Wolf said June 11, the Chicago-based energy company told the state it would hold two open house meetings to answer questions from Copake residents and address their concerns about the project. Hecate intends to locate a 60-megawatt solar facility with 200,000 solar panels on 500 acres within a 900-acre area near the intersection of State Route 23 and County Route 7, primarily south of Route 23 in the Copake hamlet of Craryville. Hecate Energy Project Developer Alex Campbell this week said, “Considering the current restrictions on public gatherings resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the health and safety of potential attendees, it is not possible or prudent to hold the in-person open houses that Hecate originally planned.” Hecate chose an alternative approach to gathering feedback from the public, which has been to mail a postcard to those who live or own property within 2.5 miles of the project area boundary, including people in Copake, Hillsdale, Taghkanic and Claverack. The company also ran newspaper ads in The Columbia Paper and other publications. Notwithstanding those efforts, Wolf said without public input, the document that Hecate must file "...will lack the very information its Public Involvement Program plan was designed to obtain to help inform the scoping statement.” Wolf went on to say the company should not be allowed to use the pandemic as an excuse to disregard the public participation requirements of Article 10. "Hecate should wait until gathering restrictions are eased and Copake residents are able to safely meet with Hecate at in-person open houses... What is the rush?” Wolf said. Read the full story in The Columbia Paper.