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April 17, 2013

 

TCI fine draws Solon concern

By CATHERINE WILDE
Staff Reporter
cwilde@cortlandstandard.net

Following the $25,000 fine on TCI Renewables by the state Attorney General’s Office, one Solon Town Board member wants the town to halt consideration of the wind farm, while Town Supervisor Joe Wafner still wants the process to play out.
Solon Town Councilman Steve Furlin announced at a meeting Monday that he wants nothing to do with the project.
Furlin vehemently voiced his opposition to the project, saying that given the fine he could not support the project.
The United Kingdom-based firm plans to build 17 turbines in Solon, 11 in Truxton, and eight each in Cortlandville and Homer by 2016. Earlier this month TCI was fined by the Attorney General’s Office for violating its code of conduct by not properly disclosing plans to build a turbine on Solon Concilman Gerald Craig’s property.
His property was included in maps the company submitted and TCI later said it was an oversight on its part.
Furlin and Councilman Robert Hotaling Jr. said they are concerned with doing business with a company that violated its code of conduct.
“I don’t think the town should enter an agreement with a company that would break the rules,” said Furlin.
Craig, meanwhile, was pushed by residents to recuse himself from all matters involving the wind farm and he said he would.
“I won’t be voting or participating on any of the windmill stuff,” Craig said Tuesday.
Craig was reluctant to speak on the topic, saying he was advised by the state Attorney General’s Office that he should not comment on any matter involving TCI.
“They said it was an investigation and it was up to them to investigate it,” Craig said.
Craig is not accused of any wrongdoing.
According to the code of conduct, the names of all municipal officers and their relatives who have a financial stake in the property must be disclosed on the wind company’s website, in writing to the municipal clerk and in the local newspaper.
But last year the firm included Craig’s property in a draft map outlining wind turbine placements without these notifications and despite the fact Craig claims to have told the firm he had no intention of participating in the project.
Wafner, however, says he does not want to cease participation in the project. He supports alternative energy and wants to get public input on the project.
A public hearing on the project in Solon is set for June 11.
The future of the project is unknown since last year TCI was removed from the state interconnection queue, which would have allowed it to connect to the power grid.
The project’s draft environmental impact statement was released for public review April 8, starting a 105-day comment period.
Wafner said he looks forward to public input and wants to learn more about the project to find out if it is “good for the town or not.”

 

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