A ruling by Acting State Supreme Court Judge Terrence Parker, received over the weekend, could mean some big changes in the proposed Alle-Catt Wind Farm project.
Parker, acting state Supreme Court judge for Cattaraugus County, ruled against an Article 78 proceeding brought by Alle-Catt lawyers seeking intervener status in a now-discontinued lawsuit against the Freedom Town Board.
The previous Freedom board did not vote to authorize former town attorney James McAuley to appeal Parker’s earlier ruling that the 2018 Freedom Wind Law had not been lawfully approved. Supervisor Randy Lester, a pro-wind supporter of Alle-Catt, said he paid for McAuley to pursue the appeal.
The Supreme Court’s Fourth Department Appellate Court denied the appeal on Jan 13. Parker wrote: “Based on the Fourth Department dismissal of the appeal and dismissal of ACWE’s motion to intervene, the Court declines to grant the Order to Show Cause seeking intervention.”
The voiding of the 2018 Freedom Wind Law leaves the town with a 2007 local law that has a 450-foot height limit for turbines. Invenergy had requested the town rewrite its wind law to reflect its need for 600-foot industrial turbines.
The November election flipped both the Freedom and Farmersville town boards from pro-wind to anti-wind. Both town boards promptly voted to void the existing laws that would allow the giant industrial turbines and introduced new laws they deem more protective, with greater setbacks from residences — 3,000 feet.
Environmental attorney Gary Abraham, representing Freedom United, said the Freedom board filed a “stipulation of discontinuance” to withdraw the previous town board’s motion to reconsider his initial Oct. 21 decision.
“Since Alle-Catt cannot be a party, based on the new order, and the existing parties have settled the case, the order closes this matter once and for all,” Abraham explained.
Abraham predicted the judge’s decision “will have serious effects on the Alle-Catt project proposal.”
While most of the electrical connections for the 117-turbine Alle-Catt Wind Farm passing through Freedom for interconnection points near Arcade, the town’s 2007 law won’t permit the 24 turbines proposed by Invenergy, Abraham said.
“Therefore,” he said, “the interconnection lines will also need to be rerouted through other towns.”
Invenergy spokesman Eric Miller didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the impact of the court ruling on the 340-megawatt wind project.