For raw, undisguised political pandering, you’re going to have to search for awhile before you can top the Jefferson County Legislature, which will consider a resolution at its next meeting to oppose the New York Power Authority’s proposal to seek wind developers for offshore locations in a wide strip roughly from the mouth of the St. Lawrence to Mexico Bay.
This is the legislature, led by Ken Blankenbush’s public salivation over a 20-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement, that bent over backwards (some would say they bent the other way) to get the Galloo Island Wind Farm on the way to reality. Apparently that project, which will be visible from shore, will be much prettier than any as yet unproposed projects in the lake – since one of the Legislature’s objections to the NYPA proposal is the aesthetics of the projects and the potential adverse effects on property values.
Wow. Belleville Legislator Barry Ormsby’s absurd contention that the NYPA proposals and Galloo Island are nothing alike aside, both are wind farms out in the lake. That the NYPA plan has towers planted on the state’s lake bottom, while Galloo Island towers will be on ground taxed by the town of Hounsfield and Jefferson County, seems to be the only real distinction between the proposals.
And there is the rub: like just about everyone else who has had cash carried by wind project developers rubbed under their nose, the county Legislature can’t resist the bitter but alluring smell of lucre.
In fact, I’ve got a tip for NYPA chief Richie Kessel: all you’ll have to do to make this opposition melt away is to propose a PILOT payment agreement for any offshore wind farm that is proposed. That will make the project pretty once again – even if it is little more than lipstick on a pig.
The Legislature’s action plays to the group of activists trying to keep wind farms out of the Golden Crescent. Blankenbush, Ormsby and others seem to think those folks will easily distinguish between the Galloo Island project and any other offshore project that comes along. I suspect, however, the folks united to oppose all wind farm development along the stretch from Oswego to Cape Vincent will see the raw hypocrisy of the Legislature’s action, as I suspect everyone else will, too.