Appeals Court Denies Wind Project Opponents in First Test of Siting Board’s Article 10 Authority

Posted on October 29, 2021

The Appellate Division, Third Department, issued a decision yesterday dismissing a challenge to the state Siting Board’s decision to granting a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need to the Bluestone Wind Project. The Court held that the Board acted properly in rejecting a local law enacted after the close of the evidentiary hearing record.

The local law became effective the same day the Board met to make its decision on the renewable energy facility’s application and well after the evidentiary record had closed. The Court determined that no extraordinary circumstances exist that would warrant extending the date to close the record, particularly because the town actively participated in siting process but did not introduce its local law until the process was over or otherwise advocate for either inclusion of the law in the record or an extension of the proceeding.

The Court also rejected the petitioner’s arguments that parts of the application were unsubstantiated and that the public involvement process was inadequate, holding that Bluestone met its burdens to protect the environment and that “the record is replete with documentation and other evidence that speaks to public involvement.” The decision received unanimous support from the full panel of judges. The Bluestone Wind project to construct roughly 40 wind turbines is expected to generate approximately 125 megawatts of clean energy annually and is currently under construction slated to reach commercial operation in 2022.

Young Sommer attorneys Jim Muscato and Jessica Klami assisted Bluestone Wind throughout the Article 10 siting process from the initial stages of project development in 2015 to the recently filed compliance filings to commence construction of the Project, and William Hurst and Jim Muscato provided argument and briefing to the Court.