The 1/19/07 Public Hearing on the SDEIS Phase I and the DEIS Phase II of the UPC project was clear evidence why Cohocton has been in systemic decay for decades. The Cohocton Planning Board has demonstrated that it is but a rubber stamp for the UPC developer. Allowing a UPC “dog and pony show” to take up the limited time for citizen comments during a public hearing is unconscionable. Any reasonable person knows that if there really are two separate projects, two distinct and independent public hearings would be appropriate.
The factual, scientific, rational and common sense arguments against the ill sited industrial wind project were not refuted. The best the Old Regime could muster is a demand that the opponents of UPC should move out of town. This typifies the core issue why Cohocton has been a failed community. Bully and drive out the well-informed, prosperous and experienced so that certain families can maintain their blood line strangle hold on Cohocton. Just how well have they done in the past and how are they doing now?
The greed of the UPC leaseholder is on a scale only surpassed by their gullibility for buying into a golden goose fairy tale. Do you really think you are going to see turbine construction this year! Will you be planting this spring or when will you receive those UPC lease payments that were promised? The clipper turbines aren’t even being manufactured yet and Clipper has a five year contract that covers all maintenance. How many Cohocton workers will be employed by the manufacturer?
By now all residents should understand that there will be no free or reduced electric bills coming from a UPC project. Check you bill, NYSEC is now charging you to subsidize the wind developers (the RPS monthly charge on your bill). So why approve this interdependent project? To benefit the financial interests of growers who no longer want to farm? Or for officials who seem interested in only one particular enterprise?
The Town Board approved a bond of $50,000 to borrow money for anticipated legal actions. Why not just comply with SEQR and observe state regulations by providing set backs that will protect public safety? If a project was designed and incorporated these safeguards, you would not need local taxpayers to bear the burden of that Albany law firm.
Fear is a typical tactic used to silence good citizens who are apathetic or accustomed to allowing a select few to run the town. Their time has passed and a new dawn is on the horizon. What is at stake is not just the siting of industrial wind turbines but the sacred principle of democratic participation in crucial community decisions. No longer will their political corruption be subjected upon the majority of property owners. The Town of Cohocton needs a real choice and it will have one in the next election.
The chairman of the Cohocton Planning Board has admitted when challenged that he is “just doing what he is told!” That mindset is unacceptable. The ethical course is to fulfill their sworn duties in a fair, rational and objective manner. That means obeying NYS codes and dismissing legal counsel that perverts the basic protections provided within the law. Any member of government that is unable or unwilling to adhere to this standard does not deserve community support and should resign.
Those of moral character know in their heart that the UPC project will not bring prosperity to our town. At its core – it has always been a bad business deal. New leadership, balanced benefits, hard work and practical business initiatives that create a genuine future for our children and grandchildren should be the proper goal for everyone. The voice of opportunity cries out, oppose the wicked ways of the Town Board or be resigned to a life of servitude in a UPC company town.
by James Hall
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