We may understand why a Roxbury anti-wind-power group agreed to sell its opposition, but we believe it’s too early in the struggle in Delaware County for either side to be giving up without a fight.
The Roxbury Association for Environmental Preservation said last week that it agreed to not oppose plans by Invenergy to site 34 turbines along the six-mile Moresville Range between Stamford and Grand Gorge.
Why? Because the group struck a deal with Invenergy whereby it would give up its opposition in exchange for money, though the parties involved prefer to call the payoff the “development of a conservation trust.” The crux of the deal is that the wind firm will give RAEP money to drop its opposition to the Moresville project and RAEP will use the money to buy up land on a different range to prevent wind-power development.
Wind power has been an increasingly controversial issue in Delaware County, as several towns have passed wind-power moratoriums to give themselves time to investigate the issue and draft laws to regulate them.
Some residents believe large industrial turbines will mar the landscape and reduce their quality of life. Others think that wind is a clean, renewable energy source and they should be permitted to lease their land for windmills.
In Stamford, a moratorium on wind-turbine construction, enacted to give officials time to study the issue, expired last month. The ordinance being considered by the town would impose limits on windmill numbers, height, noise levels, setbacks and other restrictions.
Invenergy officials say their proposal is for a “moderate-size” wind farm that would generate enough electricity to power 45,000 “typical” New York state homes.
So, with one of the two groups opposed to the Invenergy project unexpectedly dropping out of the fight, it is easy to predict the response of the remaining foe.
“I’m outraged that they would sell us out like this,” said Carol Mangan, a spokeswoman for that other citizens’ group, the Western Catskills Preservation Alliance. The WCPA continues to oppose the wind farm’s development, she said.
It is obvious that RAEP considered its main battlefield elsewhere and was willing to give up the Moresville fight in exchange for a good chance of winning the bout where it counts. In other words, RAEP turned into a real NIMBY.
But no battles have been lost yet. Why sell out now, before swords have even been drawn?
We, too, are sympathetic to wind power as a clean, alternative energy. But we are also supportive of communities doing what most of their residents want.
We’re sorry to see that one community group was willing to take a payoff to silence its voice.
2 March 2007
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