Hamlin’s Wind Tower Committee has undergone more changes in leadership. The original committee, formed to discuss and research the feasibility of wind towers in the town, was chaired by Art McFarlane. He resigned in March and committee member Mark Reeves was appointed. Reeves stepped down from the leadership role in early April to be replaced by Linda DeRue.
Town Supervisor Dennis Roach said, “The leadership roles were changed because the committee felt they weren’t making the progress they wanted to. The committee felt they needed some new direction in order to keep moving forward.”
The committee is now comprised of: Jerry Borkholder, Linda DeRue, Ed Evans, Edward Haight, Tom Jensen, David Lukas, Mark Reeves, Andrew Simpson and Lester Wilson.
When asked whether DeRue was pro or con on the wind tower issue, Roach said DeRue’s application for the committee noted that she was “open-minded on the issue and wanted to make a determination based on the information received.”
Roach said the changes going on in the committee are products of the group feeling its way thorough the process. “What you see on the surface is the committee smoothing out some rough edges and figuring out how to get organized,” he said. “They have made progress and have gathered a lot of research materials.”
Town board officials solicited applications from residents interested in serving on the wind tower committee because developers were seeking lease agreements with property owners and meteorological test towers already in place. Officials knew they had to make a decision on whether wind energy generation systems, commonly known as wind towers or wind turbines, were in the best interest of the town and the committee was charged with researching the project.
The committee will meet for a workshop on May 1. The meeting is open to the public but there will be no public forum.
Committee member Ed Evans, a proponent of the towers, said the meetings are not “happy scenes.” He said, “The committee is lopsided – more people on the committee are truly against the wind towers. What they need to do is form two committees – one for and one against, let them work it out then come back with recommendations to the town board.”
Evans said residents keep shouting about wanting to “keep Hamlin rural.” He said the most foolproof, surefire way to do that is to allow the windmills to be erected. “With the setbacks required for wind towers, nothing else would be able to be built around them.”
Evans said all people need to be represented when it comes to the towers – young adults, senior citizens, homeowners, those who live in the trailer parks. “The committee is being influenced by the opinions of the residents. The committee is buffering the board from the controversy but this issue is really tearing the community apart.”
The bottom line, Evans said, is that the present committee should be dissolved and a new one formed. Evans also said he promised former chairman Art McFarlane that he would let the public know that he (McFarlane) did not step down willingly from the committee.
“Hamlin has an opportunity to get a boost economically and also has an opportunity to contribute to the solution of the problems facing America in our dependency on foreign oil and global warming,” Evans said. “Unfortunately, I see that slipping away.”
22 April 2007
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