With Otsego 2000 poised to take legal action against the 68-turbine Jordanville Wind Farm, the director of Holy Trinity Monastery’s seminary jumped in first.
Wednesday night, July 18, Father George Schaefer reported he was at his desk filling out the necessary application to file an Article 78 petition seeking to block the forest of 400-foot-tall windmills Community Energy hopes to erect between Van Hornesville and Jordanville.
He called the Article 78 “our last hope” to stop the project, then amended that to say, “our last earthly resort.” Already, Father Schaefer said the monks can hear rumbles from a nearby quarry that will be the source of the gravel and cement needed for the prospective 18-month construction job.
Earlier in the day, Holy Trinity Monastery had released the full text of an archbishop’s letter to Gov. Eliot Spitzer and 11 other top state officials calling the project “monstrous” and “appalling.”
“Please, I pray, intercede now,” wrote Hilarion Kapral, Russian Orthodox bishop of Australia and New Zealand, former abbott at Holy Trinity.
The Otsego 2000 offices were a bee hive of activity in the past few days, as the board of directors met Monday, July 16, for a final strategy session, and staff focused on preparing the necessary background documents.
Until Otsego 2000’s lawyer Drayton Grant actually filed that Article 78, she was reluctant to say much, other than she was facing a “brisk” deadline. (Some were expecting the papers to be filed by the time you read this, although it had not been when this edition went to press, while Father Schaefer was completing his paperwork.)
An Article 78 challenge, the vehicle included in the state Environmental Quality Review Act process, would have to be filed within 30 days of the towns of Warren and Stark’s acceptance of the final Environmental Impact Statement. Warren acted on June 20; Stark on June 21.
In recent days, the town supervisors, Richard Jack of Warren and Richard Bronner of Stark, released a statement denying the public was improperly excluded from deliberations and repeating the belief that the Jordanville undertaking is “the most heavily scrutinized wind turbine project in upstate New York, by far.” (See Page 4)
In Albany, Anne Dalton, spokeswoman for the state Public Service Commission, confirmed that Community Energy, a subsidiary of Madrid-based multi-national Iberdrola, has filed for a PSC certificate of necessity, the next step toward construction.
If, after investigation and a public hearing, the PSC approves that certificate, the towns could issue building permits and work could begin.
In his letter, Archbishop Hilarion traced the history of Holy Trinity as his church’s spiritual center abroad and noted that now, “the serenity that the monks and pilgrims have long sought will be gone, literally gone with the wind! … How can such an appalling situation exist.”
In addition to Spitzer, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, a Republican, and Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, the letter went to key cabinet members and legislators.
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