The underlying rancor surrounding proposed Cape wind energy projects surfaced when Eric Bibler, a vocal opponent of the proposals, rose to speak. "You're an (expletive)," Brewster Selectman Edward Lewis said before storming out of the room.
BARNSTABLE – Faced with a full house and a heap of paperwork, a county panel examining the activities of two regional energy agencies decided Wednesday to hold a separate meeting Feb. 1 to take public comment on its work.
The move angered officials who came from as far as Martha’s Vineyard expecting a chance to voice their support for the Cape Light Compact and Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative, the agencies under review by a subcommittee of the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates. More than 40 local officials and members of the public packed the assembly’s chamber for Wednesday’s two-hour meeting.
“The idea that we have people coming over here from the Vineyard, people who have been on these committees for years, the idea that you are going to shut them down is outrageous,” cooperative President Charles McLaughlin said.
The subcommittee met to discuss its next steps after receiving hundreds of pages of documents from the two agencies, Chairman Ronald Bergstrom said.
The point was not to deliberate on wind turbines, the issue that led to the subcommittee’s creation after questions were raised about money transferred from the compact to the cooperative for wind energy projects.
Supporters of the compact and cooperative say ratepayers benefit from cooperation between the agencies. They argue that the renewable energy projects the cooperative is developing in various Cape towns will help suppress electricity prices for compact customers.
Subcommittee member Leo Cakounes of Harwich had several questions about the cooperative’s activities, including whether minutes existed for the agency’s executive committee. Despite finding reference to at least four meetings of the executive committee, corresponding minutes were missing, Cakounes said.
This is important because the executive committee may have taken votes that would typically be the responsibility of a governmental body’s full board, he said.
Subcommittee member Deborah McCutcheon of Truro had similar questions about budgets and minutes from the executive committee for the compact.
“Throughout the process, the Cape Light Compact has declined to give this committee their full budgets,” she said, adding that the subcommittee had received only the county portion of the budget, which covers about $1 million of the agency’s roughly $18 million budget. The remainder comes from ratepayers, the state and grants.
The subcommittee voted to request the executive committee minutes for both organizations.
Kevin Galligan, program manager for the compact’s energy efficiency program, said much of the oversight that critics want is supplied by state agencies that hold hearings on the compact’s plans.
“All of this is recorded and documented,” he said.
The underlying rancor surrounding proposed Cape wind energy projects surfaced when Eric Bibler, a vocal opponent of the proposals, rose to speak.
“You’re an (expletive),” Brewster Selectman Edward Lewis said before storming out of the room.
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