After reading Ms. Lauren O’Neil’s letter, “Lewes wind turbine a wonderful thing,” in the Feb. 3 edition of the Cape Gazette, I came away admiring her passionate description of her love for her hometown, and her heightened concern it may be destroyed. Count me among those who love this wonderful seashore community. I often congratulate myself for making the decision to move here from a large coal-producing state 13 years ago, and share in her support for using sources of clean energy. However, Ms. O’Neil’s letter suggests that a recent legal complaint submitted by Mr. Gerald Lechliter is somehow a serious threat to undo efforts to keep our community clean and green.
Now I ask. Has Ms. O’Neil read the complaint? I think not. I have. Her letter is laden with emotion and personal opinion, and is lacking in understanding of the true nature of the complaint. The complaint is not primarily about noise and property values. These are secondary issues to be decided based on expert witness testimony and fact finding, a jury, or a judge.
The substance of the 43-page complaint alleges an abuse of power among officials of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the University of Delaware, and the City of Lewes, leading to the construction and placement of a wind turbine on publicly owned open-space land. In their haste to qualify for a $2.4 million federal grant, they failed to follow mandatory statutory procedures allowing for full public scrutiny and comment. The complaint further alleges the university misrepresented the effects of the wind turbine on its surroundings, and that government officials violated Lechliter’s and other property owners’ due process right to be heard.
It is well known that a group with whom Mr. Lechliter worked reached out to the university and to state and local officials in an attempt to resolve their complaints, without a response. Should the court choose to grant a review of the complaint, it will give all parties an opportunity to be heard. Personally, I am pleased Mr. Lechliter has taken his time to investigate and monitor the behavior and actions by some individuals and organizations occupying seats of power.
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