VPR reporter Nina Keck recently completed a story about the human side of the opposition to the Grandpa’s Knob wind project. Some of my family and neighbors were interviewed for this story, and several of them got quite emotional in that interview. We all worry a great deal about each other and the emotional toll this proposed project has already taken. It has caused so much stress, loss of sleep, loss of peace of mind, loss of faith in the democratic process, divisions among friends and families.
From the beginning there has been an overwhelming pattern of disrespect for the people and other life that would be impacted by this project on the part of the developer. This disrespect has been allowed and encouraged by the system created by Section 248 which allows utilities to go around the local and state processes that would normally regulate industrial development of this scale. Under this process, the people who will be directly impacted by this project are barely relevant in the consideration of whether this project will cause undue adverse impact. Clearly the developer is prepared to take full advantage of this “loophole” in our environmental legislation.
This lack of specifics and evasiveness to answering questions continued through the meetings in Castleton, Pittsford and Hubbardton. We have repeatedly heard that they don’t yet have a site plan, that this or that study has not yet been completed, so it would be “premature” to give answers to many questions we have asked. The answers to our concerns are still not forthcoming, but the non-answers have gotten slicker with each town presentation. Clearly, the developer doesn’t feel that he has to offer us any guarantees as to our welfare or to that of the Pittsford ridge environment. He believes that he only has to sell the Public Service Board on this idea. And he is humoring us and tolerating our questions at these public meetings only for the purpose of honing his presentation to better “sell” the Public Service Board when he proceeds to that level.
I still have hopes that the democratic process will prevail and the will of the majority of the public will be heard and truly considered. I am very encouraged that at these presentations by Reunion no one in the crowd appeared to be buying the sales pitch. One resident in Pittsford even shamed Mr. Eisenberg for his blatant disrespect for our heartfelt concerns for our quality of life. I want to believe that our select board members in our towns, who I really do believe are good people at heart who want to do what is best for their towns, will listen to this exponentially growing group of taxpayers and residents who do not want this project in our towns. And I want to believe, in spite of a flawed process that allows three people (who are appointed and not elected) on the Public Service Board to make decisions of such a magnitude without proper checks and balances to their authority, that those three people will listen to the people who are now investing all of their time and energy to stopping this project. Our “emotions” are based on our legitimate opinion that this project will cause “undue adverse impacts” to our neighbors, our neighborhood and our environment.
Finally, I want to believe the “greater good” will be carried out – and the “greater good” in this case cannot possibly be allowing a project that will cause “undue adverse impacts” to proceed.
LISA WRIGHT GARCIA
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