BRISTOL – When Jim Howell, a 25-year veteran of United States Postal Service, was appointed postmaster here in February, he did not expect to become a windmill to be tilted at.
Not until residents of towns around Newfound Lake, where a proposed wind farm has stirred great controversy, noticed that the stamps on their mail were cancelled with an image of wind turbines. He said yesterday that one opponent of the project who apparently assumed that the postal service was expressing support for the wind farm made his feelings known in no uncertain terms.
Earlier this week The Daily Sun printed a letter from Ray Cunningham of Bridgewater, an outspoken opponent of wind farms in the Newfound Lake area, suggesting that with the cancellation that the wind developers had enlisted the post office in a “propaganda war.”
Howell explained that the cancellation, which depicts four wind turbines to the left of a shimmering sun above the message “Earth Day 2013” is a “special cancellation” authorized by USPS in Washington. “That symbol is used nationally to indicate that we are a green company,” he said. “It has nothing to do with us. We have zero say over cancellations.”
Howell said that mail delivered in Bristol is cancelled in Manchester or Boston.
According to the USPS website “special cancellations are authorized only if the scheduled observance is for a national purpose for which Congress has made an appropriation, or is of general public interest and importance. Special cancellations are approved for a definite period not to exceed six months, and must not be conducted for private gain or profit.” Special cancellations may be sponsored, in which case the sponsor is responsible for all costs incurred.
Atlantic Wind, a subsidiary of Iberdrola Renewables, Inc., which operates a wind farm with 24 turbines in Groton and another with 12 turbines in Lempster, has proposed Wild Meadows Wind Farm with as many as 40 turbines atop Forbes Mountain in Alexandria, Tinkham Hill in Danbury and Forbes Mountain in Grafton. All three towns adopted resolutions opposing the project at their town meetings in March and the Newfound Lake Region Association has expressed opposition to the project.
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