I am responding to recent letters to the editor that appeared in the Olean Times Herald. Regarding the Oct. 19 letter by Kathy Martin (“Wind of Change in Allegany”), while I agree the winds are changing, we differ on the direction.
Ms. Martin claims there are a lot of supporters of this project, as evidenced by the more than 60 supporters who attended a recent Allegany Town Board meeting. But what about the literally hundreds of us who have attended the meetings regularly and protested this project while it was still viable?
Now that there is no project, according to the court’s ruling, why now is this special interest group speaking out? Perhaps we can find the answer by looking at where the Support Allegany Wind signs have been placed. It would appear, for the most part, that these have been placed on the lawns of folks who feel they would profit. In contrast, those of us speaking out against the project have nothing to gain, but feel we have much to lose – namely our health, well-being, property values, destruction of forest and impacts on water and local wildlife.
In fact, our position has cost us. We hired a Buffalo attorney and spent countless hours researching, meeting and discussing the issues.
Contrary to John Walsh’s letter of Oct. 18, the last election in Allegany was indeed a referendum on the EverPower/Allegany Wind project proposal. Both the Olean Times Herald and former Supervisor Pat Eaton referred to the November 2011 election as a referendum on the wind farm. Here is an excerpt from the Dec. 11, 2011, edition:
“Mr. Eaton, who served for four years on the Allegany Town Board before being elected supervisor, was defeated in November by voters who opposed the Town Board’s decision to permit EverPower, Inc. to build a 29-turbine wind farm on hills in the Chipmonk area of the town. He was the lightning rod for opposition to the windfarm the board approved by a 4-1 vote.
“‘I was the face of the windmills,’ Mr. Eaton said. The election, he adds, ‘was partially a referendum on the windmills.’”
Both candidates for supervisor in 2011 had voted for Allegany Wind, so opponents opted to remove the man who spearheaded the project. Coverage of the election by the OTH includes:
“Mr. Hare admitted that he isn’t certain that he would have won the election by such a large margin if the wind farm issue had not been on the front burner of the race.
“‘It turned what could have been a very close race into a very decided race,’ he said.”
Also, Mr. Walsh didn’t acknowledge that the two new candidates from turbine alley in that election each defeated, by roughly twice as many votes, an incumbent councilman, Ray Jonak, who had voted for the wind farm.
The 2011 elections were open and fair, exactly as our founding fathers intended democracy should work. All candidates were permitted to present their platforms in the paper and to campaign openly with signs and brochures putting their names in front of the public and allowing the whole electorate to make a choice. Everyone was given a fair chance to evaluate all the candidates before voting.
Allegany Wind lost, so it is suing the town to prevent duly elected representatives from participating in decisions of greatest importance to their constituents. Now, would the company and its supporters attempt to get local political leaders to participate in a shabby attempt to sneak through the back door to Town Hall through a write-in campaign for this year’s election?
Consistent with the vote of 2011, the majority of Allegany’s residents remain steadfast in opposition to this project. This has not changed and I’d encourage our residents to let our boards know accordingly, by showing them your support and getting out to vote for the candidates appearing on the ballots. These are the candidates who stepped forward to be openly endorsed by our political parties.
Show them your vote counts as much in 2013 as it did in 2011.
(Ms. Boser lives on Chipmonk Road in Allegany.)
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