I finally did it. I went to a meeting on wind power in Parishville-Hopkinton. The format was a poster presentation by the company, Avangrid and its consultants. I went to get some specific questions answered. I had heard the concerns of the protestors and wanted to hear Avangrid’s side.
The representatives were very pleasant, but they didn’t help me much. There was no one there to field questions on the PILOT versus taxes even though I tried three different reps. There were two different answers on when the application would be submitted within 6 months or by the end of the year, and two different answers on whether and how the concerns of the townspeople would be incorporated.
It sounded to me like all the protests and all the upset at the town board meetings will not be relevant to or incorporated into the application beyond as a side note. For example, I thought there was a pretty good showing at the meeting, but no one from Avangrid was counting.
Finally to a question about why Avangrid came into town to harvest leases with gag orders before approaching the town boards, the rep said that was the normal approach and he was sorry that some townspeople feel that it was unfair. Apparently it was just a belief and not a fact that it is unfair. In the end, I walked away feeling very politely steamrolled. The meeting was held because it is required for the application process, but the decisions will be made by a committee consisting of the heads of five state agencies and two town representatives.
I haven’t read anything in the newspaper about the positions of these agencies. I would like to see some investigative reporting. it was not clear to me how they will make that decision. But I have no doubt that big capital, whether fairly, or unfairly but legally, will win the day.
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