Congratulations Hopkinton! Local citizens and officials in Hopkinton deserve a HUGE round of applause, a standing ovation really, for their successful campaign to protect their homes and community from industrial wind energy development.
Kudos also to their Parishville neighbors, who achieved a similar victory last year.
Many people feel that wind energy development is a good thing and perhaps it is okay in some places. But the citizens of Hopkinton educated themselves on its effects on people’s health, property values, and the local environment.
They studied the experiences of other people and communities in the USA and elsewhere in the world who live with industrial wind. They acquainted themselves with the wild forests, wetlands, springs and streams, and the abundant resident and migratory wildlife, that would be devastated by industrial wind development in their Adirondack foothills community.
And they concluded that their community is not the place for this kind of development.
Their successful two-year campaign is an excellent example of our democratic system at work. A giant multi-national corporation saw huge profits to be made due to the subsidies wind developers receive from the government.
The project fits into the energy “plan” of the State of New York. The community was divided as many local landowners were lured by the money to lease their land to the developer. But a groundswell of grassroots opposition emerged as people learned of the project’s impact on their lives and lands. And in the end, the resistance won. The developer threw in the towel.
Other North Country citizens and communities can learn a valuable lesson or two from the Hopkinton-Parishville experience. Citizen participation matters. And resist the temptation to believe that just because it sounds like a good idea, as in the case of tapping into wind energy, it isn’t necessarily so. Location and design matter too.
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