New York’s governor has decreed that “all non-essential workers must stay home.” But work on the Innogy wind turbine project in Chautauqua County continues: truck drivers, heavy equipment operators, excavators, loggers, flagmen and others are working in Cherry Creek and Charlotte. This work is not essential and for health reasons shouldn’t it be stopped until the Covid-19 pandemic is abated? Literalists will respond that according to “the law” (Executive Order 202.6) utilities are classified as “essential infrastructure” and given a pass. Cassadaga Wind is not a utility yet nor will it be for some time.
Clearly, power generation, transmission, repair, and fuel supply are essential services, as the continued operation of Dunkirk’s converted natural gas power plant would have been had not Governor Cuomo shut it down. But the German-owned Innogy project cannot deliver energy for maybe two years. It is specious to classify it as “essential” given the current health crisis.
An example: a friend’s grandchildren work at a popular truck stop in the wind turbine target area. The wind project men are from Utah, Tennessee, Missouri, and eastern New York State. They pump gas, use the facility, interact and eat on site. The Cassadaga Wind turbine project is in the early stage of felling forests and building roads. As the requirement for more skilled workers increases, specialists will come from all over the U.S. This potentially endangers our community but also those elsewhere as the workers travel back and forth.
Is the continued work on the Cassadaga wind project a possible vector for Covid-19?