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Wind energy developers seek to divide and conquer in communities across country

Posted 28 August 2019 at 8:16 am

Editor:

This letter is in response to that of Charles Mathes posted August 23, 2019. It is a shame that family and community relationships have been so damaged by the proposed imposition of an industrial wind development in our town, but it shouldn’t surprise us.

For many years now this has been happening in town after town, state after state across our nation and in other countries, ever since such projects have been built in populated areas.  These developments permanently alter the physical environment of a community. Those who make money from them are happy; those who suffer from them are not.

I must admit that I am saddened to see a Mathes becoming such a vocal proponent for the wind developer, and claim that all the nastiness is coming from those who oppose the wind project.

Clear Skies Above Barre members have worked extremely hard to be civil and understanding of those who hold an opposing view, while pro-wind people are sometimes acting like bullies, stealing signs from our yards (this has happened to me at least twice – so such vandals are committing trespass and interfering with my right of free speech); telling groups with whom they have had good, long-term relationships that they are no longer welcome to hunt or ride snow machines across their land; defending improper and possibly illegal acts by town board members; and parroting the misinformation put out by the wind industry.

The reason I am especially sorry to see Mr. Mathes defame a group of people I have come to know and respect is that it was his grandparents who played a very large part in welcoming me to Barre and helping me undertake the restoration of my house here. Helen Mathes was Town Historian in 1998 and invited me to her house to spend the evening going over her materials, sharing with me the history of the property. She continued to give me information and encouragement, and one day after I’d been working on the house for a few years, she and her husband David pulled into my driveway and gave me a check for $500 to help with the restoration. I was amazed at their kindness and generosity.

Most of the benefit from an industrial wind project in Barre will be enjoyed by the out-of-state corporation that is promoting this project. It stands to make millions of dollars. The roughly 75 lease holders will make some money. The rest of the town’s residents and property owners will be inconvenienced during construction and quite likely impacted negatively for years to come.

The Payment in Lieu of Taxes that our town board is currently negotiating will actually provide property owners with LESS money than if we granted no PILOT at all. These are no longer conjectural statements. There is ample evidence to back them up, and the reality will speak for itself if the project is completed.

We need go no farther than Arkwright to know that the assurances of wind developers are nothing but lies. Unfortunately, New York’s laws protecting its occupants from such damage are weak, nonexistent, or not enforced. Some of our elected and appointed officials are being compensated by the wind developer so that they will promote the project. It would be so much better for all of us here if these officials would genuinely represent all of us, instead of just their own interests and those of the wind developer.

Andrea Rebeck

Barre