The latest victim of the divisive NIMBY politics associated with Reunion Power’s bid to install an industrial wind farm in Richmondville is a proposed municipal power company for Schoharie County. County Treasurer Bill Cherry proposed creating a public power company to provide electricity to country residents at a cheaper rate than National Grid. Currently, the Town of Richmondville already has a municipal power company and provides Town residents with electricity at lower costs.
The creation of a county-wide municipal power company has real potential to lower energy costs for Schoharie County ratepayers, and as a pretty significant side benefit, it would create a few new jobs. A resolution had been presented to the County Board of Supervisors and Cherry had been exploring talks with Albany County about creating a two-county program. The discussion had been moving along, until Bill Cherry found out that Albany County Legislator Sandy Gordon (with whom he was working on the project) was involved with Reunion Power, the very same Reunion Power of Richmondville wind farm fame. After finding out about Gordon’s involvement Cherry stopped short in his talks and has since put the whole issue on hold.
Ostensibly, Cherry cited a potential conflict of interest as the reason for his refusal to work with Gordon. However, that explanation simply doesn’t pass muster. It is obvious that Bill Cherry simply doesn’t want to get pulled into the political sh*tstorm raging in Richmondville over the wind mills. One incumbent town supervisor (Bernocco) was already defeated because of it. Cherry just doesn’t want any of that taint blowing his way.
But Cherry can only be blamed so much for his political cowardice, as most politicians would probably elect to play it safe in this situation. The real blame lies with the anti-windmill activists in Richmondville, whose scorched earth campaign has driven a wedge into the community and embittered local politics.
Sandy Gordon is not the problem here. The real problem is the glorified NIMBYism in Richmondville and a lack of political will to appropriately dismiss it. Cherry made the politically smart move by distancing himself from Gordon. Meanwhile Schoharie County is still paying unnecessarily high electricity rates to an overseas company, when it could be exploring a cheaper local alternative.