While Reunion Power has been busy measuring the wind speeds up on Warnerville Hill, there has been more than enough hot air blowing around Richmondville Town Board meetings to power most of the Eastern seaboard. I’m sure most of you have seen them, if not live and in person than surely on Schopeg. Every month the same cast of characters shows up in force to point their fingers and stomp their feet.
However, Richmondville residents accustomed to getting what they want via temper tantrum were surely quite displeased when former supervisor Betsy Bernocco was appointed to the Town Board to fill out the term of Larry Zaba. Could Bernocco’s appointment be a sign that Richmondville’s elected officials are finally growing a pair? Could this mean that they are finally realizing that the angry NIMBY’s who stalk Town Board meetings are not representative of the town as a whole?
I sure hope so, because it’s about time this community sobered up when it comes to wind power. For over two years the discussion has been dominated by a small but vocal group bitterly opposed to wind power who have infected every aspect of the process with unfounded fear and hysteria. Last Fall, the Town Board inexplicably voted to adopt an onerously high wind turbine setback of 1500 feet, a figure arguably adopted only to placate Reunion Power’s critics, often the loudest and rudest voices in the room. God only knows what kind of lop-sided and biased information the committee used to determine those setback recommendations. Schoharie Valley Watch themselves have criticized the supposed secrecy of the setback committee. I too, would like there to be an open process and I would like to know just how the committee came up with a setback figure of 1500 feet when dozens of nearby communities with comparable population densities and topographies have adopted considerably lower setbacks.
While Bernocco’s appointment has been criticized by the usual chronic complainers, her experience and long record of service to the town and village of Richmondville make her an asset to the Town Board. As the Town attempts to move forward on the wind law and dozens of other issues objectively and intelligently it is crucial that they act as representatives for all town residents, not just the handful of loudmouths who show up at Board meetings every month to bitch and moan.