Entity Will Develop County Policy On

Economic Development, Environment

At this morning’s Energy Summit, County Rep. Meg Kennedy, right, and Keith Schue, Cherry Valley, a member of the new county Energy Task Force, listen while gas-opponent Tony Ingraffea, the Cornell professor, describes how he’s living off the grid  The summit will continue all day. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Kennedy announces the make-up of the county’s new Energy Task Force, tasked with developing a county approach to economic development and the environment.

COOPERSTOWN – In an announcement awaited with anticipation, county Rep. Meg Kennedy this morning revealed the 21 people who will comprise the Otsego County Energy Task Force.

Charged by the county board, the task force will determine county government’s approach to the sometimes conflicting goals of economic development and environmental projection.

Kennedy, who is leading a five-person Leadership Team in this matter, announced the list before 155 people at an appropriate forum:  the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce “Energy Summit,” underway through late afternoon in The Otesaga’s ballroom.

“It’s going to be a project,” said Kennedy of the task force’s mission.  “But I think we are all dedicated to a better future for county.”

The task force is made up of four “workgroups,” as follows:

  • BUILDING & EFFICIENCY: Ashley Wisse, New Ecology; Bennett Sandler, Heat Smart Otsego; Joe Yelich, Oneonta school superintendent; Jonathan Flyte, Bassett Hospital; Patrick Ryan, SUNY Oneonta; Steve Yerly, City of Oneonta
  • ENERGY SUPPLY & DISTRIBUTION: Amy Wyant, NYSERDA’S Mohawk Valley Economic Development District; Karen Sullivan, county planning director; Keith Schue, engineer; Lou Allstadt, retired executive VP, Mobil Oil; Russ Southard, Oneonta Common Council and Mirabito Energy Products.
  • ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Barbara Ann Heegan, Otego County chamber; Jody Zakrevsky, Otsego Now CEO; Casey Maestro, New York Power Authority; Dan Sullivan, NYSERDA’s Mohawk Valley Economic Development District; Jaquelyn Courter, Southern Tier 8 Regional Planning Commission.
  • ENVIRONMENT: Danny Lapin, OCCA; Dave Rowley, retired Edmeston school superintendent; Gina Keaf, SUNY Oneonta; Mark Davies, City of Oneonta and Hartwick College; Trish Riddell Kent, Oneonta town board.

Also announced were 14 TECHNICAL ADVISERS: Doug Zamelis, Irene Weiser, Ley Backus, Tim Johnson, Josh Edmonds, Carol Kelly, Carolyn Lewis, Karl Seeley, Amy Wyant, Lachlan Square, Jim Barber, Pat Szarpa, Wayne Mellor, Tony Gentile.

In addition to Kennedy, C-Mount Vision, and county Rep. Michele Farwell, D-Morris, the Leadership Committee includes Oneonta City Engineer Greg Mattice, OCCA’s Leslie Orzetti and Oneonta Town Supervisor Bob Wood.

The summit this morning ranged from Schue addressing what he called “DENIALISM” to Leatherstocking Gas CEO Mike German underscoring the link between gas and jobs, to retired Mobile VP Lou Allstadt demonstrating how the cost of fossil fuels will continue to go up while the cost of renewables go down.

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