from LARRY BENNETT
To the Editor,
An as Otsego 2000 board member, I find you putting words in Henry Cooper’s mouth similar to Dan Quayle’s attempts to channel JFK.
Regarding your idea that Otsego 2000 is a job killer and, by extension, a take-the-food-out-of-the-mouths-of-children villain:
- New York State’s dumping of state-required but unfunded entitlements on towns and counties push our local property taxes ever upward. This has proven to be a much more effective way to kill jobs than fighting gas or turbine projects.
- California’s poverty rate is 19 percent. NY State is 15.5 percent. The USA average is 14 percent. The 25 percent rate in Otsego County is appalling and, if to be believed, an indictment of the county and towns’ collective set of managers, civic leaders and business developers. To equate Otsego 2000’s work with this institutional failure is at best shabby scapegoating. At worst it’s another page of the Trumpian playbook, which says, “If you are going to screw up big time, first be sure you have someone else to blame it on.”
- The total number of turbines to supply all New York’s energy would cover less than 1/100th of one percent of the state’s total acreage. Siting turbines next to historic sites, including the 147 that would have been next to the Holy Trinity Monastery and visible from Otsego Lake, is just mindless development. Turbine field developers need to understand and take that into consideration, just as they understand they can’t put turbines in valleys if they want to harvest the winds on the ridges.
- The transition to a green economy must happen and is being successfully pursued in many nations. The USA and New York State both lag behind, saying that green is too expensive. As icecaps melt and sea levels rise, as our skies fill with massive storms and hurricanes, as our rivers, lakes, pastureland, homes, and seafronts flood, as wild fires ravage the West, as other environmental disasters loom, the expense of pumping and pimping gas and other fossil fuels makes green look cheap.
Otsego County and Upstate NY need bigger and better solutions than those offered by gas pipelines and poorly sited wind or solar farms. We need solutions that enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for everyone. We need leaders with exceptional vision, not leaders denigrating environmental efforts. Leave that to Trump and his professional anti-science team.
from TONY KROKER
To the Editor:
My wife and I recently moved to the area (my wife was born in Cooperstown) and I have been reading with interest the conflict about economic development that is being shaped in large part by Otsego Now! and Otsego 2000.
I was also born in Upstate New York near Syracuse and have witnessed firsthand how cities and towns across Upstate were left gutted when industry moved out or shut down from the ’70s to the ’90s. So the debate about development in Otsego County is important to me. I was appalled to recently read that Oneonta has a poverty level in excess of 25 percent; this with two colleges and a hospital as major employers.
Three quick points:
- I always read with interest Professor Kuzminski’s whimsical columns that decry almost any form of economic development. Of course, he is retired and therefore doesn’t have a long-term stake in the economic prosperity of the county like young families.
- “Industrial Development” does not mean massive plants that will belch tons of noxious fumes into the sky. There is a lot of light industry that is very desirable, has limited emissions and provides good jobs. But let’s face it folks – any business we attract is going to require a reliable and reasonable energy source and that doesn’t seem to be the case right now.
- I was fascinated to read that Otsego 2000 had a major hand in blocking the Jordanville wind farm. Isn’t this the group that is fervently extolling the use of renewable energy sources? This isn’t just NIMBYism – this is what I call the BANANA principle: Build Almost Nothing Anywhere Near Anything. What future are they promising to provide the residents of the county?
I write all this even while I firmly believe that global warming must be addressed. However, it is a process that will take time and we cannot turn our backs on residents who want to live here with the prospect of a decent job at a good company.
I lived in Vermont for 15 years and witnessed this same debate. That state has still not recovered the jobs lost during the recent recession. The population is stagnant and aging as young people leave the state to seek job careers elsewhere that aren’t available in Vermont. Now the state is offering $10,000 for “knowledge workers” to move to the state where they can work remotely from home.
I only hope that this region doesn’t have to resort to the same desperate ploy in an effort to provide a good living and a future for young workers and their families.
from HILDA WILCOX
To the Editor:
Having just finished reading this week’s Freeman’s Journal, my husband and I are elated by the free exchange of well-informed opinions and rigorous arguments we found on those pages. The health of our democracy is dependent on such unafraid, intelligent exchanges.
We say “hip, hip, hurrah!” to our editor Jim Kevlin for his editorial and to Topher Hammond and Mike Stein for their vigorously free and honest letters to the editor, and to Adrian Kuzminski for his prudent column that reminds us that there is no easy road to both economic development and sustainable use of energy.
At this period of U.S. newspaper history, when local newspapers are dying by the thousands, it should be a matter of pride that our Freeman’s Journal is still so brilliantly alive and free. Let’s give is all the support is deserves for maintaining our freedom of the press, without which our democracy is not worth of the name.
HILDA MADER WILCOX
from JAN MULROY
To the Editor:
Recently, it was reported that the generic environmental impact statement (GEIS) for the Oneonta Railyard Project has “generated opposition from Otsego 2000.”
I know for sure that Otsego 2000 is not the only group that has provided comments to the Oneonta Common Council regarding the GEIS. These comments by so many, should not be construed as opposition to creating jobs in the City of Oneonta. These comments were an outpouring of concern for the railyard property, the wetlands, the stream, continued access to Roundhouse Road and the un-remediated areas of brownfields.
As well, there is concern for the future health and wellbeing of the surrounding community that would be affected by industrial growth, including fracked gas infrastructure buildout.
A “desperate need for jobs” is not an excuse to forgo careful scrutiny of a project nor to disdain those that fulfill their civic right to comment. A desperate need for jobs is not an excuse to disregard planning that would support a sustainable future. Rather, the need is for an engaged community.
from ELLEN POPE
To the Editor:
As our phone conversation Friday made clear that the inflammatory editorial in last week’s paper regarding Otsego 2000 was published to stir up controversy and generate sales, we respectfully decline to respond in these pages.
If anyone would like to learn more about what Otsego 2000 stands for, please visit www.otsego2000.org, follow us on Facebook, or give us a call at 547-8881.
Executive Director, Otsego 2000
Abolish Otsego Now? Goodness. It’s Otsego County’s “single point of contact” on economic development, the locus of job-creating efforts.
Adrian Kuzminski, our creative and thought-provoking columnist, suggests such in the column on the opposite page. Read the column. But here’s an alternative idea.
How about abolishing Otsego 2000? It’s arguably the “single point of obstruction” to any economic development in Otsego County, evident most recently in the drive to stymie a
10-year effort to redevelop Oneonta’s vacant D&H railyards.
Here’s just one instance: A few years ago, Otsego 2000 successfully blocked the 160-turbine
Jordanville wind farm because the windmills would have degraded the “viewshed” from James Fenimore Cooper’s Glimmerglass.
The typical 1.5 MW wind turbine creates enough electricity to power 332 homes; 160 would have powered 53,120 homes, more than double the 23,921 homes in Otsego County.
Now, Otsego 2000 has dug in its heels on bringing any more natural gas to Otsego County. Zilch. Nada. Zero.