On July 15, a Freedom Town Board majority voted yes on the Host Community Agreement and Road Use Agreement, 3-2.
In my view, illegally.
Once again, our two town board members in favor of more protections for the residents from the adverse impacts of 600-foot-tall turbines were not provided with the materials to review before the vote or notified that there was going to be a vote that evening.
As Freedom’s wind law, LL 1-2018, is currently under litigation to be overturned, the board majority is practically begging for a lawsuit to be put on the town by Invenergy.
In Section 5.7d of the Host Community Agreement it states, “In the event that the Town, in accordance with applicable law, modifies its regulations governing the operation of the Project, to the extent applicable, in a manner which could materially interfere with the operation of the Project, or which should require the Company to change its operations to the detriment of it or the project, or the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment modifies the terms and conditions of the Certificate which materially interferes with the operation of the Project or which requires the Company to change its operations to the detriment of the Project, the Company may elect, in its sole discretion, to suspend any and all payments hereunder and/or terminate the Agreement.
“The Company reserves its rights to initiate a judicial challenge to the Town action in question. ...”
The town of Freedom residents have already sent a message to the board that they want more protections and modification to the wind law and have taken steps to vote in Geoff Milks and John Hill while eliminating turbine leaseholder Ray Feness from the ballot in the November election.
If the illegal vote for the HCA was not already shady enough, board member Ann Marie Dixon stated at the June 17 meeting that she felt they should wait to vote on the HCA until they saw what Farmersville was going to do with its wind law. At the July meeting, prior to the vote that she had recently stated should be held off, she again stated that she was not sure how she was going to vote, then proceeded to vote yes on the negligent HCA and Road Use Agreement.
Immediately after doing so, read a letter of resignation with an end date of Aug. 1 while stating why she voted yes to the HCA and RUA, knowing full well that not all board members had reviewed the material.
As a resident, prior to the vote, spoke up and raised concern that not all members had the materials available to them or were not notified of the vote, Supervisor Randy Lester yelled at her to stop speaking, that it was not an open meeting and threatened to have her removed.
During public comments, as I was discussing a lawsuit that the chairman of the Town Planning Board, DeVere Bliss, entered into in 2003 against the village of Arcade due to damage to his herd as a result of stray voltage, the question was raised why the board was not concerned about damage to a human due to stray voltage. But Lester was more concerned about watching the clock and ignored the very serious topic of safety at hand.
These continued acts of neglect for due process and ignoring serious safety concerns have left the residents alarmed and afraid for their health and welfare as Lester continues to push his personal agenda — his brother has a wind lease.
Now the town is faced with the added concern of how this compromised and biased town supervisor is going to handle appointing a new board member to the newly vacant seat after residents exercised their right to vote in the Republican primary just weeks ago.
Unfortunately, we expect the town supervisor and misled board majority to, once again, ignore the very residents they are under oath to represent and protect and appoint a candidate of their choice, not the people’s choice.
(Stephanie Milks is president of the group Freedom United, which opposes the proposed Alle-Catt Wind Farm, which would site wind turbines in the town of Freedom.)