The arrogance of small community politicians.

Funny, the things you find.  Take this little letter posted at the WV Public Service Commission web site.  A quick peek for “Pinnacle” and then a look at activities list associated and up pops this:

My first thought was … why?  A formal, legal appeal is in process and the only letter from an individual at this stage, at least so far, is this one.

To understand my dismay, you have to understand that the time for public comment on the initial case is long gone and the WV PSC has since ruled in favor of the wind developer.  As is pretty typical, the local citizen’s group directly involved in the case is appealing that ruling.  The citizen’s group thinks think maybe something needs review and is asking the appropriate authority to reconsider.  The wind developer who received the benefit from the initial ruling also weighs in on the appeal, as is their right.  Seems to make sense so far.

But then, out of the blue … an independent review!  What in the world inspired this letter from an individual with no apparent tie to the legal proceedings?  (No, I don’t have an answer … that was rhetorical.)

You see, I didn’t attend Law School.  I’m not knowledgeable enough, or frankly bold enough to tell the PSC Commissioners that I see nothing new in the appeal and suggest they should just move on to more important stuff, or as the letter reads “After reading the Alliance’s petition, I believe that nothing new has been brought to the table“.  WHAT???  Well, why didn’t the Alliance just check with her first and save the Commissioners all this trouble.

I got my chance to voice my opinion back in the fall when they asked for it … me and everybody else.  Sad to say, I didn’t get a call from the PSC for more consultation.  But maybe this individual, even though not a litigant in the case as far as I know, did get a request from the PSC for an opinion on the appeal.  I know for a fact she made her opinion known before this latest advice to the Commissioners.  Two additional times, as a matter of fact!

Here’s one from the PSC web site from October 2009 (posted along with that of another individual):

And here’s another around the same time, but formally as a member of the Mineral County Commission:

So, it’s safe to say this person is in favor of the wind farm.  Readers who stop by here occasionally know that I’m not.  But that’s not really what is at issue here.

What is at issue is the incredible arrogance displayed when an individual uses the “power” of office to promote a their opinion.  I’m willing to give the Commission a pass for weighing in early on, since they held several discussions regarding the topic.  On a split decision the Commission chose to lend its support to the project, and they did so in the third letter above.

But for someone to claim the right to represent me by attaching title to name at each occasion they feel compelled to offer their opinion is beyond arrogant.  And if the intent of that individual was to give the impression they speak for my views, allow me to correct that here and now:  when a public servant becomes so enamored of themselves that they deem every idle thought bouncing between their ears worthy of their title and our worship, maybe it’s time to go.

What is happening at the PSC is a legal proceeding in which a ruling is being challenged by a legal representative to the case.  Sure, if a private citizen chooses to drop a line to the PSC during the proceedings there’s not much to be done.  But, for a private citizen to imply in any way they are acting as a representative of the people, presumably with intent to sway outcome is a whole different story and should begin to raise questions.

If, on the other hand, the WV PSC did solicit this advice from someone serving in the role of formal representative of the people of Mineral County – as to how, or even if they should proceed in this appeal, I will be the first one out with an apology.  But then, I would have to wonder why the other Commissioners didn’t weigh in.  Or shucks … maybe they weren’t asked!  Now that would be embarrassing!

This entry was posted in Allegheny Front Alliance, Mineral County WV, Pinnacle Wind Force LLC and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The arrogance of small community politicians.

  1. Frank O'Hara says:

    Commissioner Pyles: Nothing new brought to the table? Says You.

    First Ms Pyles it appears to be inappropriate to comment upon AFA’s petition for reconsideration, especially where the county body did not participate in the siting certificate proceeding as a party. But you are you using your title to push your view.

    Ms Pyles it is important to distinguish “nothing new brought to the table” and important legal interpretations that AFA asserts.

    It is crucial government officials carefully investigate any controversy. Often third party information is required.

    Please Ms Pyles, before you decide what is true, or believe there is nothing is new, please investigate what further research is required. Do seek independent expertise.

    Please recognize that US Wind Force has an established history that is less than credible. Mount Storm Project (WV) Savage Mountain (MD), Dan’s Mountain (MD) and Liberty Gap (WV) are not completed projects. There are reasons why the project are not moving forward. People, agencies, communities, and funding institutions are concerned.

    I also read AFA petition and believe they offer important points that protect and promte economoic growth.

    Wildlife Issues:
    Did you read the US Fish and Wildlife Service letter, dated September 30, 2009 expressing their concerns and recommendations? AFA obtained this letter through the Freedom of Information Act. Are you saying this is nothing new?

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommends a full three years of pre-construction monitoring before a siting decision is made for areas with high concentrations of nocturnal migrants including eagle and raptor study.

    Did you read the WV DNR letter to US Wind Force conveying concern, to migrating bats and the Allegheny Wildlife Management Area?

    Five Mile Viewshed
    AFA believes US Wind Force did not meet the burden required. No consultation to identify how this project will impact Maryland residents.

    Did you consider the annual 100,000+ visitors enjoying the Jennings Randolph Lake, a federal project? Don’t forget that local Maryland businesses are marketing the eagle and the lake resources.

    Health and Safety:
    So you agree that two turbines (#16 and #17) will not be a public health and safety concern. Both AFA and the WV PSC agree on this matter.

    It is critical that there are safe setbacks in case a tower collapses, or if ice throws from generator blades. There have been turbine fires.

    AFA believes the public deserves to know how close the turbines will be placed next to public roads.

    Historical Properties:
    I guess you agree the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) arranged between US Wind Force and WV State Historical Preservation Office (WV SHPO) is equitable?

    The purpose of 36 CFR Part 800: Protection of Historical Properties. The purpose of this legal process is to identify historical properties, assess and resolve adverse effects. I guess US Wind Force and WV SHPO do not consider the area of scale in their assessment. Placing over twenty 400 feet high turbines across 3 miles of mountain ridgeline will alter the cultural and historical Allegheny Front.

    This ‘MoA’ legal document was unknown until AFA discovered it. The agreement was signed by the WVSHPO on Saturday, less than 48 before the state hearing. It was never shared with the Mineral County Historical Society or reported in the media. That appears to be something new for the table.

    AFA believes public transparency is vital and should always be placed on the table.

    The Memorandum of Agreement offered $10,000 (one time fee) to mitigate the Mineral County’s cultural and historical landscape.

    AFA believes that $10,000 purchase is not fair compensation. Do the math, county receives $10,000 / 20 years (project life) = a $500 annual contribution. The value amounts to less than ten cents per person in Keyser.

    I agree with AFA there are many items that are new and need to be placed on the table.

    Thanking you in advance to keep your private citizen concerns separate from your elected legal responsibilities.

    Respectfully

  2. Pingback: Industrial wind … “the crawling menace!” | Allegheny Treasures

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