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!