By definition, a public servant is one who is elected or appointed into a public office to serve the people. The root of the word “servant” is “serve.” Serve the people of Hopkinton, Parishville and surrounding communities, not Iberdrola.
In the past several months or more, Iberdrola Renewables has managed to infiltrate the small rural communities of Hopkinton and Parishville, secretly meeting with individuals who have tracts of land large enough to serve their purpose of constructing 500 foot wind turbines under the guise of creating green energy.
Farmers and local people have been convinced to sign lease agreements without adequate education and description of the harmful effects of these turbines. Other community members have been “blind- sided”, not even knowing that plans were being considered for forty 500 foot turbines that could very likely end up in their backyards. This same scenario has happened over and over again throughout the state, and even the country, creating hostility everywhere.
This behavior is reprehensible and dishonest, pitting community members against each other. As a mental health worker, I see the threads of jealousy, contempt, anger and frustrations being sewn into the fabric of our small, tightly woven rural communities. Plainly stated, everyone feels threatened. Community members feel threatened by the loss of what they hold dear; their farms, their homes, their camps and their land, the future legacy they hope to leave their families.
The policy makers and public officials feel threatened by those in favor of the wind farm and by those who rally against it. Lease-holders feel threatened, worrying that the Town Board may vote against the wind farm, and fearing that their wind company payments will be stripped from them. Iberdrola feels threatened by concerned citizens who are against the turbines, and by the policy makers who may vote against their extremely wealthy industrial corporation.
Feeling threatened causes one of two behaviors and we all know what they are: fight or flight. People and animals react in this fashion when they feel threatened. Some community members are already talking about leaving their treasured homes if Iberdrola moves in; fearing the health and safety risks and environmental devastation associated with the turbines. Perhaps this is the ultimate plan of this company. People are depressed, anxious, fearful, worried, unable to eat or sleep, their minds consumed by the thought of the loss of life as they know it; all noteworthy medical and mental health concerns.
Many of us are choosing to stand up and unite against Iberdrola as concerned citizens who treasure our homes, our families and the features of the Adirondacks and St. Lawrence Valley that make this a wonderful place to raise a family; the beautiful mountains, the birds and wildlife, the amazing waterways, the green and productive farmlands, and the people of the land, considered the “salt of the earth”, who have experienced poverty and hardship, sub-zero temperatures, ice storms, and summer droughts.
We are survivors! We are united! We will stand up for the things that make our culture admirable, and Iberdrola, you are not one of them. Kindly take your massive, industrialized turbines back to Spain and leave our towns and countryside as you found them. We don’t need your money. We need the peace and solidarity of communities that have faced and overcome hardships repeatedly and have won.
Community members, please stand up and be heard. For those public officials who have listened and truly heard our concerns, we thank you. For those who have not, it is time to respond to the needs of the people. Collectively, we must say no to the North Ridge Wind Project. Do not let this corporation threaten all that you hold dear; the freedom of choice to live and work where you feel most comfortable, the right to feel safe and secure in your chosen homeland, the right to pass on to your children all that you have worked your entire lifetime to provide; a lasting home and a peaceful community in which to live.
The North Ridge Wind Project will have an eternal impact on you, your families and your community. Your homeland will never be the same again. It is time to take a stand against this very powerful corporation. Please join us in securing a safe, healthy, and unspoiled future for our children so that they may inherit the land that we ourselves have been so fortunate to have.