Letter: We Support Wind Turbine

Dear Members of the Philipstown Zoning Board of Appeals:

We have lived in Garrison since 1968, when we purchased land and built a house. Having read the minutes of your recent meetings in regard to the above-captioned application, we write in support of the grant of the requested variance. We would like to appear at the May 13 hearing to voice our support, but a pre-existing commitment for us both makes that impossible. Respectfully, we request you consider this communication as if it were being presented at the hearing.

The record built up in this application process is impressive, both on the part of the board, in its thorough probing of all manner of questions and concerns, and Mr. Gleick’s team, in its thorough responses. This record makes one feel proud of the governmental processes on display. We write simply to emphasize the public policy aspect of this precedent-setting application, which is heavily affected with the public interest.

We support the Gleick application because it represents important progress in weaning Philipstown homeowners away from fossil fuels as their source of energy. As the lead article in May 11’s New York Times reported, levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere crossed the “red flag” level of 400 ppm, a concentration not experienced in millions of years. By approving this application, the Zoning Board of Appeals will be doing its part to support a vital public interest of high importance to us all, but especially to our children and grandchildren, whose futures will depend on the country’s ability, now, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For this to happen, we all must do what we can to further this goal. Some of us, like each of you, are given special powers to exercise in the public interest. We hope you will show leadership in approving this application.

That an approval will importantly serve the public interest is demonstrated by, among other things, the substantial subsidy of construction cost offered by New York state and the substantial tax credit offered by the United States government. Absent an overwhelming obstacle in some particular case, it would seem natural to support the public policy objectives on which these financial inducements rest.

Wind turbines may take some time, for some people, to get comfortable with. Such has been the case with cell towers, which, by comparison to wind towers, might well be thought ugly, whether decorated to pretend to be a conifer or not. The point is, however, we enjoy our cellphones enough so that the sight of these ugly structures becomes acceptable. The benefits of replacing fossil fuels with natural, sustainable sources of energy such as wind may not be as immediate and easily perceived as the cellphone. But, in fact, the benefits will stretch long into the future. We very much hope the Zoning Board of Appeals will rise to the opportunity offered by the Gleick application to show great leadership affecting not only Philipstown and Putnam County, but in other neighborhoods throughout the nation where citizens are trying to do their bit to reduce our carbon footprint.

Bevis and Clara Longstreth
(on their own behalf and on behalf of their children and grandchildren)

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