The Jordanville Wind Farm received a "setback" in court according to yesterday's paper. The ruling is being greeted with the usual moaning and groaning when governmental officials -- and big business interests -- don' t get their way. But in reality, the ruling is a big win for the little guy. . . on two levels.
A Big Win for Open Government
As reported today, the Towns of Warren and Stark will now pay for their failure to comply with the Open Meetings Law. Anything decided by the towns in violation of that law is void. This is a good thing. When decisions are made illegally behind closed doors, it usually is because government is being co-opted by private interests for their own benefit and the expense of their neighbors. Some of our Towns in Oneida County need to read this decision and learn a lesson from it. When government runs openly and honestly, everyone benefits.
A Big Win for the Environment
Another aspect of the ruling is that government decisions that are made without a 'hard look' at their environmental impacts will also be set aside. This has long been the law, but it is often forgotten because, quite frankly, local government seems to have been bought off by business interests, it's easier and less costly to ignore one's environmental responsibilities, and it is unlikely that private individuals or civic groups will fork over the money needed to sue. This case, however, was the exception: people did sue --- and they won. If they had not, GOVERNMENT would have simply continued to violate the law. Some of our Towns in Oneida County need to read this decision from the environmental angle and learn a lesson from it. New Hartford in particular should read very carefully the "Pyramid" case cited within this decision. Again, this decision is a good thing. If environmental impacts are ignored, it is usually the neighbors - - - the little guys who derive no benefit -- who are hurt. When all the impacts are revealed and studied and mitigated, everyone benefits.