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Letter to Prattsburgh Board

Town Board Prattsburgh, NY
19 N. Main St
Prattsburgh, NY 14873

RE: Eminent Domain Resolution

Board Members:

I challenge the propriety of using eminent domain for the benefit of a private company, UPC now First Wind, in Prattsburgh. The Constitution of the United States allows eminent domain in cases of "public use" only, and is intended to be used for providing essential services.

Industrial wind development does not meet the qualifications of an essential service, since it only duplicates the generation of electricity and does not replace our current generating facilities. The existing facilities must be kept on standby as backup for wind power; therefore the wind facility is redundant and not essential.

The perceived "public good" of the wind development helping solve our environmental problems and global warming has not been proven with any actual scientific data, for the reason that real world operation of industrial wind projects does not support this premise. Indeed, there are many negative effects associated with wind turbines, including serious safety issues, that would most definitely NOT be in the interest of Prattsburgh citizens.

An examination of the proposed economic benefit to the community reveals numbers based on estimates, without guarantees and without consideration of the overall costs to the community in lost property values, higher electricity rates and taxpayer subsidies and tax credits to the developer. Again, the public benefit is extremely questionable.

The increase in the abuse of eminent domain for the benefit of private entities has created a groundswell of opposition from New York and Detroit to California. Many individuals are fighting the practice, and the courts, which used to routinely rubber stamp local condemnations, are responding. Six state legislatures have passed bills increasing protections for people threatened with eminent domain. Eleven others are considering such bills, including New York.

Your actions affect not only Prattsburgh, but your neighboring communities as well. A decision to use eminent domain in this matter shows that the Town Board has no interest in protecting the fundamental rights of its citizens or in following the spirit of the United States Constitution. I strongly urge you to reconsider your stance on this resolution and do the right thing for your community and future generations in the Town of Prattsburgh.

Joan Simmons
Town of Italy

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