found Tom Nattell’s critique of the “New Choices for ‘Green’
Energy” being offered by Niagara Mohawk in their September
utility bills [The Simple Life, Oct. 10] generally accurate
and interesting, with one major exception.
Unfortunately, Tom lumped the three renewable energy providers
(Community Energy, Green Mountain, and Sterling Planet) into
one negative assessment of Niagara Mohawk’s “green power”
offer without recognizing that one, Community Energy, has
a solid track record of creating real, new wind power resources.
Yes, Tom is correct in stating that Community Energy was founded
only in 1999. In those three short years, their first demonstration
project was oversubscribed by 800 percent. Their first success
in showing the public’s desire for clean, renewable wind energy
resources led to the construction of a 9-million-watt wind
farm in Somerset, Pa., at the time the largest wind farm east
of the Mississippi.
Community Energy’s marketing resulted in Carnegie Mellon University
becoming the first university to purchase the entire output
of one of the new 1.5-mw wind turbine, and that started a
movement that sold out the entire 9-mw wind farm and created
the consumer demand that built another 15 mw of new wind energy
in Mill Run, Pa. Penn State then bought the output of three
of the new turbines from Community Energy, followed soon after
by the University of Pennsylvania (whose five-turbine purchase
is currently the largest wind purchase in the country).
These leading institutions were joined by a total of 31 Pennsylvania
colleges and universities, plus state and local government
agencies, nonprofits, businesses, and thousands of individual
residents who are willing to pay the small premium to bring
clean, renewable wind energy to replace the brown power that
currently supplies our electricity.
In Albany, leading environmental organizations including Environmental
Advocates and NYPIRG have researched the options and signed
up for Community Energy’s “New Wind Energy” product because
they found that Community Energy is selling wind generated
electricity from the Fenner Wind Farm in Madison County (just
east of Syracuse—currently the largest east of the Mississippi).
Small businesses including the Daily Grind and Shades of Green
have been joined by the University of Buffalo, Hobart and
William Smith Colleges, Penguin Putnam publishers, and more
than 3,000 Niagara Mohawk and NYSEG customers.
These institutions, companies, nonprofits and residents all
realize that their purchase of new wind energy will create
the market demand that can expand New York’s wind power base
from the existing 50 mw to the potential 10,000 mw of land
and offshore wind resources (about 20 percent of New York’s
current electrical usage).
It is true that Community Energy teamed up with Exelon to
build the Pennsylvania wind turbines. While growing quickly,
we’re still a small company that needs the financial backing
of larger corporations to cover the $1.5 million cost of each
new 1.5-mw wind turbine. Our perspective is that, if enough
consumers prove their real desire for new, renewable energy
resources by putting their money where their hearts are, then
consumer demand will create the market that will push out
As an energy professional for 20 years, I urge Tom to install
the efficiency measures he spoke about, because we in America
still waste half the energy we use.
However, while I spent over a decade installing energy efficiency
measures for nonprofits, businesses, government, and international
agencies, the one thing that always bothered me was that,
no matter how much energy we saved, the rest was coming from
polluting, nonrenewable sources.
When I look at my kids and see the impacts of smog, acid rain,
the hole in the ozone, and global warming, I am thrilled that
I finally have the opportunity for my household to become
100-percent wind powered for only $10 more per month (our
monthly usage of 400 kwh at 2.5 cents)
Clean energy is here. For the first time in our lifetimes,
individual consumers can have new, clean wind energy if we
step up and pay just a little bit extra. If enough of us pay
the small premium now, we can change our energy mix and make
wind power competitive to fossil fuel and nuclear power sources
within a few years.
York state director, Community Energy, Inc.
Is a Two-Way Street
letters to the editor in Metroland [Sept. 19, Oct.
3, Oct. 10] highlight why peace has been so elusive in the
Both the Israelis and Palestinians can rightfully be described
as victims. Each side has been used as proxies by their so-called
backers to further their own interests. Each side can readily
cite historical incidences of violence and oppression by each
other. Peace will never be found by looking backward but only
by moving forward.
Each side in such disputes is always better at detailing the
wrongs committed by the other side than in acknowledging their
own failures and shortcomings. Violence is never a justification
for more violence or oppression. Every act of violence is
an admission of failure, a weakening of the righteousness
of the cause in whose name the violence is committed, one
more step in transforming the “victim” into the “oppressor.”
Both sides must strengthen their commitment to end violence.
Israel must end the occupation of Palestinian territories.
The soul of any nation, particularly one espousing democratic
ideals, is invariably stained through the act of enforcing
a military occupation. The Palestinian people must denounce
the use of suicide bombings, following instead the path of
Gandhi and King in engaging in nonviolent protest. And while
the Palestinian people must be free to choose their own leadership,
they have not been well served by their present leaders. Nor
have the Israelis.
There will never be peace in the Middle East as long as the
United States government favors one side over the other, and
as long as U.S. support, including propping up corrupt Arab
governments such as Saudi Arabia, is determined by military
and oil considerations rather than commitment to justice,
democracy and individual rights. The United States should
support the deployment of peacekeepers, preferably unarmed,
in the occupied territories. The U.S. should ensure the long-term
security of both the Israeli and Palestinian people. And a
final settlement must include a just resolution to a myriad
of issues, including access to water and arable land.
Green Party of New York State
Ritter Wrapped in a Mystery
are two things we (still) don’t know about Scott Ritter [“Show
Me the Weapons Violations,” Oct. 3].
Who is paying for his “globetrotting?”
Why would the U.S. government think that he might be a spy
Maybe your reporter was going to ask Ritter these questions
and was just intimidated by his table slamming.
Here is one thing we do know about Ritter. He recently gave
a speech to the Iraqi Congress. In this speech he criticized
his government and he accused his president of lying. He gave
this speech at a time when his hosts were trying to shoot
down American pilots patrolling the no-fly zone.
Ritter’s transition from an ex-Marine and a registered Republican
to an Iraqi stooge appears to be breathtakingly complete.
Make It Legal
have been reading with passing interest the squabbles between
the Green and Marijuana Reform parties, and while I certainly
feel compassion toward those who have a genuine medical need
for cannabis, I am also among those who were deeply disillusioned,
not so much when the rallying cry turned from “legalization”
into “decriminalization” in the early 1970s, but by the trend
that came after that: Dump ‘decrim’ too in favor of industrial
and medical legalization exclusively.
The whole purpose of the decrim movement was to prevent responsible,
job-holding persons from having their lives literally ruined
for daring to bring small, personal amounts of marijuana out
into the street instead of keeping it behind closed doors
like most would do for say, snorting cocaine or having sex.
In other words, the movement completely, instead of partially,
caved in to the neo-puritanical mentality instead of making
tactical alliances with various groups opposed to it, from
the “rational” pro-choice movement to the gays and Larry Flynts
alike. I blame this failure on a society tragically polarized
between reactionism and political correctness with little
or nothing in between.
Although I voted for Tom Golisano in September’s Independence
Party primary (my “official” party affiliation as far as New
York state goes) in an effort to keep Gov. George Pataki’s
name off the ticket this November, and though I am no longer
a card-carrying member of the Libertarian Party, this gubernatorial
year my vote will go to their candidate Scott Jeffery for
the singular reason that he has vocally attacked not only
the senseless drug wars, but the equally ridiculous and baseless
cultural wars too.
Finally, my idea of an ideal cannabis policy that is neither
status-quo nor libertarian “purist” would be as follows: Legalize
the stuff de facto—whether the medical need is there or not—for
adults, but keep it about the same price as the black market
currently offers. This relatively high price would go down
toward public medical care, giving the poor the advantages
of socialized medicine, but without burdening the taxpayers
with the tab. Also make it legal to grow a certain number
of plants for personal use only, the same way one can legally
brew one’s own beer and wine, but cannot legally sell without
a special license.
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