By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO July 9, 2002 Once again, a power plant plan in Monticello got a chilly reception by the village board.
The Calpine Corporation has been considering constructing a power plant next to the Sullivan County Landfill. To do so, Calpine must purchase the contiguous property from the county (they are currently in negotiations on the purchase). Once that is done, the lengthy review and permitting process will begin.
Meanwhile, Calpine has looked for support from the affected municipalities: Sullivan County, the Town of Thompson, and the Village of Monticello. Calpine has received that support from both the county and the town. The village denied support the first time it was brought before them about two months ago and did so once again on Monday, July 1.
A resolution in support of moving the project forward was brought before the Village of Monticello at their board meeting that evening. The resolution called for the village to support the project, as long as Calpine annexed into the village.
As has been the norm with prior meetings involving Calpine, a group of about 30 residents came out to speak against the project. In fact, they held a demonstration against Calpine prior to the board meeting.
"I have looked into Calpine, and I have a lot of concerns," commented Cynthia Niven. "The plant will affect everyone's health. Pollutants travel. I do not like the ill effects this company brings. I beg you to reconsider and not do this."
"It seems that everyone is in an all-fire rush to help Calpine," remarked another protester, Alan Tucker. "Calpine is in financial straits. They might not be around in a year or a year and a half. Take a step back. Let it sit for a few months."
Most who were in attendance spoke out against the project. After each speaker expressed their thoughts, the audience gave them sustained applause.
However, not everyone was against Calpine.
"I don't understand all the issues, but studies have to be funded," stated Monticello businessman Gary Schmidt. "The process has to go ahead. Without moving ahead, we won't know what happens. We have to look at it. If it is unhealthy, I will be the first against it."
The crowd booed Schmidt throughout his comments.
After more complaints, Village Mayor Gary Sommers called a vote on the resolution. Trustee David Rosenberg made the motion. Just like the previous meeting, no one seconded the motion.
"You do not know what you just did," Rosenberg said. "I have heard your concerns. Some are accurate, some are not. You talk about pollutants. I am sure you all drove over here in gas cars. Let's not be hypocrites.
"The village is not needed by Calpine," Rosenberg continued. "They will go ahead. Now the village will not get any money. We will have no say in this matter."
After the discussion, half the audience left.
Calpine still plans to move ahead with the project.