On the evening of April 22nd about 30 people from the Minisink Area attended a Rally outside the Town of Waywanada Town Hall. This effort was orchestrated to continue pressuring the planning board, letting them know that their rapid permitting of the Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) Valley Energy Center is abhorrent. As the clock moved close to 7pm the rally of 30 took space inside with signs like “Don’t sell us out” and messaging that encompass a concern for the Hudson Valley Bioregion, and all of its inhabitants. CPV was on the top of the board’s formal agenda and Vice President Steve Remillard once again was in attendance. CPV is currently seeking a Power Purchase Agreement with the State of NY so they can break ground as early as June of this year.
When the first board members started filing in there was a notable look of disgust that we were in attendance, with one of the board members groaning and muttering “it’s useless.” This set the tone for a turn of events outside of their favor. At that moment a shift in energy was about the room, One audience goer started the heckling by clapping and sarcastically exclaiming “You’re all doing such a good job here, keep up the good work.” It was apparent to all of the community members in attendance that their presence was being ignored, they knew the amendments to CPVs already approved 640MW energy center would be voted on unanimously so it was important that the community rather than mope and give up– stood up. The minor mitigations mentioned during the board meeting suggested a “greener CPV” which of course is anything but true.
This could be viewed as the first collective Direct Action in this campaign against CPV. Direct Action is defined as doing something without asking “power” for permission. When the whole crowd started jeering the board members chanting “shame on you” this was not taken so well by the board, the gavel cracked -“SHUT UP!” exclaimed by a councilwoman. But the crowd could not be subdued. In an attempt to ignore the chorus of people chanting the board tried to continue on and take their vote- But when “Any neighs?” was asked the community chimed in with a resounding “neigh.” At this point Steven Remillard fled the room, feeling the pressure on his back, but not before snapping a few pics on his iPhone and slithering away before two State Troopers arrived.
Despite the expected vote of approval, this event was an exercise in community empowerment, a much needed escalation of tactics in the face of corrupt officials and a greedy corporation. This must continue to happen until this project is stopped. The “host community” is not impressed by the impunity of the Town of Waywayanda Board, a point that was made abundantly clear last night.
This is just the beginning- We won’t stop until you do.
Hudson Valley Earth First! is a 100% volunteer run collective that funds its actions and operations by tabeling, doing workshops, and from your donations.
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