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Special Interest Tyrone Daily Herald Archives

In My Opinion By Kris Yaniello

Yesterday, I volunteered part of my day to work the wind farm survey station for the borough’s third ward located at the First Presbyterian Church. The informal, non-binding survey got it roots from borough council’s continuous effort to find out what its residents, who are registered borough voters, have to say about Gamesa’s proposed wind farm project.
The 10 to 15 wind turbines project on the borough’s watershed property atop Ice Mountain would be part of Gamesa’s proposed Sandy Ridge Wind Farm, which will stretch from the borough property in Snyder Township into Centre County.
As reported, 55 percent of registered borough voters said “yes” in the survey to the proposed wind farm. The final tally was 601 people voted in favor, and 493 were not in favor – 1,094 out of the 2,932 eligible Democrat or Republican registered voters in the borough participated in the survey.
I wanted to write about my experience watching this process develop at the third ward voting station. Although the Pennsylvania primary is very important in deciding who will be Arizona Senator John McCain’s presidential competition in the general election this coming fall, I found that a lot of people in the borough were equally eager to take the wind farm survey.
Since I was overseeing the third ward’s survey table during the time span I was there, I wasn’t allowed to talk to the people about the wind farm project before they filled out the survey, but I did have the chance to talk to people who were willing after the survey was taken.
Granted, the third ward is one of the smallest wards for voter turnout, but the survey box was close to full when I left at 5 p.m. I believe the third ward had its highest voter turnout in years, which could be partly due to the survey.
Some people I talked to were very open in sharing how they voted in the survey, as some were protective on how they voted – either is just fine. There were also some who chose not to even fill out the survey, because they were not as informed on the project or just didn’t care about it.
I found it interesting that many of the younger people from 18 to 30 years of age were “for” the proposed wind farm. Not everyone of course, but the majority of the younger generation I talked to had a different opinion on the project. There were a number of elderly borough residents who were also voting “yes” to the wind farm.
The most intriguing conversation I had was with 17-year-old Tyrone resident Lindsey Miller, who will turn 18 next month, but wasn’t sure if she could have registered to vote in the primary or not. She really wanted to take the wind farm survey, but could not. The young woman was well informed about Gamesa’s proposal, and to be quite honest, she knew just as much about the wind farm as I knew – and I’ve been in the thick of this proposal for awhile now.
I included Lindsey in my article today on the front page because I respected her knowledge and opinion, even though she could not vote. Lindsey recently began serving in the PA National Guard and is a taxpayer in the borough. She could be sent to Iraq in the near future – but couldn’t vote. That just boggles my mind.
Lindsey hopes Gamesa’s proposed wind farm on Ice Mountain becomes a reality, and I liked her “simplified” reasoning for it. She said that the wind farm “will kill some of nature, but it will help a lot of nature – and it will give us money.”
I truly value her answer, and not because I think she’s right or not, but because of its simplicity. Lindsey, like me, will have to live through the 30 years of the project if council votes for Gamesa to install the wind farm on Ice Mountain.
I understand why kids like Lindsey couldn’t take the survey, it’s the law. But, if the wind farm is voted in, it’s kids like Lindsey who will be in their mid-30’s and early 40’s when the wind farm is in its prime.
Quite frankly, if borough’s like Tyrone opt out of contributing to cleaning up our environment with alternative energy sources, whether wind or whatever, I wonder what the state of our world will be in when Lindsey is a middle-aged adult.
Some people say that wind turbines will change the landscape of Ice Mountain, which is absolutely true. But when Lindsey is older, the United States of America’s landscape could be changed a lot more drastically as global warming increases.
A handful of wind turbines on Ice Mountain will not save the world, but wind turbines and other alternative energy sources across the country and world will. Wind turbines are not the ultimate answer, but it’s a start.
Sometimes people in power have to make decisions that, as Lindsey said, “will kill some of nature, but it will help a lot of nature.”
I don’t know if it was a coincidence or not, but just 10 feet away from the wind farm survey table at the First Presbyterian Church was a small and recently deceased bat that flew into the church wall the previous night.
Should we not construct anymore churches because I now found that church walls kill bats? There’s always some bad that comes with something good. The world is not perfect. The next bat will learn not to fly into the church wall.
I voted “yes” on the survey for the wind farm proposal on Ice Mountain. After seeing the results of the survey, I felt really comfortable with that decision. I’m probably not the only one. Well, I know I’m not – 55 percent of the people feel the same way.
Every borough council member has a tough decision to make in the near future. From what I gathered, I think council felt relieved to see a majority of Tyrone Borough residents feel one way or another.
Henry David Thoreau, who penned the book Walden Pond, said it best, “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity.” He also said, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.”
The hardest decisions are sometimes best answered by the simplest reasoning.