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Ferguson responds to Bose: an open letter

November 3, 2011

There are a number of inaccuracies in your letter “Get your facts straight, Mr. Ferguson.”

1. I did not, as you allege, say that the town board “wrongfully” turned down funds for photo-voltaic systems. What I actually said was, “members of the board who are now running for re-election turned down $370,000 in grants and incentives that would have provided the town hall and town garage with solar electric systems at no cost to the taxpayer. It was a mistake to turn down free money.”

Maybe your misquote isn’t all that important, but if you’re going write a letter called “Get your facts straight, Mr. Ferguson,” it would be wise not to open your letter with a factual error.
2. Your misstatement of the amount of money you and your political allies turned down is a more serious matter. Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther offered the town $125,000, not $100,000 as you allege. The amount of available NYSERDA incentives was $247,000, not $125,000 as you allege. (The town hall system was to provide 22,000 watts of electricity, incentivized at $5/watt for a total of $110,000; the town garage system was to be 28,000 watts, incentivized at $5/watt for the first 25,000 watts, and at $/4watt for the additional 3,000 watts)

It all adds up to $372,000, not the $225,000 you allege.

3. You suggest that these funds could have been used for “more necessary projects such as repairing bridges.” Exactly what "bridges" did you have in mind? Are you aware that the Town of Callicoon doesn’t own any bridges? Are you unaware that NYSERDA benefits cannot be used to fund bridges, real or imaginary? These funds are used to promote renewable energy projects; when the Town of Callicoon turned down the money, it went elsewhere.
It is preposterous for you to claim I have a “renewed stance on fracking”. I have been, and remain adamantly opposed high-volume hydraulic fracturing, which involves pumping from three to seven million gallons of poisonous fluid in the ground to develop each and every gas well. Fracking has already been linked to over one thousand cases of water contamination around the country, and the Department of Environmental Conservation says it’s too dangerous to be permitted in the New York City watershed. As far as I’m concerned that means it’s also too dangerous to be permitted in our back yards. When the gas companies develop a more sensible way to extract shale gas, let them come back to us with a reasonable plan.

It’s disappointing, but not surprising, that you would submit a letter so full of falsehoods and distortions to a newspaper on the eve of an election, confident that your opponent won’t have an opportunity to set the record straight in print before the voters go to the polls.

Bruce Ferguson
Callicoon Center, NY