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Jordanville Monastery vs. Wind Turbines

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  • Fr. John R. Shaw
    CHRIST IS RISEN! JRS: Jordanville, NY, till now has been a quiet, out-of-the-way village, most of whose residents belong to Holy Trinity Monastery, or to Holy
    Message 1 of 1 , May 8 7:58 AM
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      JRS: Jordanville, NY, till now has been a quiet, out-of-the-way village, most of whose
      residents belong to Holy Trinity Monastery, or to Holy Trinity Seminary, or who moved
      there to worship in the monastery churches.

      Today, after Fr. Luke told me there would be an article about the first celebration there of
      the Liturgy of St. Mark, I looked up "Jordanville" in my internet browser, and instead, found

      From the "Observer-Dispatch", April 24, 2007:

      JORDANVILLE — More than 60 400-foot-high wind turbines along the landscape weren't
      part of the plan when the Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Monastery was founded more
      than 75 years ago, monastery officials say.

      The few-hundred acre spiritual retreat settled where it did because of the area's isolation
      and beautiful landscape, and an "army" of turbines from the proposed Jordanville Wind
      project are not welcome, said the Rev. Luke Murianka, deputy abbot of the monastery.

      > Watch a multimedia show of the Holy Trinity monastery]

      "This would greatly affect our whole mission here," Murianka said.

      If negotiations regarding a payment in lieu of taxes agreement are worked out,
      construction for the 68 wind turbines could begin in spring 2008, said Eric Blank,
      executive vice president in charge of U.S. development for Community Energy, the
      Iberdrola USA company behind the Jordanville project.

      Blank hopes company representatives can talk with members of the monastery and try to
      address their concerns, he said.

      "We think we'll work out our differences with the monastery," he said. "We don't think
      they'll be an obstacle."

      Murianka said the majority of people at the monastery are against the project, while some
      people don't have an opinion. Murianka said no one he spoke to is in favor of it, he said.

      Although the main concern Murianka has is visual disruption the turbines could cause,
      blinking lights and possible sound-related or environmental problems also are concerns,
      he said.

      The project also would affect the Community of St. Elizabeth the New Martyr and the Holy
      Trinity Orthodox Seminary, which is located on the campus and educates students from all
      over the world, said Murianka, who also is the dean of the seminary.

      The Community of St. Elizabeth the New Martyr is a covenant of four nuns who live on the
      monastery property.

      This community supports itself and tries to stay isolated from the rest of the world — only
      occasionally taking female visitors, said Mother Barbara Dowbnia of the covenant.

      "This has a deep, deep effect, and it's going to ruin the landscape" Dowbnia said. "Even if
      you close your eyes, you'll be able to feel them, to sense them."

      A lot of what they do involves looking within themselves, she said.

      "You can't do it when you're being bombarded with strobe lights," she said. "That's kind of
      like disco stuff."

      Dowbnia believes finding alternative forms of energy is important and isn't against wind
      turbines, she said.

      "But there are just other places to put them," she said.

      Jordanville resident Joseph Sarafin, who isn't opposed to the wind project, thinks the
      residents of the monastery will be able to co-exist with the turbines.

      "I think it'll be all right," he said.

      Community Energy plans to attain seeker permits this spring, resolve the tax issues this
      summer and begin construction in spring 2008, Blank said.

      "We're pushing forward with all speed," he said.

      Herkimer County Administrator James Wallace said nothing new has taken place with
      negotiations with the wind developers. Herkimer County is waiting to hear back from the
      developers, Wallace said.

      The last reported payment in lieu of taxes offer from the county asked the wind
      developers to pay about $12,000 per megawatt based on a set price and a percentage of

      Post a Comment View All Comments
      I know all about white noise and that people can mask out noise. We all do it all tthe time
      in this now too noisy world. However, I do not think it is necessary that we do more of it.
      One of the greatest thingsa about living out in the country is that particular silence that is
      only the quiet sound of the slight breeze and the songs of birds. No other noise heard.
      That is called peace. Peace is what people need when they go away from the city noise to
      meditate. Why should they have to get used to extraneous noise?

      The monastery builders did not know that there would be wind turbines when they bought
      their land, in the 30's, I believe. They were two guys, who had fled Russia in a bad time
      and wanted to start a monastery, so they worked and saved their money and they started
      it. It has grown. More lands have been bought, I believe, than they first held. However, who
      ever buys land enough to save themselves from future obnoxious building and noise?
      Almost no one can afford that, only the very rich. They certainly could not.

      My feeling is that if New York City needs all that electricity, that the best place to build the
      turbines is on the tops of all those tall buildings on Long Island. That would save the
      expense of building towers and bases for them. They would have their power right at
      hand. There is a lot of wind on the sea coast. They would work there as well as in

      As to the jobs, there will be few after they are built and the builders will likely come from
      other places. I would expect that these companies have builders who do this sort of
      project for them all the time. As to money, we will in the long run, lose money on this
      deal. We are giving up a lot for a little gain. Donne Veeder

      Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 9:23 pm
      I find the issue here is not one of religious beliefs, but of the rest of us outside the
      monastary. The monastary order chose to build in Jordanville, rather than the Adirondack
      Park, or to buy enough land to protect themselves. The APA has strict rules that would
      forbid the problems the monastary is facing. The monastary could have bought the land to
      protect their needs. It was their choices that allowed the problem to happen. If the wind
      farm is not built then there will be a loss of jobs, tax revenue and clean energy. I doubt
      that the monastary is willing or able to replace these losses.

      Fortunately, the nature of religion is tolerance and acceptance. This makes it likely that a
      suitable arrangement can be worked out. Part of organizing a project of this order is
      allowing for such arrangements at the initial design stage. Trees are great visual and
      sound barriers, turbine placement and easements may be options to help also.

      The human mind is a very versatile instrument. When faced with a constant background
      noise the mind is capable of ignoring it in a short time. A technique called 'masking' puts a
      low level 'white noise' in an area. This sound, combined with the human mind, will block
      nearby conversations from being heard, and the noise is virtually unnoticeable unless you
      are trained to listen for it. The steadiness of the sound is what will make it less
      bothersome than people who are used to quiet realize. In a short time it may actually be
      less noticeable than a truck to the human mind. Meditation, by it's nature, will set the
      mind to filter out the noise as part of the procedure. A mind may even use the slow,
      steady pace of the turbine blades to settle and relax itself.

      Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 11:18 pm
      There's a big difference between disrupting an established community's lifestyle and
      disrupting someone else's plans. The Jordanville monastery is a treasure that contributes
      to this region's cultural diversity and helps set us apart from other places in the country.

      Herkimer County needs to decide what is more valuable: community character or money.


      Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 11:03 pm
      It is rediculous to compare belief in God with belief in wind turbines. It is like comparing
      apples and oranges to the n'th degree. Meditation requires peace and quiet, which will not
      be available if the huge wind turbines are in view and within hearing. Concerning the
      trucks from the stone quarry, we have all been used to all sorts of vehicles traveling by for
      ages. Most do not hear them. They drive by and are gone. These huge turbines will be a
      constant, immovable presenc, not even close to being like a truck.

      There is such a thing as visual pollution and there is also sound pollution. Like the
      monstor from the black lagoon, hese huge turbines will be very hard to ignore. We also
      need to remember that when land is profaned, it rarely is brought back to its original
      beauty. We, in this country, take little head of the beauty of our landscape. We have
      learned to be a throw-away culture. We throw trash on the sides of our roads; we leave
      junk around in empty lots. This project , if carried out, will make this part of NYState ,
      along the Jordanville Rd and surrounds, a throw-away piece of land. This land is not trash
      and the residents are not trash and should not be treated as such.

      D. C. Veeder

      Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 10:23 pm
      The founders of the Monestary came to America in seach of freedom to practice their
      beliefs. The people involved in the Jordanville Wind Project should have the same right.
      Our belief is that the world will be a cleaner place to live if we are able to introduce new
      forms of renewable energy and that other communities will follow in our footsteps.
      Besides helping the local economy we will be helping future generations. Our children and
      grandchildren have the right to a clean bright future.

      I find it hard to believe that there is no opposition to the Stone Quarry lwhich is located
      about a mile away from them. Their lights must disturb them and the emissions from the
      trucks passing near their properties have to bother them. They are not complaning about
      these things along with noise from the trucks yet somehow they have the idea that
      Windmillls are going to damage their quality of life.

      We gave your founders a chance to ful-fill their dreams, give us a chance to ful-fillfill ours.

      Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 5:13 pm
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