Jordanville Monastery vs. Wind Turbines
- 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 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,
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
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
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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