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Litchfield supervisor quits over wind power debate

Tensions around wind power are causing Litchfield Town Supervisor, Wayne Casler, to step down.
via Flickr
Tensions around wind power are causing Litchfield Town Supervisor, Wayne Casler, to step down.

The rural farming town of Litchfield, located southeast of Utica, is divided when it comes to wind power. Supervisor Wayne Casler is in favor of wind power, and has been shepherding the town government toward writing new laws to govern wind power.

He’s faced strong opposition from a NIMBY constituency and a large number of residents accused him standing to benefit from wind development. Now he’s had it, and said he’s resigning at the end of the month.

Town Board member Jim Entwistle had prodded Casler to remove himself from drafting the new wind law, accusing him of having a conflict of interest. Entwistle’s argument is that if new wind turbines are built, the construction company Casler works for would stand to benefit from the business.

Casler wouldn’t budge, saying there isn’t a conflict of interest. Entwistle told the Utica OD that he’s shocked over his resignation.

“I thought he had a conflict of interest with the wind proposal, and I stated that. But it’s just disappointing that he has to resign over one issue after 23 years of service.”

The town paid an attorney near Buffalo to examine the issue, who came to the conclusion that there appeared to be no conflict of interest.

The town is scheduled to hold its next wind ordinance planning meeting next Tuesday, November 16.

Innovation Trail alumnus Ryan Morden is originally from Seattle. He graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor's in journalism, minoring in political science and Scandinavian studies. Morden was Morning Edition producer and reporter at WRVO before moving over to the Innovation Trail project. Before landing at WRVO, Morden covered the Washington State legislature as a correspondent for Northwest News Network (N3), a group of nine NPR affiliates in the northwest.
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