More Questions and Thank Yous

Thank you to Michael Bartoszek for your response to the questions I posted about Laidlaw’s intentions related to community gifts. Lou Bravakis, vice president of development for Laidlaw Berlin Biopower, called me Friday morning and gave similar answers, and he will be quoted in next week’s paper. Thank you to both Mr. Bartoszek and Mr. Bravakis for getting back to me in a timely fashion. The dialog is important, and I’m glad I can include it in the story. It is a shame it wasn’t included in the first article about the donation, but the daily covers many things I don’t and I am not about to criticize them.

Thank you also to Councilor Ryan Landry; he is correct, my choice of the word “criticism” wasn’t the best. Some committee members were looking for a more specific answer to the question of community support, not criticizing Laidlaw’s actions. The point was more that some corporations extract resources and profits from communities without investing in those communities, and they were looking to hear what Laidlaw’s commitment to community investment through charitable gifts and donations is. They weren’t calling Laidlaw’s past actions or future intentions inappropriate; they were looking for clarification. So thank you, Councilor Landry, for your clarification.

The Community EFSEC Advisory Committee wanted clarification on a number of Laidlaw’s answers, and committee chair Max Makaitis said Laidlaw would address the issues once the committee finished going through the list of answers. The committee completed its review Thursday, so there will likely be more in depth answers at the September 24 meeting.

The youth hockey donation provided an opportunity for me to ask Laidlaw some of the questions the committee had for them. It is possible those questions would have been answered by the responses that should be forthcoming, but as the Reporter’s reporter I won’t leave that to chance. Given the opening, I’ll ask the question. While I would love more specificity in Mr. Bartoszek’s and Mr. Bravakis’ answers, they’ve addressed the questions as carefully as any business person would. Honestly, I, and probably the rest of Berlin, would love to hear they plan to donate $100,000 a year to local groups. Or $250,000 a year. But no amount of tough questioning is likely to make that pipe dream come true.

But there is one more obvious question: What are Clean Power Development’s intentions on this topic? Did anyone ask them these questions? I haven’t been working in Berlin that long, so it’s possible they addressed them before I arrived, but I would like to hear CPD’s plans. In the same vein as Laidlaw, they are moving to Berlin to buy wood products and sell electrons, ostensibly at a profit. What contributions are they going to make to the community? Are large donations part of their plan?

The list of questions is easy enough, anybody from CPD care to take a crack at them?
Thank you, in advance.

Update: Clean Power’s Bill Gabler gave me a call to discuss what CPD is planning for charitable giving. It too will be in Wednesday’s Berlin Reporter.

2 thoughts on “More Questions and Thank Yous

  1. Perhaps the timing of asking CPD these questions is making even honest answers appear to be a political tug of war akin to a Presidential debate where promises will never be entirely specific, leaving wiggle room enough to say it's a waste of time. A matching donation to the Salvation army may be appreciated but hardly perceived as genuine any more than the Laidlaw donation is perceived to be genuine due to the timing of the questions. In light of PSNH's apparent pursuit to upgrade the Coos loop to 190 MW, what would be the impact of both companies operating in the north country? Perhaps Laidlaw, Clean Power and Fraser could provide some statistics and answers to the following questions:Question for Fraser or anyone else with information on this: How many trucks per day delivered to the Burgess mill site and during what hours of the day? Question for Laidlaw and Clean Power: How many trucks per day will deliver to your facility and during what hours of the day? What routes will these trucks travel locally?Question for Fraser or anyone else with this data: What does NH have for standards of acceptable emissions from an existing pulp mill and what were the emissions from the Burgess pulp mill?Question for Laidlaw and Clean Power: What are acceptable emission levels from biomass plants? Do existing boilers need to meet the same standards as new plants?Question for Fraser: While the pulp mill was in operation, what was the acceptable noise level by NH standards and the noise level of the mill?Question for Laidlaw and Clean Power: Does NH have acceptable noise levels in place for biomass facilities, and what will be the noise level of your facilities?Question for Laidlaw and Clean Power: Can a biomass company receive Renewable energy credits from burning entire trees or having to drive great distances to obtain wood?Question for Laidlaw: With so many wood studies having been made public that question sustainability issues, why haven't you produced your own study in the past three years to counter these claims?Question for Laidlaw and Clean Power: What will be the impact of steam and emissions from your plants in the valley? Because of residential neighborhoods high on the hills surrounding your proposed plants will this create icing of streets on higher grades or health problems for those in close proximity to the stack height?Question of Laidlaw and Clean Power: What can happen to your businesses and other biomass businesses if too many facilities are operating in a given area?Question for Clean Power: Since Laidlaw is proposing to go forward with converting the mill into a biomass facility and you were offered to do the same, why didn't you decide to retrofit what's existing rather than building from scratch?Question for Laidlaw and Clean Power: In light of the fact that tourists have grown accustomed to virtually crystal clear days on the mountain summits, what impact as to visibility of the White Mountains (such as Mt. Washington) will your facilities have?Question for Laidlaw and Clean Power: Are you willing to guaranty that chipping will never take place at your plants?

  2. I would love it if everyone who leaves a comment would leave their name as well. Let's have open dialog and debate. I won't change the preferences to force you to write your name, but come on people.My name is printed next to everything I write. I get letters and criticism for what I post and what shows up in the paper. The entire community gets to hear people call me out when I screw up. Having my name attached to it keeps me honest. Please, if you want to comment here, do the same. If you aren't willing to put your name, think hard about what you are writing. When I see you in Berlin, or anywhere else, I want to be able to continue a face to face discussion, even if I don't agree with you.I have to admit, Norm Charest and Jon Edwards have been dogged in their criticism of Laidlaw, which at times has been tiresome, but when I go to Berlin we can still look each other in the eye and continue the dialog. I like that. Can we try to do that here please?Thank you.And Clean Power, I'd still love those answers. I don't want the discussion to get off track.

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