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Candlelight Vigil to protest Selectmen Meeting with CPV, Tuesday February 26th, 2008

Competitive Power Ventures' attorney James Brady requested time on the Selectmen's agenda, and Chairman Albert DeNapoli initially granted CPV a 30-minute time slot during the Board Meeting that was held on Tuesday February 26th, 2008. This represents an extraordinary reversal of a unanimous December resolution which is summed up concisely in this excerpt from the board's December 11, 2007 letter to the landowner:

By unanimous vote (4-0-0), the Board voted to "inform Competitive Power Ventures in writing that the Town of Walpole will not enter into any form of payment in lieu of taxes negotiations or other any discussions related to the locating of a Power Plant in Walpole, and to further notify said firm of this Board's intent to oppose this proposal at all levels of local and state permitting as a means of conveying our strongest determination to protect our sole source drinking water aquifer and water supply."

We question why CPV was slipped onto the Agenda on such short notice, with no fanfare, and in direct violation of the Board's unanimous decision not to enter into "any discussions related to the locating of a Power Plant in Walpole."

Shortly before the meeting, the Board of Selectmen abruptly removed CPV from the agenda citing a lack of quorum. Three board members must be present in order to conduct business; Caron and Sullivan were absent and Winston had to recuse herself from power plant discussion, leaving only DeNapoli and Timson remaining. Instead, CPV used our senior center inside the town hall to hold a press conference, over the protests of Walpole taxpayers.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people of all ages stood outside the town hall in a cold drizzle holding a candlelight vigil to show their opposition to the power plant. The vigil organizers announced a petition containing over 2,000 signatures of Walpole residents who oppose the power plant, collected over a four day period. You can still sign this petition online at www.youarethepower.org.

You can find out what CPV wanted to say at the Board of Selectmen's meeting by reading their letter to the Walpole Board of Selectmen and press release. In summary, they modified their proposal to reduce the amount of water they plan to use for cooling, and to eliminate diesel fuel storage at the site. We note that these promises are not legally binding, and CPV could change these parameters again at any time, as they have with other power plant projects.

Neither CPV nor the Board of Selectmen have acknowledged that this meeting would have beein in violation of the board's December vote. Instead, both cited only the board's lack of quorum as the reason preventing CPV's presentation. We expect Chairman DeNapoli to reschedule CPV on the agenda at a future board meeting, so please send a message to the chairman to let him know how you feel about further meetings between the board and CPV.

A warm thank you to all who attended the vigil on short notice and in bad weather.

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