Hearing: Major crowd sends message

Two thousand and five hundred people in attendance. What an impressive number. What an overwhelming showing.

Wow.

To put that number of 2,500 in perspective, readers must consider that number amounts to 11 percent of the combined population of both Dunkirk and Fredonia. Those residents filled the Williams Center at Fredonia State University on Monday evening during the Public Service Commission hearing on plans to repower NRG Energy Inc’s Dunkirk plant or upgrade lines for National Grid.

Many of those in attendance stayed past 9 p.m., with a majority voicing support for the NRG project.

“I want the people here tonight to know that this is the proudest moment of my time representing you,” state Sen. Catharine Young noted during her testimony at the event. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for coming together and getting involved. Your community needed your help, and here you are. It truly is your time to shine.”

Members of the Public Service Commission were also impressed as the event was delayed for 20 minutes as the overflow crowd continued to enter. Hundreds made comments on paper while another 80 residents requested to speak at the event, which went until 11 p.m.

It was our “time to shine.” Boy, did we ever.