DAVID PLOTZ’S MEGA-article on Georgetown University’s three-year effort to obtain city approval for its proposed cogeneration facility (“Power Failure,” 10/15) provides a good overview of the process, but it contains a major fallacy.
Plotz’s thesis is that the university is bad because it deceived the community about the size of the cogenerator and Dominion Energy’s role in the project. But, according to Plotz, opponents are equally bad because they havepromulgated “scientific” objections that “border on the demagogic” to a project that should win medals from environmentalists.
The fallacy in all this is that the opponents, who Plotz rightly identifies as “bordering on the demagogic,” are the major source of his information about the university’s alleged deceptions. Am I missing something here?
As an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in Georgetown from 1989-92, I was present at public meetings at which the university presented the cogeneration project to the community, and have read virtually everything that the university has written about the project over the last four years.
From the outset, Georgetown made clear that Dominion is an investor in the project, and that Dominion will sell the electricity that the project cogenerated to Pepco. And, despite opponents’ claims to the contrary, the size of the cogeneration facility hasn’t changed since the day the university first presented it, as the Board of Zoning Adjustment confirmed when it specifically considered opponents’ claims on this issue.
My mother always told me that you can never trust someone who has lied, because you never know when they are telling the truth. Although Plotz noticed that the leading opponents of the cogenerator had very long noses, he was taken in just the same.