Library from Massachusetts
Morality over money: That was the overriding theme in what was a rather civil Jan. 23 meeting held by the Falmouth Board of Selectmen, in which they heard public comments on the town's two wind turbines.
If passed, the bill would establish two funds using money from the current Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust Fund. One fund would set aside $15 million for residents, businesses and towns that incurred losses such as negative health effects and property loss.
Tuesday night, Prospect Street resident Mark Wheeler told the Board of Selectmen that he had not heard from Ruiz, although he had done as requested and submitted medical evidence of harm to his family. He said they are asking for some relief, and he's losing faith that the government will deliver.
Just as we blame the poor for their poverty, we seem compelled to blame the victims of Big Wind for their own illness. Apostles of the wind industry, like Dr. Dora Mills, Dr. Robert McCunney and Australia's Professor Simon Chapman, are only too happy to furnish the tacit explanations needed to justify blaming these victims for their own plight. These typically include psychosomatic causes, hypochondria, delusions, and other forms of mental illness.
Five days after receiving a report from the panel charged with finding options to mitigate complaints related to wind turbines, selectmen heard plenty of public comment on the hot-button topic Wednesday night.
That room has a 43-person capacity and, per a list of 14 "procedural rules" passed by the board last week, a police officer will be stationed inside the room throughout the three-hour-long hearing in order to remove anyone who is disruptive and to ensure the room does not become overcrowded.
Prior to the meeting, dozens of residents held a candle light vigil and prayed that the selectmen would not only hear their voices, but also take immediate action to stop what they described as a nuisance and danger to their health. Nearly 50 residents voiced their opinion during the public comment session, with almost every comment opposing the future operation of the turbines.
He then returned to his concerns about the wind turbines, asking Mr. Suso if his sustainable model assumed the machines would be running all the time. “Yes,” Mr. Suso said, adding that currently “we are running at a net loss. We’d go bankrupt and it would put us out of business” if that were to continue. He said the turbines are designed to be operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The public will have its say on the town’s wind turbines at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 23 – when the Falmouth Board of Selectmen will solicit public comments before it decides how to proceed with Falmouth’s two turbines, Wind 1 and Wind 2, located at the Falmouth Wastewater Treatment Facility.
The impetus for the escalation of health concern is born from inadequacies of zoning regulations recommended by wind energy promoters. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, a quasi-state agency focused on renewable energy development, has authored a state supported Wind Turbine Model Bylaw for municipalities considering wind energy projects. This is heralded as the state standard, yet more and more local boards of health are in a quandary.
The collective frustration of the residents, after months of complaining about health issues related to the turbines, was voiced by one audience member who shouted at the board after the vote: "Shame on you." The neighbors want operations ceased at the Independence turbine, a privately owned machine running since May on the town's landfill, and three turbines owned by local businesswoman Mary O'Donnell.
Curtailing operation between 10:30 p.m. and 7 a.m. could alleviate some neighbors' concerns about sleep loss they blame on the turbines, while still avoiding a net financial loss for the town, the report said. However, a continuation of the current policy of shutting the turbines off between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. could cause a five-year revenue loss of between $672,000 and $1.3 million.
A regulation being considered by Bourne, Falmouth, Scituate and Kingston would lower that level to six decibels for wind turbines. A draft regulation being considered by three of those towns would also include regulations to account for the "whooshing" nature of turbine sound, as well as regulations for infrasound, or sound that is inaudible to humans.
"I am the very definition of a person aggrieved." Rosemarie Austin, co-defendant in the Aquacultural Research Corporation vs. Old King's Highway Regional Historic District Commission trial in Orleans District Court this week, repeated these words throughout her closing statement shortly before noon on Thursday, Jan. 17.
"The court is not in a position to determine how often serious shadow effects occur at the plaintiffs' residence. The court is unable at present to determine the extent of the noise problem," Hely wrote in his decision. "At this stage of the case, the plaintiffs have not shown a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that the wind turbine is a public health nuisance that must be shut down. That issue is an open issue now pending before the board of health."
"Old King's Highway is about views and vistas as well as paint chips and shingle colors," she said. "I felt ARC had other options where to put the turbines." Austin said as the appellant she represents 92 people from Dennis and Yarmouth who formed an organization called Save Our Beaches in opposition to the proposed turbine.
A shellfish hatchery's effort to build a wind turbine near Chapin Memorial Beach in Dennis was back in Orleans District Court on Monday, with the company's vice president and co-owner arguing that the turbine would be a "financial security blanket" in the face of rising energy costs.
The postponement came in the wake of Tuesday's meeting, at which panel members were told that figures used to calculate the financial benefits of leaving the turbines running without curtailment were based on faulty methodology. New studies found that Wind 1 generates more power than previous tests have shown, according to Tony Rogers of DNV KEMA Energy & Sustainability, an expert employed to study the turbine's power generation.
A Brockton Superior Court judge will decide whether the Scituate wind turbine should continue to operate, after hearing arguments Monday afternoon from lawyers representing the town's Board of Health and a local family who complain of ill effects from the spinner.
A long-awaited project to power some of the Lynn Water and Sewer Commission plant by wind is steps to fruition, as city officials scoped out the pieces of a wind turbine Saturday that recently arrived from India.