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2011 Year in Review

January 1, 2012

Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts, a fledgling alliance that joins together grassroots groups fighting industrial wind proposals around the state, had an eventful 2011.

There were significant high points, in particular the tabling of the siting act known as WESRA. This threat to municipal control was averted when state Senate President Therese Murray changed her view and Senator Ben Downing, the chair of the legislative committee where WESRA was heard, sent the bill to study soon after.

These reversals were a direct result of citizen involvement. Activism convinced boards to take actions that reduce the chance of siting wind turbines near people. The Cape Cod Commission adopted setbacks and called for noise study before siting. The Central MA town of Charlton adopted setbacks and height restrictions. The combination of economic realities and resident opposition led Dartmouth to end its project, Brewster to opt for solar over wind, and First Wind to withdraw its proposal for Brimfield.

The documentary Windfall filled halls across the state and added visual evidence to the many factors that dispute the environmental and economic claims for industrial turbines.

There were also low points, with people in Falmouth suffering from two existing turbines and anticipating a third. Their plight is revealed in the interview series conducted by Dr. Nina Pierpont, who describes symptoms like theirs as “wind turbine syndrome.” The Department of Environmental Protection issued one set of noise regulations that ignore sub-audible sound and another that would allow turbines to be sited next to drinking water sources. Together with the Department of Public Health, they convened a wind “science” panel of “experts” who appear to be wind proponents and who continue to operate in secrecy.

From the Cape to the Berkshires, local groups educated their communities and organized to bring out members. Scores testified in Boston, Barnstable and Hancock. Hundreds crowded town and regional meetings. Without the vital work of local groups all over the Commonwealth, there would be costly, hazardous, and foolish industrial wind developments springing up in a community near you.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 5, 2012 11:52 pm

    Iowa Classic Plays in Falmouth

    Trouble, oh we got trouble, Right here in River City! (Falmouth) With a capital “T” (turbines), that rhymes with “C”, and that stands for Consensus Building!

    The Turbine turbulence has all the makings of a municipal masterpiece. “Falmouth is Gone – With the Wind.”

    Selectmen explore Consensus Building at the ice cream social while deciding on the Mitigation flavor of the month. “What will produce appropriate Town protections, as well as the best bang for the buck?” is seemingly the looming question.

    The Audience read the Selectmen as intelligent, open-minded, and genuinely concerned with their constituent’s welfare and best interest. But, alas, as the plot develops, the Audience is caught wondering why the Board remains slavishly attached to Mass Clean Energy Center (MCEC) and their ineffectual wind turbine advise.

    The MCEC (previously the alter-ego – Mass Technology Collaborative) sold Falmouth a Bernie Madoff-ish Ponzi wind turbine scheme. (Harold Hill and marching band instruments and uniforms didn’t quite capture the magnitude of required drama)

    The plot thickens. Will Selectmen trust this outfit? The audience senses that history can’t repeat itself. Can it? They throw pop-corn and urge Selectmen to look at the MCEC’s soiled past offers of advise.

    Oh wait! Oh No! Selectmen are convinced. The MCEC offers to help Falmouth again, only this time, at their own expense! The audience is flabbergasted. Selectmen are jubilant – again!

    Will the twist and turmoil, after everything the MCEC has done for Falmouth. ever end?

    Oh Boy..pinch me! (fade to Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind”)

    Critics review: (the Selectmen did ask, after all)

    Does it really take another layer of “taxpayer skin”? Really? The Audience knew the solution before these two bit chumps knew it was Monday. The conflict is too obvious, the solution too pre-ordained. Turbines, causing damaging health and well being disruption to residents, are simply a function of bad siting location!

    Two thumbs down. Wasting audience time, and money on this, forces this critic to ask – is Falmouth Town Hall that “dense”? It’s an OK comedy at best. The fade music at the end is appropriate.

    Mark J. Cool
    Fire Tower Rd
    Falmouth, Ma

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