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Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Sanctuary Turbine on Hold for Now

October 2, 2013

The Massachusetts Audubon Society sought variances from the town of Wellfleet and the Cape Cod Commission to build a wind turbine on its Sanctuary grounds. Just before the two hearings, Mass Audubon asked for delays. The November 21, 2013 Zoning Board of Appeals meeting would be the next opportunity for Mass Audubon to make its case for a variance of the town’s 65-foot height restriction. (The Audubon Society had also postponed a related hearing before a regulatory committee of the Cape Cod Commission).

Mary Ann Bragg, reporting in the Cape Cod Times, described the  turbine proposal (9/19/13):

In mid-June the Audubon Society applied for two variances to the town’s zoning bylaws for the installation of a Gaia-Wind 133 wind turbine that would be placed on a 120-foot monopole tower, according to town records. The turbine has two blades and is typically used on farms or by small businesses or community projects. The society was seeking permission for the turbine as part of its commitment to use more renewable energy systems and conserve more energy. The variances requested were for tower height and diameter of the rotor.

no-Wellfleet-turbine-sign-at-bike-pathAccording to her article, sanctuary director Robert Prescott believes  opposition to the turbine is because of the short timeline of the permitting process and that the project itself is not in question.

Contradicting that assumption are the many letters and editorial comments people who wrote to various Cape Cod publications. An article by Marilyn Miller appeared in the print Cape Codder and and in the online Wicked Local Wellfleet (“Many oppose Mass Audubon turbine plans” 9/8/13). It details the opposition that the Massachusetts Audubon Society has encountered while trying to erect the wind turbine in their Wellfleet Sanctuary.

In a guest commentary “Audubon’s turbine plan disturbing” (8/2/13), Mike Rice wrote:

…according to its website, Wellfleet Audubon’s woodlands attract a wide variety of wildlife, especially songbirds and shorebirds. Also according to its website, in order to avoid conflicts of nature there’s no hunting, fishing or trapping along with some motorized vehicles allowed at the Audubon as well. But apparently a wind turbine isn’t in conflict with nature? Really? That position strikes me as being totally indefensible along with being absolutely absurd!

In another opinion piece, “Wellfleet isn’t fooled by Audubon’s turbine spin” in Cape Cod Online (9/25/13), Eric Bibler wrote:

The proposed wind turbine would be much larger than ones in neighboring towns. And none of those other wind turbines have been erected in the heart of a wildlife preserve — which is one of the chief objections to the radical Mass Audubon proposal.

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Jim Wiegand permalink
    October 19, 2013 11:51 am

    Audubon has completely sold out their founding cause to the save and preserve bird species. They are a disgrace and it is time for the people that really are trying to protect bird species to completely abandon this group. It is the only option. They have taken wind energy money and there are stings attached that will forever change the way this group operates.

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