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Little grasp of the facts

Editorial wrong on Heath, wind power

The Heath Renewable Energy Advisory Committee has prepared a factually based, informed report and recommendation. It is based upon a careful and exemplary cost/benefit risk assessment and referenced to ample available data. Reading their excellent report delivers logical reasoning and it is an informed and astute argument for their conclusion: recommend banning of industrial wind in Heath.

The committee has discovered that the minimum noise and infra sound setback distance from participating properties is two miles and there are thus no places for industrial turbines in Heath. The Recorder editorial’s implication that the Heath Advisory Committee report is not fully informed and its recommendations unnecessary ignore the factual evidence underlying this advice. Despite your claim, it would appear that solid factual analysis is unworthy of consideration as the basis for editorializing.

We are suspicious, based on your editorial, that you sufficiently enough understand the need to carefully regulate industrial wind. You do not seem to grasp the fact that IWTs don’t and cannot displace the need for other sources of power production such as coal-gas fired and nuclear plants.

With due respect, The Recorder must take greater care with its inaccurate and for what some consider inflammatory words. Attempting to dismiss others and their points of view by the derogatory labeling, as “self-interest NIMBY,” discredits you, whom we would hope would base conclusions on substantive facts rather than name-calling.

Intelligent, careful fact-based analysis has noting to do with being “for” or “against.” It has to do with, in this case, arriving at conclusions that are supported by unbiased evidence ... and then transparently sharing both the process and the rationale for the stated conclusions.

Industrial wind, upon even cursory investigation, shows a trail of growing destruction and alarming inefficiency worldwide. Being cautious and protective in relation to Heath’s people, enterprises, environment and fiscal health is a long-standing and cherished New England tradition.

Arriving at the conclusion that Industrial Wind is not a rational or wise approach to reducing our carbon footprint does not imply for a second that they do not seek and embrace viable and truly sustainable energy alternatives. They simply wish their sustainable choices and investments to actually work and do little harm.

Is it not conceivable that the literally hundreds of thousands of groups fighting to stop industrial wind around the world have legitimate points and concerns? These groups are growing by the hour and should not and cannot to be dismissed with a NIMBY moniker.

The thesaurus says a commercial enterprise is — “the activity of providing goods and services involving financial and commercial and industrial aspects.” Wind installation finances are counted in millions, sometimes billions, of dollars. These projects exceed almost all other commercial activities. There is no branding done or even necessary in order to consider industrial wind a “commercial activity.” It is the scale of this clearly commercial activity that understandably threatens Heath’s citizens.

In terms of true attempted branding, your selectively using the corporate and wind industry derived term “Wind Farm” illustrates your preferred, perhaps only sources. A farm is “an area of land and its buildings used for growing crops and rearing animals.” An industrial installation of 400- and soon to be 600-foot machines is simply not a “friendly farm” under any guise.

The major issue you overlook in the Heath’s contemplation of health and property value impacts is that industrial wind’s area of impact is necessarily so extensive (measured in square miles) and in many cases harsh and unmanageable, that normal zoning techniques cannot sufficiently account for it.

Most of this impact is nonparticipating properties. All of these properties with life time investments attached. The property value in Heath has, by direct extension, a lot to do with Heath’s economic viability. The Heath Advisory Committee has determined that it difficult if not impossible to “strike a balance” between participating and nonparticipating properties. Exactly how many people and properties need to suffer and be maimed before it is too much? Who will they be?

To answer your question, Why are blanket bans necessary, simply talk to people in Massachusetts communities of Falmouth, Kingston, Scituate, Fairhaven, Dartmouth, Plymouth, Orleans, Nantucket, Hanover, Princeton, Florida, Monroe and Bourne.

Perhaps you can answer a simple question that no other industrial wind proponent has yet responded to. What are three or four peer-reviewed sources that allow you the publicly pronounced conviction that industrial wind is a good and makes any appreciable difference in carbon dioxide reduction? (This being the prime reason used to justify industrial winds existence.)

Please allow the possibility that all of us genuinely concerned with industrial wind are also focused on the same better future, one that sees all life and environment as precious.

Walter Cudnohufsky, who lives in Ashfield, is a landscape architect and land and community planner.

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