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Blanket wind bans

Some communities in Franklin County and elsewhere in western Massachusetts have recently decided to post signs that say “wind farms need not apply” when it comes to renewable energy sources.

Frankly, although we understand the need to regulate such installations, we’re not quite sure why blanket bans are necessary.

Heath is the latest town to fall in line with this sort thinking as residents consider a proposed bylaw from the town’s Renewable Energy Advisory Committee that outlaws big turbines. Although it is possible residents will reject the recommendations, we wouldn’t bet on it.

Not when such energy production attached to wind farms continues to be branded “commercial” ... a tag that some apparently consider distasteful.

In examining the wind turbine issue, the committee eyed a number of factors, including possible health effects and what might be expected to happen to property values. These are the type of impacts that bylaws are expected to help mitigate, ones that should be aimed at a balance between those interested in erecting the turbines and neighboring properties.

But where such considerations start to go off course is when people decide that because a wind farm proposal may generate electricity for use beyond Heath it should be prohibited, particularly if someone is going to profit from this venture.

It’s as if anything that has a whiff of private enterprise involved stinks from the get-go.

That’s far from true.

Such thinking ignores the large role industry and private enterprise have played in the creation of this nation and in providing the goods and services that people use. This includes generating electrical power.

This view also pays little attention to the concept of putting the greater good ahead of the self-interests expressed by the NIMBY (not in my backyard) attitude. While there are clearly people who see large wind turbines as monstrosities plaguing the landscape, there are others who see a bylaw allowing each property owner the possibility of erecting a smaller wind turbine on their land as creating another kind of neighborhood nightmare.

Industrial or individual, private or public, it should all be a matter of balance in protecting the common well-being, and renewable energy sources should be a national priority.

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