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Yes to Cape Wind, no to ridgelines


To the Editor of The Eagle:

On Aug. 12, Gov. Mitt Romney announced that he would invite proposals for wind turbines to be located on state lands. The commonwealth owns most of the ridgelines within the Berkshires and I believe these behemoth wind turbines would be an inappropriate use of these lands.

For 34 years I was the director of the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, to which end I worked diligently to protect the ridgelines of the Berkshire hills, knowing that these ridgelines have everything to do with defining the Berkshires as a place. I co-authored the Scenic Mountain Act which was set into law at the behest of Sen. Jack Fitzpatrick with the hope that this legislation might assist in protecting these ridgelines from the most grotesque intrusions. I also assisted many landowners who collaborated in the protection of Yokun Ridge, which provides a scenic backdrop for Stockbridge, West Stockbridge, Richmond, and Lenox. Finally, I put in years of effort to assure that Mount Greylock, Massachusetts’ highest mountain and oldest state park, would remain an icon that defines wilderness at a time when it is quickly disappearing.

Lest one feel that I am unaware of the multiple advantages of windpower as an alternative to fossil fuel, let me state that I vigorously support Cape Wind’s proposal to develop 130 wind turbines off the coast of Nantucket island. Horseshoe Shoals, the location of this project, is removed from the coastline.

Renowned for their steady winds, these shoals are ideally suited for wind turbines. To date there is little evidence that these turbines would impair the ecology of the shoals. Siting wind turbines off shore is common throughout northern Europe.

The major obstacle to siting Cape Winds turbines is their proximity to Nantucket, one of our nation’s wealthiest communities and a place known to be a fueling station for political campaign contributions to those who are running for statewide and national office. To date the only gubernatorial candidates who have pledged to support Cape Wind are Chris Gabrieli and Deval Patrick.

If the Cape Wind project with its 130 turbines were built Massachusetts would lead the Northeast in its commitment to windpower and in doing so the political enthusiasm for the turbines which are being recommended for the Berkshire hills, might quickly dissipate. I urge readers to speak out for the protection of our ridgelines and call upon the political leadership to support Cape Wind.

George Wislocki

Pittsfield, Aug. 25, 2006

The writer was a member of the commonwealth’s Energy Facilities Siting Council from 1978 to 1983.