“Facts are to the mind what food is to the body.” – Edmund Burke
It is not wise to make judgments without facts, as has been done by the Morning Sentinel in its recent editorial about wind power projects.
Many people, including the editors of the Sentinel, think that the group of neighbors who oppose the wind turbine project in Freedom do so because they do not want it in their backyard.
The issue is far more complicated than that.
Here are some of the facts that the Sentinel should have researched if it were to write a legitimate editorial.
Competitive Energy Services has created a limited liability company, Beaver Ridge Wind, to own this project. As the name implies, the owner’s liability is limited to only one asset – the turbine project. This also makes it easy for Competitive Energy Services to sell off its project to a larger organization so it can take advantage of the income tax shelter benefits.
There is also the possibility that things will not go as planned and bankruptcy will occur. This is a real fear because Beaver Ridge has been classified as a wind zone two, and most industry experts recommend siting wind projects in areas identified as a wind zone four or higher for the best profits.
We have no commitment from the company to remove the turbines and restore land if they become no longer economic to operate and the lucrative tax benefits have been exhausted.
We are worried that Beaver Ridge Wind will then not want to retain ownership and/or spend the money needed to maintain production as wind turbines age and repair or replacement costs rise, as has happened in other areas. At that point, the company may resell or perhaps even abandon the project.
Without the town of Freedom’s commercial site ordinance, its residents have nothing in place to protect us from this scenario.
We are also worried about living in the shadow of the huge machines and experiencing their noise.
“Sometimes the turbines make a gentle whoosh, but there are times when they make such a thumping that it will drive you crazy,” said Wendy Todd of Mars Hill, who lives about the same distance from turbines as Freedom residents would if the turbines were erected.
“It wakes us up; it keeps us from getting and going back to sleep. On days when it is bad, it becomes difficult to do anything that requires quiet. Reading, homework, even visits with friends and family have been interrupted by the repetitive rush and thump of the turbine blades.
“It’s not just us, there are 17 other families who live about the same distance away who are experiencing the same things.
“Many wonder how they will be able to continue living in their homes if something isn’t done about noise levels,” she said.
These are just a few of the legitimate concerns we have that keep us working at protecting our way of life on Beaver Ridge.
Here is a quotation from your editorial: “You think you’re tired? Imagine how the volunteer, citizen members of these boards feel? Or the folks just trying to build their climate change-fighting, non-fossil-fuel-polluting windmills?”
I notice you did not mention us, the neighbors of this project, the people who will be affected the most. I can tell you that we are indeed very tired. We are tired of the misinformation that has been circulating and of people ignoring all the research we have done because they think we are a biased source.
Why is only information from those who will make large profits at our expense accepted as completely accurate?
There IS another side to this story.
Mary Ann Bennett lives in Freedom
8 October 2007
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