WELLFLEET – The Wellfleet selectmen, who on March 30 killed the possibility of an industrial wind turbine in town, voted on Tuesday to send a letter to state Sen. Rob O’Leary and state Rep. Sarah Peake, urging them to kill House Bill 4687, the Wind Energy Siting Reform Act.
They were warned about this act several weeks earlier by two citizens who had opposed the Wellfleet turbine, and Selectman Ira Wood drafted the letter which the board then agreed to send to O’Leary and Peake. In the letter, Wood mentioned that the state Senate had already passed the wind energy legislation but that the House had not taken action on it yet.
“This is an act relative to comprehensive planning for land-based wind turbines,” Wood said. Quoting from the letter to O’Leary and Peake, he continued, “The Wellfleet Board of Selectmen is writing to ask you to oppose this act. It is our opinion that this bill is not in the best interests of the citizens of Wellfleet or the Commonwealth.”
The letter points out that the act “waives all state and local laws, bylaws and regulations, including those regarding health, safety and local zoning for wind energy projects; allows the [state] Energy Facilities Siting Board to override local decisions on the siting of industrial wind turbines and associated infrastructures such as roads and transmission lines; exempts wind facilities from environmental laws that others must follow, and replaces those with standards that can be applied or waived at the discretion of the Energy Facilities Siting Board.”
Wood’s letter also observes that the bill “prohibits the traditional rights of participation in the Energy Facilities Siting Board permit review process. Although we are well aware that government must take action on the production of clean energy, we find this to be an affront to the concept of home rule, and ask that you take whatever steps are necessary to prevent passage of this act.”
The board voted unanimously to send the letter.
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