George Baker’s recent comments to the press strike the wrong chord for those of us who have spent the last year living with the constant sound of turbine noise and the discontent/controversy within the Vinalhaven community. Baker, of Fox Island Wind and the Island Institute, is quoted in the Free Press as saying:
“We will absolutely comply with state laws,” said Baker. “If it comes to needing to turn the turbines down, we will do that. I hope that doesn’t happen. It will cost electric rate payers a lot of money if we do.”
Compliance with state regulations is not optional and the ratepayers of the Fox Islands Electric Co-op would expect their co-op to be run within the law. Baker admits that by following state law, Vinalhaven rate payers will lose the savings FIW promised. If Baker really cared about the ratepayers of Vinalhaven, one would think he would have listened to the advice he received in 2008 from Resource Systems Engineering in Brunswick that suggested that turbine noise would be an issue and that the Vinalhaven wind farm site was “relatively compact.” Responsible planning and siting would have included adequate margins for error so that FIW could easily afford to adjust the turbines if need be.
However, like a gambler, he threw the noise dice into the wind turbine mix, gambling with islanders’ personal lives, their homes, and the community electrical rates when economic times are tough. He has chosen to lay the blame for his poor planning and lack of foresight wherever he can find a convenient scapegoat.
It is time that George Baker stop complaining and offer an apology to the Vinalhaven community. It is time for him to accept responsibility for his actions, roll up his sleeves, and begin to solve the problem he created. Those of us who are caught in the web that Baker wove are eager to hear solutions that can make the Fox Islands Wind project the success he promised.
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