BRIMFIELD – While opponents of a proposed wind farm atop West Mountain were claiming victory when selectmen decided Wednesday night not to take $30,000 from First Wind, a company spokesman said First Wind has not backed away from the project.
John R. LaMontagne said the company is still looking at the site near Steerage Rock.
“We’re still evaluating what our next steps are,” Mr. LaMontagne, director of corporate communications for First Wind, said last night. “We’re still interested in Brimfield.”
The group has a tower at the site that is collecting data on wind speed and weather to determine if placing eight to 10 400-foot turbines would be feasible.
Members of No Brimfield Wind, a vocal ad hoc group opposed to the project, spoke out during the selectmen’s meeting Wednesday. Board members were deciding whether to accept $30,000 from the company to fund local studies of the project.
Some residents said they would rather pay for the studies themselves than take the funding from First Wind. Selectmen, and Mr. LaMontagne, said there would be no strings attached to the money, but opponents said they did not feel comfortable with that deal.
Mr. LaMontagne said representatives from the company heard the concerns, though it is too early to tell if some of the issues will be factors at the Brimfield site.
Unless a new law handing oversight of such projects to the state is passed, First Wind would need town meeting approval for a zoning change to build the towers.
Residents who spoke out Wednesday said they would also work to defeat changes to local bylaws that would clear the way for the project.
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