People have been fighting wind turbines in Nantucket Sound ever since they were proposed almost a decade ago but now land-based turbines on Cape Cod have an organized foe.
Windwise Cape Cod, composed at present of 25 or so folks, has coalesced to battle the “irresponsible siting of industrial wind turbines on the Cape, the Islands and the South Coast.”
“The only thing green about green energy is the money people make promoting it,” declared Preston Ribnick of Wellfleet, one of the founders of the group and an opponent of the Wellfleet turbine that was to have been sited on town land in Cape Cod National Seashore. “We just want people to be informed.”
“Our goal as an organization is to inform local residents about the realities of industrial wind turbines and the very negative effects they can have on health, safety and our environment,” the group’s President Sheila K. Bowen of Harwich, said in a statement.
Despite their relative youth as a group they will host a free lecture series at Cape Cod Community College beginning next Thursday at 7 p.m. with a talk by physicist John Droz, “Our Energy Future: Determined by Science or Lobbyists?”
“What they, the governor and Ian Bowles and the current administration in the White House, want is to make Cape Cod and energy zone,” said Ribnick. “By 2020 the want 20 percent of the energy in the state to come from renewable sources, most of that from wind. They’ll have to install 3,000 turbines.”
According the Ribnick most of the turbines will be on Cape Cod or in the Berkshires, another hotbed of opposition.
“This will completely alter the landscape of Cape Cod,” Ribnick said. “The other side is very unequivocal about what they want. That’s why the administration and wants the Wind Energy Siting Reform Act.”
The bill (Senate bill 2260) is currently being blocked by Republicans in the state senate. It is being promoted by Ian Bowles and the office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and would streamline the approval process for local turbines. Instead of going before multiple boards over a period of years developers of projects over 2 megawatts would appear before one board that has representatives of the local conservation commission, zoning board, planning board etc. and get one permit.
The state Electrical Facilities Siting Board will issue one permit covering all state approvals. In response to concerns about local control the bill was modified so the EFSB the can’t overrule the town however the EFSB will devise a list of criteria for approval or rejection the local town board must follow and the developer may appeal a negative decision to the state Supreme Court on that basis.
“Almost all of the state reps on the Cape voted against this legislation,” Ribnick said.
But it passed the house and Senate but was to late to be signed by the governor in this session, Senate President Therese Murray has tried to pass it in informal session but it must be unanimous and the Republicans have blocked it.
“This would fast track the whole process and what we would see on the Cape is something no one could comprehend today,” Ribnick said. “These are giant industrial wind energy machines. There is global and growing awareness that wind energy is just the wrong solution. In Europe they’re turning against wind.”
Ribnick said that people living near turbines have complained of illnesses (people suffering from migraines or epilepsy are especially at risk) and noise and been unable to sell their homes. The energy produced is also much more expensive.
“For every green job created two plus jobs are lost because of high energy prices,” Ribnick said.
“If we don’t stop what’s going to happen it will forever change Cape Cod,” Ribnick said. “Five years from now the Cape will be complexly different. And what about the impact on the bird population and bat populations? Where these things go in you don’t see any wildlife. This will change the quality of life.”
“This lecture series is just the first step in our effort to be a valued resource providing the facts about industrial wind turbines to residents of the Cape, Islands and South Coast,” Bowen said. “In many cases, the only information about industrial wind power has come from wind developers and those paid by wind energy companies. We’re pleased to bring these leading independent experts to our community to provide information based on the facts about living with industrial wind turbines.”
Oct. 7, John Droz, physicist, “Our Energy Future: Determined by Science or Lobbyists?”
Oct. 14, Eleanor Tillinghast, environmental advocate and co-founder of Green Berkshires Inc. “The Massachusetts Wind Rush!”
Oct. 21, Dr. Michael A. Nissenbaum, “Health Issues Associated with Wind Turbines.”
All lectures at 7 p.m. Thursdays at Cape Cod College, Route 132, West Barnstable (Exit 6 off Route 6), in Science Lecture Hall A, near Parking Lot 7.
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