Informational forum on commercial wind turbines to be held, April 16 at the Housatonic Valley Regional High School
FALLS VILLAGE – The Berkshire-Litchfield Environmental Council (BLEC) will hold an informational forum on commercial wind turbines, April 16, at the Housatonic Valley Regional High School in Falls Village, CT, from 1 to 5 p.m.
Co-sponsors include the Housatonic Valley Association, Audubon/Sharon, Housatonic Environmental Action League, Housatonic Riverkeepers, Housatonic River Initiative, the Northwest Conservation District, and Green Berkshires.
Confirmed speakers are: keynote, Albert M. Manville, II, Ph.D. Senior Wildlife Biologist, Division of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to discuss bird and bat deaths near wind turbines and current federal recommendations for tower siting/mitigation; Madga Havas, Ph.D., professor of biology, University of Trent, Canada, regarding unintended environmental couplings of electromagnetic fields from wind turbines and their implications for humans and wildlife; Helen Parker, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and former supervisory faculty member at the University of Virginia Medical School, to discuss wind turbine syndrome from low frequency environmental infrasound; Tim Abbott, director of the Greenprints Initiative at the Housatonic Valley Association, to discuss planning/zoning regulations; and Eleanor Tillinghast, Green Berkshires, to discuss general siting concerns.
Also invited are: U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal on the balance between energy independence and environmental protection; U.S. Representative Christopher Murphy on federal stimulus dollars for renewable energy; CT Attorney General George Jepsen on the need for wind turbine regulation; Daniel C. Esty, Commissioner, CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection; John Fonfara, CT Senate co-chairman of the Energy and Technology Committee; and CT Senator Andrew Roraback and CT House Representative Roberta Willis on legislative initiatives.
“Other areas are far ahead of us on this,” said BLEC President, Starling W. Childs.” Connecticut is seeing applications for industrial-scale wind turbines for the first time. Everyone is for renewable energy but with fast moving structures that can top 500 feet, caution and intelligent siting become critical. Capturing wind is nothing like collecting solar. In our embrace of all-things-green, key environmental realities often get short shrift. We need an in-depth look at this nascent industry without resorting to blind obstructionism.”
Some of the issues to be addressed include: What is the real risk/benefit ratio of wind turbines? Does that ratio change in regions with less wind? What are the adverse effects to humans and other species from turbine spinning, increased ground current, low frequency sound, vibration, and light flicker to humans and other species, especially birds and bats? Are inland/wetland habitats more vulnerable with sentinel species like turtles, amphibians and fish? What about structural failure, fire, and ice throw? Are concerns primarily one of scale? Are some windmill designs better than others? What are reasonable ways to mitigate, legislate, and anticipate such problems? And what is happening at the federal, state, and local levels?
Sample planning and zoning regulations will be available, with ample time for Q&A.
“Industrial wind turbines are more complex than anyone imagined,” said B. Blake Levitt, BLEC communications director. “We hope municipal land-use agents, conservationists, attorneys, environmentalists, legislators, regulators, landowners interested in leasing to wind turbine companies and all concerned citizens will take advantage of the expertise being brought to Litchfield County on April 16th.”
BLEC is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit. Admission is $5 at the door, tax deductible. For more information, contact B. Blake Levitt, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Starling Childs, email@example.com.
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