BRIMFIELD – Rather than walk away from issues related to wind turbines when a proposal for a wind farm on West Mountain was dropped, members of No Brimfield Wind have been working with a state organization to stop such projects.
“Our group, Wind Wise Massachusetts, has called for a moratorium until health effects are known,” said Virginia Irvine, one of the main organizers of No Brimfield Wind and a board member of Wind Wise.
“There are quite a few of us who were active in Brimfield at various levels and are now with the statewide group,” Irvine said.
Press releases put out by the statewide organization carry a Brimfield dateline and the organization’s post office box is in Brimfield, but Irvine said that should not give the impression that this is a Brimfield-based group.
She said she and other active members in her town agreed to have the state group’s post office box in Brimfield because it is centrally located, but the organization has members from the Berkshires to Cape Cod and is truly a statewide coalition of community groups.
In addition to No Brimfield Wind, the statewide organization serves as an umbrella for Green Berkshires, Save Our Seashore and groups based in Granville and Cape Cod.
Wind Wise is calling on the state to impose a moratorium on construction of wind turbines for generating electricity until more research is conducted and evaluated regarding potential health risks.
“We are completely committed to a comprehensive and independent study of the health risks posed by wind turbines,” said Barbara Durkin, a member of Wind Wise from Northborough. “We are equally committed to opposing a flawed study that jeopardizes the health and safety of the citizens of Massachusetts.”
In response to the state Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Public Health establishing a panel of scientific experts to look into the impacts of wind turbines on nearby residents, Wind Wise is calling for more information about the formation of this panel and its investigations.
In Brimfield, a Boston based company, First Wind, proposed locating wind turbines on West Mountain and was proceeding with its plans in the face of strong opposition organized through No Brimfield Wind.
After spending time on wind tests and planning for a Town Meeting vote to enact zoning that would allow a wind farm, First Wind announced in March 2011 that wind conditions on West Mountain were not suitable for the proposed project of about 10 turbines.
First Wind spokesman John R. Lamontagne said in March, “After assessing the meteorological data collected in Brimfield, we have determined that the wind characteristics do not meet our requirements at this time.”
Irvine said that she and other members of No Brimfield Wind are aware of support by Gov. Deval L. Patrick and many Democrats in the Legislature for a law that would greatly reduce the authority of cities and towns to ban wind farms through zoning ordinances, so the Brimfield group and the statewide group are monitoring legislation on that issue.
“If that passes, a developer could come to Brimfield, and there would be no local control,” Irvin said.
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