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In the Lenox Mountain wind controversy, group replays documentary

PITTSFIELD – A group of Lenox and Richmond residents opposing a potential municipal wind-turbine site being studied atop Lenox Mountain is stepping up its efforts by planning a repeat showing of the documentary “Windfall,” shown to a capacity crowd of about 250 people at the Berkshire Museum’s Little Cinema on Saturday night.

At the same time, Lenox officials are taking applications for membership on a citizens’ wind-research study committee to include three supporters and three opponents of a possible turbine proposal that may emerge for the ridgeline overlooking the two towns.

The independent film aroused sustained applause Saturday for its depiction of an upstate New York town’s successful efforts to defeat a proposed multi-turbine, industrial site adjacent to farmland in Meredith, a cluster of villages in the western foothills of the Catskills, population 1,529.

The free, public repeat showing is today at 12:10 p.m. in the Boland Theater at Berkshire Community College.

Meanwhile, Lenox Town Manager Gregory Federspiel has elaborated on his views of alternative energy, explaining in a pending letter to the editor that an Eagle headline over a Sunday column mischaracterized one of his key points.

As the article stated, Federspiel declared that “’no’ is not a solution” to the issue of alternative energy, including wind, solar and other options. The headline defined the town manager’s
statement as applying to wind energy only.

“Saying no is not a sufficient answer,” Federspiel wrote. “After a thorough examination of the pros and cons of wind, Lenox may decide to say no to wind energy. The formation of a new citizens’ wind research panel will help us sort out the complex issues by collecting information that goes beyond the preliminary study that has been completed.”

The study by Weston Solutions of Concord, N.H. – an environmental research and engineering organization – concluded that the Yokun Ridge line along Lenox Mountain is a “viable” site for one or two municipal turbines, but there is no formal proposal thus far. If one were to emerge, it would face a decision by Lenox town meeting voters.

“We need to go beyond saying no and propose new energy strategies to which we can say yes,” Federspiel continued. “Whatever the mix – conservation, solar, wind, geothermal to name a few – I believe we must come together as a community to work toward solving our energy supply needs.”

Lenox voters have approved potential designation of the town as a “green community” according to state law as well as a stricter building code requiring more energy-efficient construction, Federspiel stated.