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Brimfield selectmen object to reducing municipal control over where wind turbines may be installed  

Gov. Deval L. Patrick, who has supported alternative energy initiatives throughout his time in office, supported legislation introduced last year that would have placed municipal authority for decisions on siting wind turbines in the hands of three-member commissions rather than the boards that traditionally decide on zoning questions.

Credit:  By John Appleton, The Republican, www.masslive.com 24 October 2011 ~~

BRIMFIELD – Having seen residents of this town organize a strong opposition to a proposed wind turbine farm on West Mountain, the Board of Selectmen is now objecting to the passage and enactment of legislation that would reduce municipal authority over the siting of wind turbines.

Selectman Stephen R. Fleshman said he sees the pending legislation ‘basically trumping” what Brimfield did in response to a proposal from First Wind to install 10 turbines on West Mountain and said “siting should be based on town control.”

Fleshman and Selectman Diane M. Panaccione voted Friday to send a letter on behalf of the board to the Legislature, which is considering a bill that would streamline the siting process for wind turbine installations.

Selectman Thomas C. Marino said he expects the expedited wind turbine siting legislation to pass this year no matter how many letters are sent objecting and voted against sending the letter.

Marino said Brimfield would be in a better position adopting comprehensive zoning bylaws than sending a letter opposing the wind siting legislation at a time when the state is promoting alternative energy.

Gov. Deval L. Patrick, who has supported alternative energy initiatives throughout his time in office, supported legislation introduced last year that would have placed municipal authority for decisions on siting wind turbines in the hands of three-member commissions rather than the boards that traditionally decide on zoning questions.

The bill passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives and was strongly favored in the Senate but was held up by a handful of Republican senators and did not pass before the legislative session ended.

This year legislative committees are holding hearings on the issue before either house acts on legislation regarding this issue.

The First Wind proposal for Brimfield would have required Town Meeting approval of a zoning bylaw change, which seemed unlikely given the opposition. First Wind dropped its proposal in March 2011, saying there was not enough wind for efficient electricity generation from turbines.

Carol Platenik, a member of No Brimfield Wind, testified Tuesday before a legislative committee looking at health issues on research conducted by No Brimfield Wind similar organizations in Massachusetts about what she said were potential health problems for people who live near wind turbines.

“We want this looked at objectively,” Platenik said.

“We want to impress upon them that these things hurt people. We are not saying that wind turbines are bad, across the board, but that there are health effects,” Platenik said. “There is opposition to this bill because it takes away local control.”

Source:  By John Appleton, The Republican, www.masslive.com 24 October 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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