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Group forms in response to the proposed wind farm in Shelburne

Shelburne Falls, MA – A group formed in response to the proposed wind farm in Shelburne and has been providing various town boards with information, putting up posters, distributing pamphlets, asking the Boards and residents to become more informed about industrial scale wind farms. The project in Shelburne would be sited on Mt Massaemont, overlooking the village of Shelburne Falls. The developer, Frederick Field of Littleton, MA would like to build eight 470 foot tall wind turbines he states will produce 2.5 Megawatts of electricity. That power would be sold to the existing utility grid. According to Lamia Holland of Shelburne Falls, “To say we have formed a group may be not quite accurate. There are a number of individuals who are concerned about various aspects of the project, and different things are being done by each of us.” According to Holland, many people are unaware of the project, are unaware of the decision-making process for the wind farm, and some are supportive of “green” energy so automatically think it’s a good idea.

Tom Kehoe of Shelburne was all for wind energy until he saw the film “Windfall” that was shown in early October at Memorial Hall. ”It really opened my eyes to some of the realities that I just would never have guessed, like the health effects, and the fact that many people who live near them liked the idea at first, but when it came time to live with them were unhappy to the point of leaving their homes.” Shelburne resident Frank Rozelle is concerned about noise and property values. “My family owns our house in Shelburne Falls, and like most people it’s a major part of our financial lives. I am worried about property values going down. And I really don’t like the idea of what the noise is going to be like at the site right near the High Ledges where so many residents and tourists visit. And what will the noise be like for all of us who live in the village.”

A website has sprung up and one of its stated intentions is to help people understand the Zoning Board hearing process so that people can participate. It emphasizes that you don’t need to live in Shelburne to be concerned or to speak up. The website also contains a number of studies that detail the downsides of large wind farms. “One of the worst parts of this for me is that there is so much public funding going to these projects that produce so little energy.” said Holland. “Just think about what else we could do with the millions of our dollars that this wind farms needs to attract investors. During this last power outage, that wind farm wouldn’t have helped us at all. To be more energy self sufficient, we should fund conservation first, and then smaller community owned or resident owned energy sources. That would really help all of us out.” She is also concerned about how it will affect where she lives in Shelburne Falls. “I live on the Buckland side, and I have a clear view of at the mountain. Any noise or lights that will be flashing will come straight to my house. I hope that residents and town officials from Buckland know that we can all attend and participate in the meeting and the hearings. The decision about whether or not this can get built is all up to Shelburne Zoning Board, but after all, it’s our town too.”

Rozelle questioned why we would be wanting to develop this type of energy in the first place. “I’ve been reading that these big wind farms don’t work in Europe and power companies don’t want to buy power from them. If they don’t work there, why would we want them here? And there is no evidence that other types of power plants go off line. We can and should do better than this.”

The group’s website is www.shelburnewind.info. The next Shelburne Planning Board meeting will be Wednesday November 9 at 7:00pm. That board is charged with reviewing special permits and making recommendations to the Zoning Board. The Zoning Board Hearings for the wind farm will begin on Thursday November 17 at 7:30 pm at Memorial Hall.

Contact: Lamia Holland 413-768-7928