Most of the debate over the Falmouth turbines—costs, permits, syndromes, lawsuits, etc.—evades the essential question, a/k/a the proverbial elephant in the room:
Do we believe the complaints of the neighbors?
No study—including the ones planned between now and the April Town Meeting—will eliminate that question. Let’s imagine, for a minute, that this winter’s studies find nothing. Will that change anything? Of course not!
The neighbors will say, “We don’t know about those studies, but we still can’t sleep at night” and they’ll be right … if we believe them. I’m not qualified to say if the neighbors should be believed or, more accurately, to say if their complaints are reasonable and not exaggerated. I do know that no study will eliminate their concerns and I strongly suspect that no town mitigation plan will eliminate them either.
So our current predicament, in which lack of scientific evidence is pitted against the pleas of the neighbors, will be unchanged next April.
Between now and then, Town Meeting members should first think long and hard about one thing: Do they believe the neighbors? That is, is there something serious happening here even though science can’t confirm it?
If the answer is “yes,” then the next thing to weigh is the number of people affected.
Any Town Meeting member who believes the neighbors and can’t stomach risking their well-being even though their numbers be small should start accepting the painful probability that the turbines will have to go … no matter what the cost.
David J. Kent