The Shelburne Falls Planning Board Meeting on November 9th focused on an informational exchange with Mr. Frederick Field, the proposer of the Massaemet Wind Project. This was followed by a Planning Board deliberation under the measured and deft leadership of the chairman Matt Marchese relative to the Board’s proposed guidance to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
During the exchange Mr. Field stated:
“Much more detailed plans will be prepared for the Zoning Board of Appeals on November 17th.”
“This has been a purposely brief and sketchy concept submittal to date.”
“What I am really doing is testing the By Law and seeing if the Town is generally in favor of this proposal.”
“We will have visual simulations on the 17th to show people how the turbines would look.”
“The towers are now proposed at 488 feet” when including the three 156 ft long blades probably coming from Fall River.”
“The turbines are big but hardly visible, with two of the eight just barely peeking over the hill as seen from McCusker’s Market.”
“Noise testing can only be done after turbines are in place and then shut down if they can’t comply with regulations.”
“Essentially only two acres will be cleared per turbine.”
“We will use the existing farm roads to access the construction site.”
“I visited all turbines within seventy five miles did not hear anything… but my hearing is not what it once was.”
“I will have land and property value report in detail but it does not prove a whole bunch.”
“You cannot rely on the internet for information because you get an equal amount of pro and con for wind.”
Mr. Field implies that opposing views are equal and cancel each other out, essentially dismissing all expressed concerns as hearsay and non trustworthy. He wishes you, by this dismissal, to do what he evidently has done: ignore industrial wind concerns as biased and non-substantiated. It suggests he alone has somehow found the truth and has the facts about the good in and performance of wind turbines.
Fortunately, we have hundreds of wind turbines operating that provide substantial evidence scientific study and actual living experience. This literature refutes every inflated and false claim made by and for industrial wind power. Mr. Field is essentially suggesting we need to dismiss most written documentation and studies of wind impacts as unavoidably biased.
The increasing proposed turbine height should be of great concern and in some communities this change would invalidate the application. Now an equivalent of a forty nine story building, the scale and proportion are simply enormous.
Existing community ambient sound studies are essential to establish a base line against which wind turbine performance is measured and regulated. These studies must precede (not follow) any proposal and a determination of whether the machines can meet performance standards in what is a quiet rural setting. Ashfield citizens have accomplished such a study and can assist if asked. A proper study should sample sound in all seasons. Once a turbine is constructed it has been essentially impossible to shut them down no matter how much noise and health disturbance they cause.
One cannot walk near a turbine and expect to experience anything like living within a mile or two of that turbine. The predictable and most disturbing sound experience is a non-audible and a more profoundly harmful than any short visit can demonstrate.
The impact of clearing and roads will be much greater than Mr. Field implies. No farm road will accommodate a twenty eight foot wide crane with limited maneuverability. The now larger blades alone, with necessary crane and truck maneuvering room, will take up four acres of cleared and essentially level land. The three blades are assembled flat on the ground before being lifted. Minimum disturbance includes those four acres plus all access road clearing, the underground wiring, the transmission line and sub station clearing… My educated estimate is fifty to sixty acres of clearing are required or approximately seven acres per turbine. Then the land controlling non habitable setbacks forever claims ten to twenty times that area.
The most devastating implication of Mr. Field’s collective comments is the suggestion that anyone who questions any or all aspects of this or by implication, any industrial wind proposal is biased and their sources of information are without merit. Mr. Field evidently wishes our response to be solely favorable even if uninformed or based on simplistic and wishful thinking.
My pleas, keep your mind open, consider every question worthy of examination and do not be marginalized by such a blatant dismissal. There is sufficient peer reviewed material available. There are local people and organizations that can assist you in locating such well-founded studies.
If Mr. Field truly wishes to know if you the Shelburne or Buckland resident are in favor of his proposal or not, without to date sharing important details of his proposal, our best response is a well-informed response, with supporting documentation, submitted in writing and verbally at the Hearing on November 17th, 7:00 pm, Memorial Hall.
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