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Struggles with silence

“Silent Night” has new meaning since fall Town Meeting. But why the silence from the State? Last March, the Falmouth Board of Health officially requested an epidemiological study to examine industrial turbine effect on neighbors from the Mass Department of Public Health (Mass DPH). I’ve written and asked the Mass DPH, the Falmouth Board of Health and the Selectmen. It seems that “mum’s-the-word.” Why?

The need for “facts” is as necessary now as they were then. Town Meeting future decisions and the Planning Board drafting of a new wind turbine bylaw depend upon them. But the only official explanation from the agency to Falmouth so far is that a panel of non-medical experts are reviewing the limited (but ever-growing) amount of worldwide wind health impact case evidence. The conclusions would then be applied. What will be the regulatory implications to the health of Falmouth families?

I’m left wondering, will this be a viable measure of solace for Falmouth? Why ignore a defined and immediate data pool of irrefutable health “facts” existing right here in our town? Why shouldn’t the Falmouth Board of Health receive Mass DPH support equal to that received from the Mass Department of Environmental Protection (Mass DEP) for noise compliance testing of Wind 1? Why conduct noise tests that have been admitted by the agency’s Acting Director, in a letter dated June 30, 2011, not to assess wind turbine low frequency and infra-sound characteristics? Wouldn’t money and effort be better redirected searching relevant HEALTH “facts?” Shouldn’t HEALTH evidence, that would answer many questions asked by the Planning Board and Town Meeting members, be uncovered first? So many questions. And only silence.

The Selectmen’s mitigation strategies do nothing to uncover the answer to Falmouth’s principle underlying question—“are our industrial wind turbines built too close to people”?

It’s time our community rallies its support behind the Falmouth Board of Health and its request of the Mass DPH. The Falmouth Board of Health has accepted its mandate and obligation to responsibly assess all health, and all noise implications of industrial wind turbines near neighbors. State protocol requires that local boards of health officially seek guidance involving such issues. The request has long since been declared.

Town Hall must recognize this need and be proactive. Town Hall (Selectmen and the Board of Health) should demand the Mass DPH pony up. Falmouth’s wind energy dilemma can’t afford any more of the State’s silent treatment.