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Misinformation swirls around Fairhaven turbine issue

Make no mistake. Everyone in Fairhaven is threatened by the specter of these turbines. For example, they will destroy the quiet enjoyment of the marsh along this segment of the bike path for everyone. The preparation has already destroyed huge swaths of sensitive and irreplaceable habitat there. But more importantly, the Green Communities Act in Massachusetts provides carte blanche to place additional turbines on any piece of public property, anywhere in Fairhaven without any consideration, required setback or notice of any kind. You may be the next victim and do not even know it yet.

In an article on Nov. 15 in The Standard-Times about the wind turbines in Fairhaven, Curt Brown reported that Jeffrey Osuch said no notice was given neighbors and none is required. Then on Nov. 19, Beth Purdue quoted him as stating, “I talked to the owner of the turbines, Gordon Deane, myself; they are 80 meters (260 feet).” All these statements are utterly wrong. In fact, Curt Brown reported this same inaccuracy about 262-foot turbines. And now, Channel 6 News has too. Too bad no one bothered to check the facts.

The technical specifications for the Vestas V82 wind turbines are well documented online. The height of the fixed hub is 80 meters, but the length of the blade is 40 meters. For the benefit of Mr. Osuch and The Standard-Times, that is a total height of 120 meters, or 394 feet. It’s actually a bit more, due the diameter of the hub, so let’s round to 400 feet. Rumor has it that CCI has opted for Sinovel turbines, which have larger bases and slightly smaller blades, but they are about the same overall height.

So how big is 400 feet? The FAA requires strobes on the blades. The strobes alone are almost the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. These turbines are only 20 percent shorter than the 500-foot cooling towers at Brayton Point that dominate the view from the Braga Bridge. These turbines are absolutely colossal.

They are also noisy and fast-moving. The tip speed of these blades is nearly 14 mph in moderate winds. The three blades rotating at 14.4 rpm will subject neighbors to a continuous flicker rate of nearly 1 per second – and twice that when the two turbines are aligned. These are the nightmarish industrial monstrosities being erected without notice.

I do not live near the proposed site, but I am appalled by the flagrant disregard that town officials have shown for the health, safety and property value of my fellow residents who do live in this vicinity.

Regardless of whether Mr. Osuch is legally right or wrong about giving notice; he and the Board of Selectmen are 100 percent wrong ethically. They could have given notice if they chose to do so, but they clearly prefer to keep us all in the dark. Their underhanded behavior violates the most fundamental principle of open and honest government. Their feckless actions demonstrate that they are not worthy of the public trust vested in these offices.

Curt Devlin lives in Fairhaven.