Wind Wise ~ Massachusetts, a fledgling alliance that joins together grassroots groups fighting industrial wind proposals around the state, had an eventful 2011.
There were significant high points, in particular the tabling of the siting act known as WESRA. This threat to municipal control was averted when state Senate President Therese Murray changed her view and Senator Ben Downing, the chair of the legislative committee where WESRA was heard, sent the bill to study soon after.
These reversals were a direct result of citizen involvement. Activism convinced boards to take actions that reduce the chance of siting wind turbines near people. The Cape Cod Commission adopted setbacks and called for noise study before siting. The Central MA town of Charlton adopted setbacks and height restrictions. The combination of economic realities and resident opposition led Dartmouth to end its project, Brewster to opt for solar over wind, and First Wind to withdraw its proposal for Brimfield.
The documentary Windfall filled halls across the state and added visual evidence to the many factors that dispute the environmental and economic claims for industrial turbines.
There were also low points, with people in Falmouth suffering from two existing turbines and anticipating a third. Their plight is revealed in the interview series conducted by Dr. Nina Pierpont, who describes symptoms like theirs as “wind turbine syndrome.” The Department of Environmental Protection issued one set of noise regulations that ignore sub-audible sound and another that would allow turbines to be sited next to drinking water sources. Together with the Department of Public Health, they convened a wind “science” panel of “experts” who appear to be wind proponents and who continue to operate in secrecy.
From the Cape to the Berkshires, local groups educated their communities and organized to bring out members. Scores testified in Boston, Barnstable and Hancock. Hundreds crowded town and regional meetings. Without the vital work of local groups all over the Commonwealth, there would be costly, hazardous, and foolish industrial wind developments springing up in a community near you.
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