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The Mass. Clean Energy Center: help or hindrance?

Falmouth town hall received a letter December 19, 2011 regarding the assistance MassCEC would provide in the turbine mitigation analysis. A phrase repeated throughout the correspondence was “to identify additional useful areas of investigation.”

It cannot be overlooked, and requires utmost consideration, that the MassCEC is dedicated to accelerating the success of clean energy technologies, companies and projects in the Commonwealth.

In the letter, the MassCEC frames the “scope of work” to be performed by the consensus agent. In addition to the services outlined in the letter, MassCEC boasts to have contracted with DNV Renewables (USA) and Acentech to provide wind technology and acoustic services to the Town of Falmouth. These firms, it’s claimed, could help in a third-party review of the mitigation analysis “and may further collaborate with the Town and other parties to identify additional useful areas of investigation.” There’s that phrase again!

Is it reasonable then, to expect a vigorous analysis scrutinized under the lens of health professionals? This health approach would be in keeping with “identifying an additional useful area of investigation.” As evidenced by the concerns, complaints and illnesses relayed to the Board of Health, such address would identify the more accurate area at issue being raised by neighbors.

Falmouth’s turbine mitigation success hinges directly upon whether consensus agents will acknowledge identified adverse health impact upon residents as a useful area of investigation. The Selectmen cannot successfully achieve a thorough review, let alone determine a meaningful course of action, if the area of investigation is limited to only those steered by sources of information having no correlative value to health impact upon those affected.

The MassCEC’s agency goal, not the well founded intentions of Selectmen or neighbors, may well be the impediment to successful consensus building.