I was surprised that Tyler Studds from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center attended a recent Planning Board meeting in Shelburne. He offered to help Shelburne write a zoning bylaw for industrial wind installations and described a wind feasibility study his office could do for wind projects. MCEC would evaluate a project to see if it is a good fit for a community, including deciding if there are any adverse health effects and evaluating it for financial viability. Money from our electric bills would pay 80 percent of the cost of the feasibility study for the wind developer, and 95 percent of the bylaw assistance.
I assumed that all of those studies that he named as a part of the feasibility study, like the bird and bat study or the health assessments had criteria generated from independent research studies by health or environmental scientists. When we asked, Mr. Studds stated that a DEP sound regulation is pretty much the only requirement that the state has for a wind turbine, aside from some siting issues like being in a wetland or rare species protected area. The rest are assurances, such as conclusions that a particular wind project has no adverse health affects or negative impacts on real estate values, that the state would like the towns to accept. Our governor is very committed to having turbines built. Deciding what is good for a town along with wanting to help write the rules to get projects permitted seems questionable to me, and looks like the fox who wants to guard the hen house. A talk is scheduled for Saturday Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. at Memorial Hall on the health affects of turbines. More info go to www.shelburnewind.info.
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