On Tuesday, Jan. 24, at Fairhaven’s Middle School, town officials and Palmer Capital defended their turbine project. Way too little way too late is an understatement in so many ways. Called a forum, it was anything but.
The DEP, driven to this point by politics, was there to defend their bogus health report. Gordon Dean, the developer, sent his paid surrogate. And the wind industry’s-compensated experts were on hand. The usual tactics were followed. The developer and paid experts speak at length in a monotone. The main point is to eat up the clock. Say only good things about their moneymaking project, put people to sleep, and limit the response time for the opponents in the process. If they can stretch it out long enough, people will leave, or, in a Town Meeting, the question will be called after everybody is fed up with listening to any thing, pro or con.
Of course this was a sham forum from its inception, and lackluster in nature. Their hearts didn’t seem into it. No town officials even bothered to appear on the stage. Brian Bowcock didn’t bother to show (Editor’s note: Brian Bowcock was on crutches the evening of the forum and did not attend), and Jeff Osuch stood in the back chatting and smirking. Peter Deterra, chairman of our phony health board, stood alongside with the other boys. The town fire chief did manage to yell at a young lady who stood at the podium and pleaded to speak about her concerns. After about an hour and a half of listening, she had to leave. The fire chief, I believe, yelled for her to sit down. I think he thought he was calling the question. It was a nice touch. None of their supporters even bothered to throw any softball questions at the developer or his experts.
Everybody knows, if this thing was to have meant anything it had to happen at least six months ago.
So it makes me wonder, Why the overkill? Neighbors who had come from Falmouth and Portsmouth to give testimony about the turbines, the same turbines praised by the proponents, weren’t allowed to speak. Informed earlier about the “Ground Rules,” Wind Wise members had planned to read statements from these people and that was nixed. In this public space in my town the first amendment was suspended for the evening.
Most people behaved. I didn’t. I managed to read into the record most of a letter written by someone who works at the sewer plant near the turbine in Falmouth. The letter was to Falmouth’s Board of Health. I could feel the police at my back as he signaled them to stop me. But I felt it was important to know from one of the experts, Dr. McCunney, whether someone who was suffering from dizziness, nausea and tinnitus could be written off as somebody that was just annoyed. Issues associated with turbines were essentially just an annoyance.
This is part of what she wrote to the Falmouth Board of Health, “Since this turbine went into full operation, I’ve been suffering from vertigo, dizziness, tinnitus and a feeling of pressure in my ears. The pressure can best be described as the feeling you get when driving up a mountain; except that yawning or chewing gum doesn’t ease the pressure as it does when driving up a mountain. The vertigo is constant, even when I’m at home in Harwich. If I look up, down, or turn my head quickly I have to hold onto something so I don’t fall down. When I lay down in my bed at night, the room spins and the same thing happens if I turn over in bed. This sometimes causes nausea. I also have trouble concentrating at work, but not at home. I am in perfect health with no history of motion sickness, ear problems, or vertigo. €¦ I was home in Harwich for four days during the Christmas holiday and my vertigo lessened so much that I could move my head with only minor dizziness, rather than needing to grab onto something to keep from falling. The blocked feeling in my ears cleared up as well. Today I returned to work and my ears feel blocked and the vertigo is worsening.”
Until all aspects of this project are looked at, these turbines cannot be erected.
Fairhaven’s Board of Health has refused to act as required by Massachusetts General Laws CHAPTER 111, Section 143. To say its chairperson is only inadequate is another gross understatement. The question remains, when a town official refuses to act in relation to law, isn’t it up to the attorney general to step in?
Henry Ferreira lives in Fairhaven.