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Moon Island turbine plan is toppled

QUINCY – Organized inquiry and opposition from Squantum residents has knocked the wind out of Boston’s proposal to build a 400-foot wind turbine on Moon Island.

Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch, who backed Boston’s proposal, told residents in a letter mailed Thursday that he did not see enough support for the turbine.

“I did not come to this decision lightly,” Koch wrote. “After speaking with many of your Squantum neighbors over the last few weeks, it has become clear to me that the kind of strong community consensus necessary to allow construction of a major wind turbine on Moon Island simply does not exist.”

Squantum residents, known for being Quincy’s most active voting bloc, organized meetings and signature drives to call for greater scrutiny of the proposal, which was first floated in 2009 and came before the planning board this year.

Moon Island is owned by Boston but is within Quincy city limits. It and Long Island have long been the bane of neighbors because the only way to get to them by land is through Squantum streets.

In a statement, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said he will withdraw the proposal, which would need approval from a board Koch appoints.

“I’m disappointed that we were not able to move forward with this model clean energy project that would showcase our cities’ commitment to climate action and green jobs,” Menino said. “Moon Island is uniquely situated for a community scale wind project, as it is nearly a mile away from the nearest residents and has virtually no noise or shadow impacts in the residential areas.”

The plan was for Boston and Quincy to split revenue the turbine would make through selling the power it would generate. Revenue estimates were as high as $800,000 annually.

A Feb. 22 letter to Koch and other city officials signed by dozens of residents requested hearings to discuss additional scientific studies for the turbine that “will tower 500 feet above sea level less than a mile from our shores.”

The letter harped on, among other things, a lack of acoustics studies, which the residents said would better gauge how sound from the turbine would travel across water.

“Clearly, the evidence is starting to show the negative impacts of installing commercial wind turbines too close to residences,” concludes the letter, signed by Faye Anderson, Melissa and Michael Beesley and Jeanne Thompson. “Many cities and towns across the country are now involved in expensive litigation and are being forced to shut down these facilities. Further, many have been forced to pay for the diminution in the value of people’s homes.”

Residents formed working groups to research wind turbines and share information. Many were prepared to come to a February 28 hearing with pointed questions, said Crabtree Road resident Louise Grabowski.

“It’s really about Squantum cares; that they really care about their neighborhood,” she said. “That’s the reason for looking into this, that’s the reason for diligently researching to become informed … We really are thankful to the mayor for this decision.”