Duxbury selectmen declined a request to expand the Alternative Energy Committee in order to accommodate Duxbury Wind Wise, a residents’ group that would like to be represented on this town committee.
Selectmen agreed that members of Duxbury Wind Wise – the grassroots residents’ group that opposed a wind turbine at North Hill – should be on the Alterative Energy Committee. However they felt the committee was large enough at eleven members. Selectmen said that many committee appointments expire June 30 and they would consider adding Duxbury Wind Wise members to the AEC if there were vacancies The Alternative Energy Committee consists of volunteers who are investigating green energy sources like wind and solar power to save the town money.
Duxbury Wind Wise was organized after the Alternative Energy Committee released a consultant’s report that identified an area at the North Hill Country Club and marsh as a site for a 276-foot wind turbine to produce electricity for the town. The Alternative Energy Committee has since tabled its discussions on a wind turbine project for the near future as it entered into contracts for solar energy. Duxbury Wind Wise is pursuing a change in the town’s current wind facilities bylaw that would allow only smaller turbines and would locate them farther from residences.
Selectmen Chairman Shawn Dahlen told Duxbury Wind Wise members to fill out talent bank forms – the papers residents complete when they want to serve on town boards and committees.
Dahlen said that while he welcomed divergent viewpoints on committees, he felt that 13 people was too large a committee. The more committee members allowed, the more people are needed for the committee to have a quorum, or the majority necessary to meet, he said. The committee expanded from nine to eleven members a few years ago.
Alternative Energy Committee chairman Jim Goldenberg said his group had not discussed the idea of expansion yet, but he said he was concerned that if two Duxbury Wind Wise members were added to the committee then its discussion would center on wind turbines, a subject he said was “not coming up in the near future.”
“I have reservations about this,” said Goldenberg. “I don’t want this wind issue to dominate the board. There may be better ways to work together that don’t involve changing the committee.”
Also, he said five other residents have already filled out forms to become AEC members and he questioned the fairness of skipping over those people in favor of Duxbury Wind Wise members.
Hound’s Ditch Lane resident Chris Sherman, who is a member of Duxbury Wind Wise, pushed for the expansion of the AEC. He said that since Duxbury Wind Wise members started to learn about wind turbines and green energy they realized there is a lot of work to do to educate the public. He said the Alternative Energy Committee was not doing a good job educating town boards or residents. Sherman said that Duxbury Wind Wise was very concerned with the committee’s decision to take the steps that would make Duxbury an official “green community.”
“As we peeled away the layers of the onion, we learned more and more about the benefits and dangers of being a green community,” said Sherman. “This is a permanent major initiative of becoming a green community, and there’s nobody making an effort to educate the town. I don’t think it is sufficient to wait for resignations on the committee.”
Dahlen said he would like to see the Alternative Energy Committee work with Duxbury Wind Wise and report back to selectmen at a later date.
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