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Not just pollution, but madness

I would like to respond to Clarence Fanto’s column of last Sunday, March 3. He quotes me as saying that wind turbines are a kind of “alternate pollution.” But he only quoted my conclusion without quoting my premise.

What I said was that Vermont’s quota of wind power would require 320 miles of mountain and ridge to fully realize. I also said the quota for Massachusetts would cost $3.2 billion. Perhaps he objected to my characterization be cause it is hard to visualize lines of monster towers running the length of Vermont three times. I have a hard time with it too. Not the visualization, but that someone would actually think of doing that to a state whose greatest resource is the beauty of its mountains.

As for the $3.2 billion, I imagine it will come out of our pockets, so I won’t blame Mr. Fanto for skipping over this inconvenient fact. Now, if that isn’t pollution I don’t know what is. That was the conclusion. I admit that calling it “alternate” pollution was a rhetorical flourish, but hardly one that deserves to be called “gale force rhetoric.” Where he is on solid ground is calling for local control of wind energy projects, as happened in Len ox, where real, local, grass- roots concern dug up the facts buried in the Weston proposal and exposed them for all to see. I said it was magnificent democracy, and I say it again.

This process upset Sarah Gardner, whose letter to the editor was published
on the same day. She called it a NIMBY win for Lenox but a loss to the Berkshires. I don’t recall Ms. Gardner’s presence in any of the meetings where the Weston plan was studied by the panel of six. Had she come she would have learned that the two turbines sites would endanger the town watershed and, another slight problem, would not make any money for the town, perhaps even exposing it to unforeseen liabilities, as happened in other towns that were counting on a windfall that didn’t materialize. The selectmen voted against going ahead on the basis of those facts. It was not NIMBY, it was proper stewardship of valuable town property, its water supply.

Ms. Gardner is free to put up a turbine in her back yard. With her eyes focused on the far away alternate energy horizon, where 500-foot-high turbines look like beanie pinwheels, she won’t notice what’s under her nose. Her plan for the Berkshires will not save the planet, but it will leave a legacy of ruined mountain tops and brainwashed children. I’d call that not just pollution, but madness.