DUXBURY – The work of the new Duxbury Wind Study Committee could set the tone for resolving the pro-wind and anti-wind conflict in town, as well as other communities around the state, according to Alternative Energy Committee Chairman Jim Goldenberg.
Goldenberg said the decision by the AEC and Duxbury Wind Wise, the group that worked in opposition to a wind turbine at North Hill Reservation and for changes to the town’s wind turbine bylaw, to form a joint committee must start with new committee members committing to keeping an open mind.
He said committee members should not have an agenda either way and should be objective about the issue of wind energy.
“In our discussion, what we talked about was that in order for this committee to be successful, it really needs to come with an open mind and a willingness to learn and to listen and to form an opinion based on the group’s work, as opposed to coming in with a position you want to defend and win,” he said.
Goldenberg said instead of presenting opposing viewpoints at Town Meeting when speaking to an article that would modify the bylaw significantly, the AEC and Duxbury Wind Wise instead agreed to form a joint study group to focus on issues of contention to try to develop a unified approach to possibly changing the bylaw at the next Town Meeting.
The warrant article based on the citizen’s petition proposing changes to the town’s wind bylaw was postponed indefinitely at Town Meeting last month after the AEC and Duxbury Wind Wise agreed to work together.
Duxbury Wind Wise member Chris Sherman said one of the goals in proposing changes to the protective bylaw was to educate the public about wind energy, and educating residents, as well as members of the town’s boards and committees, will be one of the goals of its members on the new study committee.
He said he expects a full vetting of the issues, including controversial health impacts, economic and aesthetic impacts and other potential impacts on residents to help define what should be the essence of the town’s protective bylaw.
“’Does the protective bylaw that works in East Boston and Palmer, does that fit in Duxbury, and how do we define our protective bylaw?’ are among the questions that will be asked,” he said.
Sherman said he also expects the study committee to reach a conclusion on what language should be included in the bylaw and whether there should even be a bylaw.
“If we’ve met all of our alternative energy goals and we’ve maxed out with solar, do we need a wind bylaw on the books?” he asked.
He said he believes a wind bylaw is needed in case the town receives a wind energy proposal it find attractive and wants all cards to be on the table.
“I think the town would be better served to be well prepared and well informed, so I think the committee would play an important role in that,” he said.
Selectmen accepted the recommendation of a seven-member committee. The committee will be comprised of two AEC members, including Susan Fontaine, two members of Duxbury Wind Wise and three members to be appointed by the Board of Selectmen.
Selectmen Chairman Ted Flynn said he wants the committee to continue to study wind power and look into new technologies that might make wind energy more palatable to those who are opposed to it.
He urged residents interested in serving on the new committee to fill out the town’s Talent Bank Form available online on the town’s website.
Sherman had originally proposed that two members of Duxbury Wind Wise be added to the AEC. Selectman David Madigan asked why a new committee is the being created instead.
Goldenberg said the AEC isn’t focusing on wind energy and doesn’t want to be distracted from other business, in particular its focus on solar energy. While it would have been simpler if a subcommittee of the AEC were formed, Sherman said, he understands the reasoning behind the committee’s position.