Lately many articles have been written concerning the controversy over the wind turbines proposed by the Aquaculture Research Corp. at Chapin Beach. I think it’s time to look at some of the real issues that no one wants to talk about. Let me just pose a few questions. We’re all bright people capable of drawing our own conclusions.
• Why should a private business be able to ruin a commonly held and loved natural resource? Why should it be able to devalue the residential property around the location so that it can go into the business of selling excess power generated from the turbine?
• Why would any business build a 242-foot turbine monstrosity on a beach that, according to the latest Woods Hole Group study, is prone to erosion and eventual total breakdown if millions of dollars are not spent to restore it? Why should our state spend $400,000 in grant money on a proposition such as this?
• If this business is as vital to the community as some claim, and if it has such a popular product and an active market, why should it be in such tight straits as the owners have claimed? What happened to the free-market approach that so many voters on the Cape think applies to the other businesses that have gone out of business? What other businesses has the town of Dennis offered to save?
• Why is the town of Dennis continuing to waste taxpayer money in a joint action with ARC against its own citizens who own property in that area? Why did Dennis officials imply at a public forum that they had dropped the lawsuit at the same juncture that Richard Kraus, ARC’s owner, also stated publicly that the suit was over? Both entities have since re-engaged in the lawsuit. What precedent will this set for the town of Dennis being involved with other private business lawsuits if this lawsuit is successful?
• Why is this issue being portrayed as one woman, Rosemarie Austin, against ARC? There are hundreds of people who will view and possibly be affected by the turbine, although unnamed in the suit. This is not about just one person.
• Why this vicious attack on the “visual abutters” to the turbine who are concerned about their land value, the protected environment of that beach, and the health of people living near there? Would most people willingly buy a piece of property with a 242-foot wind turbine 3,000 feet away in plain sight, or would they look for another piece of property? And why are reporters attacking the tourists and part-time residents? Why don’t we realize that these people live there, many have their retirement investments in their homes and feel that their investments trump a single corporation that could use other, less intrusive energy sources?
• And last, but not least, why the attack the Old King’s Highway Historic District Commission? According to its charter, it exercised its authority to deny an installation that was not in keeping with the historic nature of the district in which it has jurisdiction.
• There’s a whole lot going on that hasn’t been brought to light, and it’s not just about shellfish. This lawsuit could have far-reaching consequences for further turbine development in this area and could diminish historic regulation, completely changing the face of this area.
I have watched this scenario unfold for the past two years and have found it to be one of the most unproductive, monetarily wasteful and manipulative uses of public power that I have ever witnessed. We need some accountability, transparency and honesty from our local government.
Donna Wald lives in Yarmouthport.
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