I am a NIMBY and I’m proud of it! There, I said it – really always have. You see; I have an opinion about wind turbines and it’s not very positive. Wind turbines are nothing but large hulking industrial units that have been placed on the most pristine land that I know of – Fairhaven, Massachusetts. I used to play on this land as a child building forts, scavenging for arrowheads, pretending to hunt wild animals and sometimes simply lying on the ground and watching the wildlife around me.
I honestly don’t want to see these monstrosities in anyone’s backyard. The shear burden of having an industrial structure in my childhood environment gnawed at the very thing that enabled me to move back to Fairhaven to raise my children – the memory of the peace of mind that Nasketucket provided. To me, Nasketucket was about hiking and playing in the pristine woods, building iceberg boats and floating down river into the creek bed, fishing at the bridge near Pierces Point, and sometimes just hanging out in the woods. The idea that someone would clear the very trees that provided the backdrop for a little slice of nature seems sacrilegious to me. It’s downright heretical, in the opinion of this simple sailor from Fairhaven.
My opinions grow when I find out that one family moved from their home as a result of the noise. They grow when I read about how the developer threatened the very town leadership that hid the fact from the public that these turbines were going to be built in order to mitigate any public outcry prior to construction. My ill-felt opinions grew when I went for a bike ride down Weeden Road on an early Sunday morning to hear a literal roar of the turbines at the spot where I used to swim down at the creek. Every day there is more and more reason to believe that my opinions should be validated.
You see, in the America that I grew up in and the one that I am trying to teach my children about, the government is fair and just. We have an Administrative Procedures Act that allows the public to provide input whenever their government makes a regulatory change. This is both on the federal level as well as on the state level. In the case of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, it is found in Chapter 30A of the state’s General Laws. If the government changes anything about how procedures are administered, “We the People” have the right to participate in the acceptability of such legislation. The Green Communities Act not only changed the way that the commonwealth would implement its energy policy, but would eliminate any say by the public and grant any government agency or municipality the ability to place any alternative energy source wherever it wanted, including in my backyard.
Well, that’s regulatory change and that requires public input. The governor and 100 percent of the state legislators apparently didn’t feel the need to canvass the public regarding the effects of the Green Communities Act and it seems as though nobody expected such an unmitigated burden that turbine placement has put on neighborhoods throughout the state.
Sometimes folks can’t see their nose in front of their faces, especially when intentions were all well and good. Unfortunately, we now have a serious case of denial when it comes to the placement of industrial wind turbines. People are being hurt by these things. It’s not psychosomatic, it’s not folks being alarmists, it’s not people simply complaining about change – the problems are real.
I for one couldn’t handle the flicker if I lived in a neighborhood that had it. A ceiling fan gives me a migraine. The sound of the turbines would make me jump out of my skin – I enjoy my peace and quiet. The gentle thudding sound experienced by one colleague’s wife while in her basement would be enough for me to break out in a rash. Nobody should have to “get used to” the noise, the flicker, the vibration of these turbines. That very idea is downright wide of the mark.
So when you’re trying to downgrade the emotions and sentiments of the people living downwind of these behemoths, get on your bicycle at 7 a.m. and take a ride before the noise of the world starts. See how you would like it if it were in your backyard. I did and I hated what I found out.
As a child of Fairhaven who moved back to this town to raise his children, I am deeply sorry to the people living with this burden. I hope the Green Communities Act, or parts thereof, can be challenged legally, constitutionally or even by a seemingly absent Board of Health. You, indeed, deserve better.
Eric Dawicki lives in Fairhaven.
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