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A required ‘duty’

A petition has been brought forward concerning adverse health impacts from industrial wind turbines the last three Town Meetings. The last seemingly offered relieve to afflicted neighbors, but alas, politics diluted the effectiveness of Mr. Funfar’s adopted article.

The wind turbine problem solving process has been one of compromise (June 15 – turbine nighttime curtailment). During that compromise, I’ve lodged 23 pressure headache complaints with Town Hall. This means that 25 percent of the time I’ve been on the short end of the “compromise” stick.

Begging the simple question: Shouldn’t such a claim, at the very least, be examined thoroughly by health professionals?

The board of health has repeatedly relayed their concern to the Mass Department of Public Health (DPH), hoping for guidance. Local boards of health are required by state statutes and regulations to seek direction from the state concerning protection from air pollutant distress (noise).

A required duty, extending the board of health’s authority over any other, specific to public health and environmental problems, is: Investigate nuisances, which in the board’s opinion may be injurious to health. M.G.L. c.111, s.122. The board of health acted accordingly May 24, 2012 – Emergency Public Hearing.(see:http://www.fctv.org/ts/node/2383)

The board of health has a cru- cial role in residents’ health protection and the promotion of safe living conditions. In recognition of this, the state Legislature has enacted numerous statutes which authorize and thereby encourage boards of health to be responsible for dealing with residents’ health and safety (statute references can be found in the “Massachusetts Health Board Legal Handbook” and “Guidebook for Massachusetts Boards of Health”).

Additional powers and au- thority of the Falmouth Board of Health include: Issue orders reciting the existence of an emergency and requiring that such action be taken as the board deems necessary to meet the emergency. State Environmental Code, Title I, 310 CMR 11.05(1). Condemn all nuisances; clean or tear down a nuisance. M.G.L. c.111, s.128.

The most compelling power authorized and encouraged by state statute: adopt and enforce regulations to control air pollution. M.G.L. c.111, s.31C.

The Mass DPH rebuked the board of health’s request for specific health guidance, suggesting instead that the Mass DEP’s-recommended, and selectmen-adopted daytime/nighttime mitigation has been effective.(see letter to BoH:http://www.falmouthmass.us/health/dph%20(s%20condon)to%20boh%20wind%20turbines%208-28-12.pdf).

Begging again the simple question: Shouldn’t such a claim, at the very least, be examined thoroughly, by the health professionals?

The board of health’s charge is not to weigh political issues. Rather, it’s to protect residents and promote safe living conditions. The May 24 testimonials give certain plausibility to the possibility that neither duty is being discharged.

How many more health surveys, complaints and petitions from Mr. Funfar will it take before the problem is recognized as a probable problem concerning the health and safety of Falmouth residents?

The planning board has made every effort to address future wind turbine development with equally as much controversial data to examine. It’s time the board of health addresses the existing wind turbine problem by drafting, adopting and enforcing a wind turbine health regulation.

It may not be perfect, but at least it would be a start.

Mark J. Cool
Fire Tower Road
West Falmouth