Today, the Mass Wind Working Group entertains a panel – “Challenges to Wind Development.” A recent Cape Cod editorial states ‘Cape Wind will protect Nantucket Sound’. I’m left curious about the lack of journalistic scrutiny of protections due residents from land-based wind turbines in Massachusetts? After all, Governor Patrick’s wind energy goal points to our Cape communities being major contributors to that goal.
There’s a growing apprehension concerning health standards and wind turbines too close to residents. The Falmouth Board of Health (FBoH) recently complained that the scientific literature about turbine health effect is too conflicting. The FBoH seems resigned to fell the town might be best served by seeking a political solution involving the town’s three industrial wind turbines (meeting minutes).
Despite the FBoH’s argument that it may not be possible, after reviewing the literature and deliberating, to determine if a public health threat exists, my question remains. What immediate intervention should a local board of health offer to protect those vulnerable residents, now that complains of diminished health and living conditions so near land-based turbines effect 47 households? Are they to be cast away, left waiting to be caught in the conflicts of a political solution?
The documented prevalence of Falmouth resident’s symptoms, coupled with no on-the-ground medical health examination, poses a major challenge. The Emergency Public Hearing, hosted by the FBoH May 24, collected the evidence to inform advocacy and policy change. Vulnerable residents stood and provided the evidence sought by the board.
The present consideration that the FBoH’s ethical duty might be tossed into the town’s political harm-benefit ratio is disparaging. Or might the residents be best served if the concepts of scientific validity be modified, to be in keeping with the primary mandate of all local boards of health – to first, do no harm?
Cape Wind may protect Nantucket Sound. But who will protect the residents health from land-based wind turbines too close – the political machine or a community’s health board ?
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