The Senate Committee on the Environment and Agriculture took its turn holding a hearing on a bill to allow wind turbines on Rhode Island farms. Much like the House hearing on a similar bill, the Senate hearing was mostly a debate about allowing a wind turbine on Stamp Farm in North Kingstown.
William Stamp Jr. said the town initially asked him to consider erecting a turbine. An alternate three-turbine project was also proposed for “a neighbor,” he said. “I did not pursue wind turbines on my farm until North Kingstown … came to me and said, ‘We’d like to have you look at it.’” After public outcry, the town enacted a moratorium on wind turbines in 2010.
Opponents said they wanted to wait for wind turbine siting guidelines are issued by the state. But they also feared that a turbine would hurt property values of nearby homes.
“If a turbine goes up there, my property value immediately goes down,” North Kingstown resident Robin Wilson said. Wilson also objected to a provision in the bill that gives the state the final authority in setting siting guidelines. “It’s as if I have no say, my property value is simply taken away from me for the greater good.”
Wilson also warned of debris thrown from turbines hitting nearby homes.
Stamp said wind turbines create jobs and protect open space by generating badly needed income for farmers. “It’s only wind. It’s not sending smoke up into the air,” he said. “We can stand next to it and breath.”
The bill was held for further study.
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