Recently a member of the Friends of Fairhaven Wind made statements comparing my involvement in supporting bringing the bike path to Fairhaven and in my opposition to the two Fairhaven Industrial Wind Turbines. It is implied I am a hypocrite, asking how I could be for the bike path and against the turbines. I feel compelled to set the record straight because of the misinformation being presented by some members of Friends Fairhaven Wind.
When the bike path was first proposed in Fairhaven, I felt the need to do research to see if there was data that supported those who opposed the bike path. Furthermore, I lived one house away from the path so I felt a need to look at all the information that I could find. I found a great deal of data and it all was positive. I couldn’t find any research that was in opposition to the bike path. As a result of this, I got involved and helped found a group called Friends of the Fairhaven Bike Path, which was an advocacy group for the path. There was strong opposition but the bike path was built. After the bike path was built there was wide acceptance from the community. The benefits were many, such as: public safety by providing a safe place to ride, increased property values of houses near the path, promoting public health, and in some cases people using it as a means of transportation.
When the two industrial wind turbines were first proposed in Fairhaven in 2007, I felt a need to look into the idea of having turbines in my town. One Sunday, I saw a full-page article in the Boston Globe on a place in Maine called Mars Hill and the article really moved me as people described how these turbines had negatively affected their health and their right to be able to live peacefully. Following this revelation, I decided to explore further and did some research into the impact of industrial wind turbines and the information I found was disturbing. Yes, there was also information put out by the wind developers. However, when I looked at research independent from the wind industry and personal accounts it convinced me that this would bring harm to some of our townspeople. The bike path and the industrial wind turbines are entirely different projects with entirely different results. The bike path has promoted public safety, public health and increased property values. The industrial wind turbines have resulted in almost 500 health complaints being sent to the Board of Health and the state has found that the turbines were not in compliance on four different occasions.
Let’s keep the focus on the victims. We now have 17 families that we have done video interviews with and it is their story and the story of many others that should be emphasized and not the Phoenix Bike Path. The personal attacks and the inaccurate innuendos by the Friends of Fairhaven Wind do not foster a healthy debate but instead divide the town further. Friends of Fairhaven Wind instead of showing empathy to their Fairhaven neighbors who have become victims, have instead chosen to form an allegiance with wind developers Deane, Shah and Sweeney who are obviously in this for financial gain. In my opinion, the health and well-being of all the citizens in my community are more important than the developers getting rich at the expense of my neighbors.
Kenneth Pottel lives in Fairhaven.
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