I’d like to thank former Selectman Brian Bowcock for providing a public service and asking the hard questions submitted by unnamed residents and related to the plagued Fairhaven Wind project. During the Fairhaven Business Association’s Candidate’s Night, he asked more than nine turbine related questions in a row with the majority ironically being addressed to (health board candidate) Louise Barteau.
There was the “will you vote to take down the turbines?” question. Now here’s one we haven’t heard before. This question gave Louise the opportunity to reiterate her position that no one person can take down the turbines. She hit the nail on the head when she said “the process needs to be followed.” She also said that the question should not be “will you shut down the turbines” but “should the turbines be shut down?” Now that’s a smart answer.
And then you read another. This questioner asked about a member of “Windwise” writing an article saying that wind turbines have the same health effects as smoking cigarettes. Louise clarified stating that the person was most likely referring to the fact that the tobacco industry denied health effects for many years. We know that vibroacoustic disease is serious and doctors worldwide have deep concerns about the long term health effects. Ms. Barteau went on to say that all health problems need to be understood, studied and responded to.
Then there was the question that seemed to try and discredit the sleep disturbance complaints of turbine neighbors. The questioner’s position was that millions of Americans suffer from sleep disorders. To this question Ms. Lopes responded saying that the turbines actually help some people sleep. It was then that we saw the ever compassionate Louise when she said “…they want to sleep, they want to enjoy their home … they want to enjoy there backyard “¦ it’s hard to complain … people have been ridiculed and it’s not fair.”
And then the “why do you speak publicly against turbines?” question. Louise addressed this question eloquently saying that her primary concern was for the people in her community and this was her motivation. “I have been speaking publicly and I will continue to speak publicly about the very real health concerns that are affecting this town” she went on to say “the most important aspects of this whole thing are public process, due process and the inclusion of the public. These turbines went up without a public hearing. How can that happen “¦ we need to include the concerns of the people who are being impacted.”
Mr. Bowcock’s questions asked of Ms. Barteau proved to provide the perfect platform for her to do what she does so well, take on the hard questions and respond in a smart, eloquent and compassionate manner.
John Methia lives in Fairhaven.
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