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Residents state views on wind farm lawsuits 

Credit:  Written by Susan Vaughn | The Barnstable Patriot | May 30, 2014 | www.barnstablepatriot.com ~~

The town council’s public comment time was filled the past two weeks, first with supporters of the Cape Wind turbine project, then with opponents. They wanted to let the council know their views before its executive session to consider an appeal of pending litigation.

The council postponed the session from May 15 to May 22, which allowed for the additional comments. The results of the session will not be released immediately, Assistant Town Attorney Charles McLaughlin said.

At the May 15 council meeting, 13 people urged the council to stop pursuing lawsuits against the Cape Wind project. The town has participated in more than two dozen lawsuits costing about $300,000. Barnstable’s objections to Cape Wind’s location in Nantucket Sound have gone on for 13 years.

“Fold the lawsuits. It’s time to move on,” Christopher McGowan of West Barnstable advised the council.aDick Bartlett of Cotuit said the council has been “hoodwinked” into participating in lawsuits. “Don’t embarrass our town when you vote on this,” Bartlett said.

Peter Sampou, a member of the conservation commission and a scientist who has lived in Denmark where turbines are common, pointed to climate change issues. Stephen Peckham of Centerville, who went to Denmark to look at wind farms, said he is worried about the quality of life and use of fossil fuels. “Get our hands out of fossil fuel’s deep pockets,” he said.

Lynn Kraus of West Barnstable, a marine biologist and former teacher speaking for the first time at the town council, gave the most impassioned arguments in support of Cape Wind. She said the town has “succumbed to a small group and never consulted the citizens. The town has become arrogant on this matter…. We the citizens are your clients. You should be embarrassed.”

William Skinner called the town “a water carrier for NIMBY waterfront folks.” Others said the project would increase jobs and be antithetical to the tourism industry.

Diana Duffley, whose Hyannis County Garden has a working windmill, asked the council to consider how the world will view the town. She said the wind farm could create eco-tourism and serve as “a beacon of hope for change to a cleaner future.”

Allison Alessi, chairwoman of the renewable energy commission, said she favors Cape Wind and is not sure what the town’s objection to it is.

On the other side of the issue on May 22, the wind farm opponents said the project would not create jobs for Cape Cod residents and the profits will go overseas.

Audra Parker of the Alliance to Save Nantucket Sound, a major opponent of Cape Wind, said, “The town’s objections have been effective” in forcing additional studies. She also said the electric rates would triple with the wind power.

Another objector, Robert Biancho, said, “No one objects to wind {power),” but that the project is about “tax credits, political donations and making money.”

Cliff Carroll, a businessman and native of Barnstable, cited potential oil spills from the proposed 10-story oil transformer platform in the Sound “that could hit the shoreline in four and a half hours.”

Wayne Kurker of Hyannis Port cited the expense of the project and the extra cost of electricity.

Most councilors defended their opposition to the wind farm, with a couple staying neutral and only James Tinsley expressing continued support. However, he said he will support the council’s decision after hearing both sides.

Councilor John Norman said he has been elected in two primaries and two elections as a staunch opponent “fighting against the industrialized plant on our shore.” He asked, “Why should one wealthy individual get more wealthy?” He said he has supported other energy projects when they are not a detriment to the environment, as he believes Cape Wind is.

Jim Crocker said the increased energy costs from Cape Wind will make the Cape the highest ratepayer for electricity, but he said he didn’t know how he would vote on the latest case until he hears from the town attorney.

Debra Dagwan said she is still against it, but is moving closer in favor. “Some councilors still have an open mind,” she said.

Paul Hebert urged more discussion between both sides of the issue. “It is about our children and the future,” he said. “I’m asking to keep a dialog going, rather than litigation. We need to communicate and come to an agreement that is best for everyone.”

Source:  Written by Susan Vaughn | The Barnstable Patriot | May 30, 2014 | www.barnstablepatriot.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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