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Saugus Special Town Meeting preview: Energy research committee proposed  

Credit:  By Mike Gaffney | Wicked Local Saugus | Nov. 17, 2014 | saugus.wickedlocal.com ~~

A new committee is being proposed to gather information on all forms of energy and to evaluate their potential benefit to Saugus.

Joanne Vannah, the chairman of the Saugus Alternative Energy Committee, drafted a Town Meeting article to rename the committee as the Saugus Energy Research Committee (SERC).

Vannah’s submission, article 8, is one of 10 articles that makes up the special Town Meeting scheduled for Monday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at Saugus Town Hall. She also drew up article 9 to accept membership terms for SERC and article 10 to officially disband the Saugus Alternative Energy Committee.

Vannah is hoping to expand the scope of SERC to include members analyzing alternative/renewable forms of energy and fossil fuels and using data to determine if they would promote greater energy efficiency and cost effectiveness in town.

The article spells out that full consideration of public safety, public health and the environment will be given in all studies SERC undertakes.

Vannah’s proposed article stipulates that SERC will not advocate for the placement of industrial sized wind turbines within the Rumney Marsh Reservation Area of Critical Environmental Concern.

The Alternative Energy Committee received a wind power feasibility grant in June 2011 and used the funding to put together a wind power feasibility study. But the pursuit of that technology was dropped after members learned of the potential health impact of large-scale turbines on people.

Vannah has contended that more scientific research is warranted on the relationship between infrasound produced by industrial scale turbines and the effect processing those frequencies has on the inner ear.

The Alternative Energy Committee believes smaller scale wind is still a consideration for the town, but has moved on to solar farms as a better local match for alternative energy.

As for industrial size wind turbines, Vannah’s article specifies that SERC will not seek their placement anywhere in Saugus “unless or until it is determined that newer technologies of such turbines will produce wind power that is not detrimental to public or environmental health and safety.”

Vannah submitted a second Town Meeting article that tackles the membership and reappointment of SERC members.

If Town Meeting grants approval, SERC will consist of five members, including at least one Town Meeting member.

Vannah has proposed that each member serve a term of two years and request through the town moderator within two months of the term expiring if they want to stay on the committee.

Additional suggestions are that at least two SERC members have a technical background, with a preference they have certification in leadership in energy and environmental design. The article recommends that one member also be an educator.

SERC’s goals, according to the article, would be as follows:

· To research all forms of energy generation

· To promote greater energy effectiveness in conservation and production

· To educate the public on the types of energy generation and conservation

· To generate reports to facilitate access to information and support strategies proposed, as well as evaluate energy saved

· To research, explore and present grant opportunities for the town

· To establish three main short-term goals for each year, with one year given to complete the goals.

· To hold a minimum of 11 monthly open meetings a year and to aim to have at least one guest from the community attend each session

Selectman Maureen Dever commended the existing Alternative Energy Committee for its contributions to the town.

“You’re put a lot of time into this and I know how hard you’ve worked,” Dever said.

Here is a breakdown of other articles appearing on the Nov. 17 special Town Meeting warrant:

Article 2 – To raise $6,807 from overlay surplus to fund the fiscal 2004 overlay deficit in the overlay account.

Article 3 – To raise a sum of money to purchase a backhoe for the Cemetery Department.

Article 4 – To see if the town will raise money from available funds to transfer to the stabilization fund

Article 5 – To see if the town will vote to amend the zoning bylaws to add the following sentence: The Board of Selectmen by majority vote may waive the requirement of the posting of a bond.

Article 6 – To raise a sum of money from available funds to perform repairs, upgrades or replacements to the Saugus wastewater pumping station that are consistent with the recommendations made by environmental and infrastructure consultants.

Article 7 – Submitted by Town Meeting member Peter Manoogian, it requests members support a resolution regarding waste to energy, ash disposal and solid waste facilities in town.

If approved, Town Meeting members would adopt the following resolution that was previously established as town policy by the Board of Selectmen: Be it resolved that the Saugus Town Meeting wishes to encourage and support practices and policies which result in a net decrease in air emissions and ash disposal from solid waste facilities.

We are therefore opposed to any additional forms of combustion of solid waste that will yield additional air and ash emissions.

We hereby vote to support existing dates and height limitations for ash landfill closure established by the commonwealth.

Source:  By Mike Gaffney | Wicked Local Saugus | Nov. 17, 2014 | saugus.wickedlocal.com

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

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