Despite an emergency Wind Turbine moratorium, recently issued by the North Smithfield Town Council, the proposed 465-foot industrial turbine for historic Old Smithfield Road may still move forward. Equivalent to a skyscraper 47 stories high, five stories wide, at 2.5 megawatts, it would be one one of the largest wind turbines east of the Mississippi.
With little or no study, the Planning Board “conditionally” approved the turbine. All of this occurred with no notice to the neighbors until it was slated to go to the Zoning Board.
It makes no sense to move forward with a project of this magnitude, much less while a moratorium is in place, considering the impact and consequences to town residents.
Wind turbines produce little electricity, yet yield high profits for the developers and land owners, the Pacheco family. They and the developer make all the money and the town gains nothing from this turbine, while human lives, wildlife and precious habitats are exposed to adverse health affects.
The Planning Board’s mission statement includes to study “development as affecting the health, safety, morals, and general welfare of the people and the economy and efficiency of community life.” What happened?
The future of this town’s natural resources and the health of its residents for generations must be protected. The clearing of trees, building of service roads, laying of extensive/dangerous electric cable, harm to wetlands, vernal pools, wildlife, reservoirs and residents would be devastating. Not to speak of the visual disturbance for miles and concerns of the close proximity of an airport and subsequent air traffic.
Two reservoirs are located within the 1/2-mile radius of the turbine. Reservoirs, precious water, that is supposed to be protected per the town’s “comprehensive plan.”
Booth Pond is just over 1/2 mile away from the site. Designated a conservation area to protect the drinking water of North Smithfield and Woonsocket, as a town park and to protect the state’s rare dragonfly species. Conservation? Nothing and no one will be protected or conserved if this turbine is erected.
Vertigo, heart issues, headaches, severe sleep disruption, ringing in the ears are by products of these powerful machines. This turbine has noise decibels of 55. The World Health Organization warns anything over 40 decibels has adverse health affects. Also the infrasound produced, which cannot be heard, is much more harmful.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has warned of the dangers of wind turbines to raptors, bats, song birds and many other species. Millions of birds and bats are slaughtered each year.
The town’s “comprehensive plan” calls for the protection of the Old Smithfield Road Historic district recognized by town, state and the National Register of Historic Places. This precious, iconic piece of town history must will be dramatically changed.
The Pacheco family opposed the same wind developer when turbines were proposed for Dowling Village. Poised to make over a million dollars by renting land, they now embrace wind turbines. They claim they are saving their farm land for the good of the town. Incorrect. No one wins but the land owner and developer at the expense and health of the town’s residents.
A residential rural neighborhood is not the place for hazardous industrial machines. It would be reckless and irresponsible to allow such a travesty for the personal gain of one family when considering the clear and present danger to many families and to the future of the town.
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