Breaking the Spell of Bullshit (Massachusetts)
Jan 26, 2011
Editor’s note: You don’t need to be from Cape Cod to appreciate this broadside. You could be from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and still savor it. It’s a beautifully-crafted call to reason against the Gospel of Wind Energy that has gripped the Cape.
Don’t bother keeping track of the individuals and state agencies named herein. Read it for the resonance it sets up inside you—resonating to the bullshit you, too, hear from the fevered “windies” hijacking your own community.
The Great Wind Energy Awakening that has seized the popular imagination preaches the way to salvation is by building gargantuan whirling pounding flashing thumping 50-story machines in your backyard. Lots. (That’s lots of machines and lots of backyards.) The salesmen make you feel righteous by saying your community will be “hosting” a “farm.” A wind farm. And Lord knows everyone likes a farm, right? Cows ‘n chickens plus, now, doin’ your part to save the planet from global warming.)
The problem being of course that, like all fly-by-night “get rich & righteous” schemes, it’s a swindle. A costly one. Especially to you. (Naturally, the Chosen People are making serious money off it.)
No one hammers scammers better than Bibler.
From: Eric Bibler, President, Save Our Seashore (Wellfleet, MA)
To: Brewster Planning Board, Selectmen, Finance Committee, Tax Assessor & Health Dept. (Brewster, MA)
Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative (CVEC) Joins the “Cape and Islands Wind Disinformation Network”
After numerous unsuccessful attempts to obtain meeting minutes and other relevant public documents from CVEC, Save Our Seashore, following established formal procedure, filed an appeal with the Public Records Division of the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth. The Staff Attorney is now pursuing this request on our behalf.
Notwithstanding the provisions of MA Open Meeting Law regarding the maintenance and timely filing of minutes for public meetings, CVEC has not published any minutes since October of 2009.
Appeal to Public Records Division — Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth
After we filed our appeal (and copied her on the letter to the Public Records Division), Ms. Downey finally responded, saying that the minutes have “not yet been compiled.” This is unacceptable as it does not comply with the requirements of the Open Meeting Law or Public Records Law which require the timely filing of minutes, and the prompt provision of draft minutes, notes and other materials to any member of the public, upon request, as soon as a meeting has concluded. In answer, we provided Ms. Downey with copies of both of the applicable statutes and reiterated our request.
Save Our Seashore had sought minutes from November, December and January (if applicable) and basic financial information in the wake of comments by Mr. Mark Zielinski, Treasurer, and Ms. Maggie Downey, Clerk, at a recent public meeting of the Dennis Water Commission. Mr. Zielinski and Ms. Downey told the DWD that CVEC could no longer provide the same level of financial support for their proposed project that they had previously promised.
In addition, the aforementioned CVEC officials made a series of comments that called into question CVEC’s ongoing commitment to wind energy projects; the security of its financial position; and its ability to raise financing for Brewster, or any other wind energy project.
In particular, the officials noted that “the envirionment for wind energy on the Cape had changed”; that financing had become more difficult to obtain; and that two previously arranged financings in the amount of $10 million each, for Harwich and Brewster, had fallen through.
The CVEC representatives noted that they had spent significant sums of money on projects which failed to come to fruition — and likewise on the Brewster project. They characterized CVEC as having a single-minded focus on the Brewster project — presumably to recover their sunk costs — and made veiled references to significant changes in policy, or strategic direction — or both — on the part of CVEC’s Board of Directors.
Qualifications / Fitness for Duty
Since CVEC has applied for a Special Permit from the Town of Brewster to own, operate and manage a multi-million dollar industrial wind energy facility there, on land leased from the Town of Brewster, we think that questions regarding CVEC’s financial position; its ongoing commitment to wind energy; its ability to raise financing; its prior experience and competency to manage such a project; its plan for decommissioning of the facility and its ability to meet the associated financial expense of doing so; its plan for mitigation of adverse impacts and the mechanism it proposes for addressing complaints; its attention to safety issues; and the level of support that management currently enjoys from its Board of Directors; are all highly relevant issues.
It seems to us that the easiest way for CVEC to allay these concerns would simply be to provide credible and complete answers that serve to dispel such doubts. This, CVEC has repeatedly declined to do.
CVEC’s failure to maintain, or to provide, minutes and other basic information on a timely basis, or upon direct request, in compliance with applicable laws, does not inspire confidence in its ability to run a complex, multi-million dollar industrial project.
CVEC’s refusal to answer fundamental questions regarding its proposal is troubling since one would presume that if they had comforting answers to these questions, they would provide them.
CVEC’s failure to respond to such routine inquiries also raises doubt as to their future willingness and ability to respond to inevitable complaints about noise and other adverse impacts from the operation of the two 400-foot wind turbines.
CVEC’s failure to address direct questions regarding its apparent neglect to follow well-established safety precautions to protect citizens, businesses, employees, recreational users and motorists raises questions about the level of its knowledge of such issues and the extent of its commitment to public safety. Additionally, it raises the possibility that the company could be sued, at some future date, for gross negligence or neglect.
Complaints and Mitigation / “Please Hold!”
It is hard to imagine that this situation will be much improved once the project is implemented, if approved, since the current proposal provides that all complaints would be registered with the Town of Brewster, which, in turn, would have to communicate with CVEC and with a specialized contractor that CVEC would hire to run the operation. One presumes that Mr. Zielinski and Ms. Downey would retain their day jobs as County Administrator and Assistant County Administrator, respectively, of Barnstable County, and manage the affairs of the Brewster project on an ad hoc basis.
Whatever else happens, one would hope that some system of hard and fast accountability is incorporated into the Town’s agreement with CVEC since it is Brewster’s citizens who will suffer the “collateral damage” from the operation of the wind turbine and, as we have seen from installations in Falmouth and all over the world, the temptation to ignore, or stonewall, complaints — and keep operating the wind turbines for the revenue — is almost irresistible. “Mitigation” is almost always, and everywhere, all talk and no action.
False and Grossly Misleading Statements / Repeated Denials of Established Fact
As we have previously noted, some CVEC representatives, including Ms. Downey, have made repeated public statements that are either knowingly false, grossly misleading or wholly ignorant of the vast body of research concerning the adverse impacts of industrial wind turbines. CVEC representatives continue to make these statements notwithstanding the fact that numerous individuals and organizations have pointed out to them that their statements are inconsistent with the known facts.
“No Evidence of Adverse Health Effects” / “No Evidence of Adverse Effect on Property Values”
For example, at a recent informational meeting, Ms. Downey declared that “there is no evidence of health effects arising from infra-sound.”
Additionally, Ms. Downey declared that “there is no evidence of an effect on the value or sale of property,” Downey said. “I’ve heard anecdotal but I can’t work in that world. I have to work in the world of concrete facts.”
Both of these statements are false, as Ms. Downey surely knows.
Save Our Seashore, other groups and individual citizens have provided the Town of Brewster and CVEC with extensive documentation of the harmful effects of wind turbine noise, including infrasound, from independent, objective technical and scientific sources — as opposed to the information that CVEC has provided in support of its claims, virtually all of which has been provided by the American Wind Energy Association, a wind energy lobbyist, or other sources that have been widely discredited.
Time and again, CVEC and its spokespersons resort to citing the same handful of flawed sources as a bulwark to keep the vast tide of independent research at bay. It is grossly irresponsible of CVEC to continue this practice long after the flaws of their sources, including their questionable methods and origins, have been pointed out to them by numerous parties.
Ms. Lilli Green also provided the Brewster Planning Board with a copy of the information that she had previous y provided to the MA Department of Health on the topic of adverse health and safety impacts — enough material to fill two six inch binders.
Additionally, many of the same parties, including Save Our Seashore, and numerous private citizens have provided the Planning Board with extensive documentation of the significantly adverse impact of wind turbine installations upon property values in the form of various articles and press reports from around the world and multiple property impact studies performed by licensed real estate appraisers to assess damage from specific projects.
We provided the Planning Board (and CVEC) with numerous first person testimonials and we even provided them with a copy of an article from the journal of the American Bar Association noting that lawsuits for damages from wind turbine noise have become a growth industry.
CVEC, as the applicant under the Special Permit process, should have received copies of all of this information from the Town of Brewster. They cannot be ignorant of such information; and it does not do them credit to deny it.
False Representations of the Affected Area and the Impact of the Project
Even more troubling are the many false, and misleading, misrepresentations that CVEC representatives have made in order to garner support for the project.
For example, as a recent article in the Cape Cod Times illustrates, CVEC representatives have habitually misrepresented the potential impact of the project upon the residents of Brewster.
CVEC representatives have repeatedly stated — as do all of their formal informational materials that they have offered to the public and that the Town of Brewster has published on its official website — that “there are only seven homes within a half mile of the turbines” and that “the turbines are in a relatively empty corner of town.”
But CVEC has neglect to mention that one of those “homes” is the Woodlands Assisted Living Community, which houses numerous elderly, full-time residents in several apartments and which has the ability to house up to 59 elderly residents at full capacity.
CVEC also has neglected to mention that the Woodlands center has the same owner, and shares the same private access with, the Pleasant Bay Nursing and Retirement Center, whose purpose is to care for patients (most of them elderly) who cannot care for themselves. Pleasant Bay has 135 beds for ailing residents, most of them elderly, who are recuperating from surgery or otherwise cannot care for themselves.
CVEC counts Woodlands — capacity 59 beds — as one of the seven “homes” or “residences” within a half-mile radius of the wind turbines. CVEC ignores Pleasant Bay because it is approximately 200 feet beyond the arbitrary half-mile mark, but one presumes that this would be “home” or “residence” Number 8 (capacity 135 beds) if it were a few feet closer to the 40 story industrial machines.
CVEC doesn’t even mention these facilities, other than to characterize one of them as one of a handful of “residences”; but if these two facilities which straddle the half-mile mark were properly acknowledged, the potential number of people residing in this “home” at an approximate distance of 1//2 mile would truthfully be reported as 194 occupants.
Furthermore, if CVEC were honest — and if they were willing to read, or acknowledge, any of the abundant research on the adverse health impacts of wind turbine noise, especially from infrasound — they might have concluded that the residents of these two facilities were at high risk of experiencing serious health problems for the following reasons:
1) The residents of these two facilities are all, by definition, either elderly or suffering from poor health — or both. That is why they are there.
2) Research suggests (see Kamperman and James) that the elderly may be more susceptible to adverse health impacts from wind turbine noise than younger members of the population.
3) Several clinical studies and peer reviewed papers by Dr. Nina Pierpont (whose book was, indeed, peer reviewed, by they way); Dr. Michael Nissenbaum; Dr. Robert McMurtry; Dr. Alec Salt, and others have demonstrated that wind turbine noise does indeed produce serious, harmful effects over varying, but substantial distances and that children and the elderly are often particularly acutely affected.
4) New research (by Dr. Sarah Laurie and others) in Australia suggests that wind turbine noise may have a pronounced adverse effect upon blood pressure and normal heart function.
5) The World Health Organization has stated that symptoms such as sleep deprivation, elevated blood pressure, anxiousness and other symptoms do constitute, or produce, significant adverse health impacts over time. Additionally, the WHO has published very stringent recommended tolerances for night time noise, particularly in rural areas.
CVEC, its spokespersons and the Town of Brewster have all of this information at their disposal — because concerned citizens have gone to great lengths to attempt to educate them to all of these serious harms.
I can tell you, as a practicing EMT, that subjecting elderly patients to any stimulus that raises their blood pressure or disregulates their normal heart function would not be beneficial to them. But the main point is that CVEC’s comments are beyond disingenuous: they are fundamentally dishonest. Such dishonesty calls into question their commitment to operating the facility and a safe and sound manner and whether the Town of Brewster should trust them.
We are at a loss to understand why the owner of the facilities — Woodlands and Pleasant Bay — has not taken more aggressive action to protect the viability of his business, and the health of his patrons, but we are concerned for them all, nonetheless. Perhaps, as with many other wind installations in places like Falmouth and around the world, the owner will put his faith in the reassurances of the proponents of the project — including CVEC and the Board of Selectmen — only to discover, too late, that such faith was unwarranted.
Here is a link to a recent article reporting all of the comments referenced above: Brewster turbine plan’s green benefits touted.
Operating in “an Empty Corner of Town, an Industrial Park”
CVEC representatives have also repeatedly stated that the project will be operated “in a relatively empty corner of town” and in “an industrial park”; but they have declined to mention that the standard “ice throw” hazard zones and the “clear area” and the “evacuation area” prescribed by the manufacturer will shadow Route 6, local roads, numerous businesses and parking lots, a driving range and a municipal golf course, subjecting them all to potential hazard.
Ms. Liz Argo, a paid spokesperson for CVEC on the Brewster project, wrote an Op Ed in November (in which she neglected to reveal her association with CVEC), urging adoption of the project to help “bring the troops home” — even though she has attended at least three public forums where the presenters displayed official U.S. statistics demonstrating that only 1% of electricity is produced by burning oil (and that virtually all of our fuels for electricity are sourced in the U.S. or Canada).
Erecting industrial wind turbines in Brewster cannot possibly have even an infinitesimal impact on our “energy independence” from foreign oil or help us to “bring the troops home” — as Ms. Argo knows.
Ms. Argo has also repeatedly stated that the project as “extremely well sited” because of its proximity to Route 6 and because the nearest resident is 1800 feet away, a distance that she characterizes as ample — despite an abundance of evidence to the contrary (the same evidence that, according to Ms. Downey, simply does not exist).
Ms Argo maintains that the proximity of the wind turbines to Route 6 make the project “undeniably well-sited” because the noise from Route 6 will help to mask any offending noise from the wind turbine.
But Ms. Argo neglects to mention that one of the wind turbines will be so close to the road that it will place Route 6 within the perimeter prescribed by most wind turbine manufacturers (including GE Energy) and German regulatory authorities as a “hazard zone” from ice throw.
Additionally, the wind turbines will place much of Route 6 — not to mention numerous other roads and facilities — at risk within the “stay clear” area and “evacuation area” prescribed by the manufacturer, the latter in the case of fire or malfunction. This is something to think about since Cape Cod is vulnerable from hurricanes; since wind turbines are vulnerable to lightning strikes; and since Route 6 is the major artery on the Cape and a key evacuation route.
Ms. Argo has argued that these precautions are routinely violated in the virtually unregulated industry of industrial wind, pointing out numerous examples where operators have ignored them. Everyone else does it. Why not Brewster?
Ms. Argo also argues that fires, accidents, thrown blades, mechanical malfunction and ice throw are all relatively rare occurrences in the normal course of operation and are not a cause for undue concern. We argue that the record shows that there have been numerous spectacular failures of one kind or another. And we ask Ms. Argo: “Why, then, do we wear seat belts when driving to the corner grocery store?”
“Route 6 Will ‘Mask the Noise’ from the Wind Turbines”
Although Ms. Argo points to Route 6 as a source of noise which will mitigate the adverse health impacts of the wind turbines, she neglects to mention how this can possibly be of any benefit during the night, or during the off-season, at times when Route 6 is lightly traveled. Perhaps Ms. Argo may want to provide some information on traffic density on Route 6 — at appropriate times of day — to support this fanciful notion.
I recently drove Route 6 past Brewster, from Barnstable to Wellfleet at 9:30 p.m. on a Thursday and encountered only a handful of other vehicles on the entire trip. I even got a warning ticket in Eastham for doing 52 miles an hour in a 40 mile an hour zone. As I explained to the officer (after thanking him for giving me a break), it’s hard sometimes to realize how fast you are going on an empty road.
Therefore, I’m skeptical that anyone trying to sleep in Brewster during the night time hours of January (or even June) could expect much relief from “the traffic noise on Route 6.”
Nor does the available research support Ms. Argo’s contention that traffic noise has any significant “masking” effect upon wind turbine noise.
In fact, to the contrary, the opposite is true: all available research (the research that doesn’t exist) suggests that wind turbine noise has an ability to penetrate other forms of ambient noise and to be heard and perceived by “receptors” — and to impact them severely — notwithstanding the competition. For the uninitiated, “receptors” is the euphemism that wind energy proponents use for people — like the elderly people at Woodlands and Pleasant Bay or those currently suffering from the “obsolete” (again, according to Ms. Argo) wind turbines in Falmouth — who are subjected to the noise.
The Cape is “Wealthy In Wind” (But the Pursuit of It Impoverishes Us All)
Ms. Argo urges her readers to embrace the project in Brewster — and other projects throughout the Cape — arguing that “the Cape is wealthy in wind.”
But Ms. Argo neglects to mention that in order to mine that wealth — to “harness the wind” — the wind energy developers in Brewster, and elsewhere, invariably appropriate resources that do not belong to them:
» They deface the scenic landscape of Cape Cod with giant, kinetic, industrial structures — 40 and 50 stories high — that are “out-of-character” and “out-of-scale” with the landscape – two notable violations of the Design Guidelines for Large Structures published by Cape Cod Commission (but ignored by CVEC, Brewster and the Commission itself in the rush to harness the perceived “wealth” in the wind which, truth be told, is really no more than a mirage).
» They invade — or attempt to invade, as in the case of CVEC — historic preservation areas. As we know, after having had their plans thwarted on these grounds previously, CVEC has even vowed to seek special legislation from Beacon Hill to exempt wind 40 and 50 story wind turbines from review based upon their impact on historic districts. What clearer indication could there be of the developer’s intent to appropriate resources that don’t belong to him than such a brazen ploy to steal those resources, outright, broad daylight, in this fashion?
» They subject residents to untold miseries of rhythmic, industrial, unending noise, 24 hours a day, and a host of serious adverse health consequences, including sleep deprivation; headaches; ringing in the ears; pressure in the ears; elevated blood pressure; anxiety and depression — just to name a few.
Ms. Argo, and other proponents, dismiss these symptoms as “mere annoyance” that does not constitute a “medical diagnosis.” When residents of Falmouth stand to testify, saying “Let me tell you what it’s like at MY house,” Ms. Argo, Ms. Downey and the other representatives of the developers dismiss their first-person accounts as “merely anecdotal;” “not peer reviewed;” and “not part of the world of concrete facts” — as if we are to dismiss the descriptions of the victims as having no relevance.
Kindly refer to the tables of figure compiled by our acoustic consultants, they say, which demonstrate, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that OUR wind turbine, with its “new and improved technology” will be whisper quiet. No louder than a refrigerator. We promise.
» They lay waste to fragile habitats and conservation areas, killing birds and bats and — even worse — driving wildlife off or severely compromising their ability to nest and hunt because of the disruptive, chronic noise.
» They subject enormous areas to an intense strobe-like effect at various times of day, when the sun is low in the sky — so intense that it is easily perceived through closed eye lids; so intense that people have been known to tape heavy canvas to their windows or shove towels under door jambs in an effort to achieve some relief.
Ms. Argo and others confidently assert that there is no evidence that this intense “flicker pattern” triggers epileptic fits — that’s a relief. But they ignore the sheer hell of it for any innocent citizen who can no longer enjoy a beer on his deck, read a book in his living room, play catch in the backyard with his twelve year old son, enjoy a round of golf after work, drive home walk the dog at certain hours of the day.
Instead, Ms. Argo and other industry spokespersons — on behalf of CVEC and the Board of Selectmen of Brewster — prefer to lecture us about how many hours a year we should be willing to subject ourselves to this outrage — for their sake — and to pontificate about whether the “industry standard” (invariable a made up number) for flicker is 10 hours, 30 hours or 50 hours per year.
Or, when not confidently informing us how many hours per year we shoudl be willing to endure — spread out into convenient 15 to 30 minute episodes over numerous days — just to reinforce the idea that we have completely lost control over our lives — Ms. Argo and other spokespersons tell us that, in any event, the problem is “easily mitigated” by planting a few trees and installing some blinds — notwithstanding the fact, yet again, that this assertion in pure fiction, unsupported by the evidence.
» Wind turbines have a long-proven history of decimating nearby property values — and with good reason, since the value of any property is a reflection of its “desirability” to a potential purchaser.
No one in their right mind would argue that adding a 400 foot billboard — or two — to the neighborhood improves the desirability of property there; nor would the Town of Brewster, or the Cape Cod Commission, for that matter, ever allow a private developer, or even the Town itself, to erect such a monstrosity, no matter what the projected rent to the owner!Industrial wind turbines — with flashing red FAA beacons and 7 ton blades that move at over 150 mph — are much, much worse than billboards — and much bigger, too — for all of the reasons listed above. Yet the proponents argue that they may even increase property values and increase tourism, too, as the rubes from off Cape come to gawk at the machines.
Residents in Falmouth and hundreds of other locations can attest to the dramatic decline in their quality of life — irrespective of whether or not “Wind Turbine Syndrome” is officially recognized as a bona fide “medical diagnosis” or merely constitutes an “annoyance.” Potential buyers understandably shy away from such property. Why purchase a house that is bedeviled by a wind turbine when you can just as easily search elsewhere for one that isn’t? Ask any real estate agent in the vicinity of an industrial wind energy installation and they will tell you: people don’t even want to look a these properties; and real estate agents don’t want to waste their time showing them.
Although these facts are bolstered by comprehensive property impact studies, this information, as far as the proponents are concerned, is “merely anecdotal,” and therefore of no value.
» Legitimate Uses of Land and Property Rights. Residential property use; scenic and historic preservation; recreation; natural conservation — these are all legitimate uses of property that define Cape Cod. In fact, these are the very uses of land, and the very values, which the Cape Cod Commission is sworn to preserve, protect and uphold.
Where is it written, anywhere in the Charter of the Cape Cod Commission, in the founding legislation of the National Seashore, in the bylaws of the Town of Brewster — anywhere — that industrialization of the Cape through wind energy — using 40 and 50 story machines — is a goal that takes precedence over all others?
Where is it written that these land uses are illegitimate and secondary, that they must bow to wind energy, that they are no as important to the “unique character and special charm of the Cape” (to quote the Cape Cod Commission’s Design Guidelines, yet again)….as industrial wind energy?
Where is it written that a private developer; an electric cooperative; a Town; or a national park superintendent should be allowed to ride rough shod over the legitimate interests, and long-cherished values, of multiple generations of citizens on Cape Cod?
Where is the language in the Special Permit bylaws of the Town of Brewster that obligates any other community or property interest to submit to such insidious and unhealthy noise; to tolerate one minute of intense, virtually unbearable “flicker”; to suffer gladly the precipitate decline in his quality of life, his health or the value of his property?
And finally, where is it written that individual citizens, property owners, habitual visitors and health victims — including the “collateral damage,” in Falmouth — should have to skip their insurance payments, drain their bank accounts of liquidate their retirement funds in order to hire lawyers and consultants to prove the harm — and to get the authorities to actually do something about it?
Is it not for the Applicant — or the Operator — to prove the absence of harm — beyond a shadow of a doubt — and to cease and desist operations if he cannot control it?
Wealthy in wind indeed!
Undoubtedly, this is a statement whose truth depends entirely upon your point of view: namely, whether you are collecting the tax credits, the net metering subsidies and the renewable energy credits; and whether you are appropriating public and private resources that simply do not belong to you; or whether you are sacrificing them — all for the benefit of altruistic operators like New Generation Wind, LLC, the shell corporation that wants to cash in on this opportunity in Bourne, or individual towns like Falmouth and Brewster.
Wind Energy Critics Wear Tin Foil Hats and Spend Too Much Time on the Internet
This may be the most galling, and the most perverse, argument that is routinely marshalled by wind energy proponents, including CVEC spokesman, Ms. Argo, to muddy the water and discredit the critics. It is a tried and true routine that springs straight from the “talking points” section of the American Wind Energy Association website where their favorite theme is to contrast “Fact vs. Fiction.”
Once they’ve properly framed the debate, they proceed through their “science based facts” — all of which are pure fiction and then dismiss all of the factual arguments of their critics as “fiction” — the desperate ravings of NIMBY’s, naive global warming denialists and outright nincompoops who have too much time on their hands and get carried away surfing the internet. And you know that they’re right. After all, who can you trust for an impartial opinion if you can’t trust a lobbyist?
It would be laughable if it weren’t so painfully effective — at least until people learn the facts.
It is in this proud tradition that Ms Argo concludes her recent Op Ed piece, denigrating the handful of “angry and tearful” citizens who “bombarded” the Assembly of Delegates with their “horror stories and misinformation.”
According to Ms. Argo:
Fear and politics seem to have co-opted the careful and responsible review that should attend wind energy proposals. Instead of rationale, local review representatives witness a citizenry that is terrified by misinformation. It is reminiscent of the outcry against Guglielmo Marconi ‘s work on radio waves, or the outcry against cars due to their frightening effect on horses. It’s reminiscent of the old fears of microwaves and high tension wires. Even elevators terrified the public when first introduced….
“Politicians, hopeful of reelection, can not be expected to stand tall in the face of the kind of hysteria we’re seeing demonstrated at Cape Cod hearings on wind projects. An over-riding agency is needed, whether it is the Cape Cod Commission, using, as yet, undeveloped Technical Standards, or, it is the proposed State Wind Energy Siting Board. The process needs rescuing. Our local representatives are under too much pressure and are not equipped to sort the hysteria from the facts.”
Here is a link to the entire Op Ed: Response to the Assembly of Delegates.
In other words, the Assembly of Delegates — spineless nincompoops all — were simply fooled into rejecting the Cape Cod Commission’s proposed Minimum Performance Standards (which essentially eliminated all meaningful standards and promised “to fill in the blanks later”) by an 84% majority last November, by an hysterical, vocal minority.
Citizens who express concern about the consequences of industrial wind energy on Cape Cod today are no more deserving of respect and consideration than the uninformed and superstitious citizens of earlier generations who feared Marconi’s wireless radio, cars, microwaves, high tension wires and even elevators.
Just where does Ms. Argo think that we found all of the scientists, electrical engineers, medical doctors, acoustic noise experts, authors and reporters from mainstream publications such as Audiology Today, Acoustic Ecology, the National Park Service Park Science Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the NY Times, the journal of the American Bar Association, major universities and professional associations, expert testimony, state and national health boards, et al — at a U.F.O. Convention in New Mexico?
Can Ms. Argo really hope to brazen it out in this fashion, when her only rebuttal to all of this “hysteria” — to all of the independent, impartial, fully documented information provided by well-meaning citizens to their local decision makers in good faith — is a handful of dog-eared, and fully discredited “white papers” commissioned by AWEA, the wind industry lobby, and a handful of others, like the Department of Energy, with an agenda to promote?
Out with Local Autonomy and Home Rule / In with the State Siting Council!
Ms. Argo insists that, “It’s time for the old guard to join the new century!”
But Ms. Argo also concludes that the situation is essentially hopeless because “local representatives” are incapable of exercising their own judgment or faithfully representing the best interests of their citizens in the face of such “hysteria.”
Apparently, you can’t fool all of the people all of the time; but according to Ms. Argo, you can fool the Assembly of Delegates 84% of the time (or is that 84% of the Delegates some of the time?).
It’s time, says Ms. Argo, to establish “an over-riding agency” — like “the proposed State Wind Energy Citing Board” envisioned in the Wind Energy Siting Reform Act last year — so that the external, “over-riding agency” will be free to embrace Ms. Argo’s point of view and to “over-ride” all local concerns from the hysterical “old guard” that still places a high value on the preservation of existing, and legitimate, rights and values on Cape Cod.
Does that sound familiar? Well, it should.
Ms. Argo is proposing the same program that CVEC espouses in its vow to pursue special legislation to neuter the Old Kings Highway Historic District Commission. Why can’t those folks in the old guard, on the OKH Historic District Commission, see the wisdom of “joining the new century”?
Do you think someone should tell Ms. Argo that they entire Cape Cod delegation to the State House is opposed to the WESRA legislation because they fear just such a loss of local autonomy and control over their own fate?
Isn’t this what the dictators always say? That democracy is just so….unwieldy that it’s impossible to get anything done? Better to place total control in the hands of a small group of people who agree with Ms. Argo’s “facts” — and act decisively, no matter what the community says that they want, no?
That is the solution that Ms. Argo proposes. She wants to place herself — or some like-minded individual — in the position of making the sole determination of which facts are “fiction” and which conveniently enabling fictions should be embraced as “fact.” And why wouldn’t she? This is exactly the same approach that she has pursued in Brewster; in Harwich; in Bourne; and in front of the Cape Cod Commission for a very long time now.
Where Do We Go from Here?
We are hopeful that CVEC, with the encouragement from the Public Records Division, will soon provide the public with the information that we have requested.
We have made our concerns known to the Brewster Planning Board and it is our hope that the Planning Board will appreciate the seriousness of these questions — and will have better luck at obtaining answers to all of them from CVEC, its proposed partner.
Although it is sometimes difficult for us to avoid allowing a very frustrated tone to color our correspondence, we have tried our level best to respect the intelligence, the good judgment and the civic commitment of the members of the Brewster Planning Board and other Town Boards and Committees — all of whose members are striving to act responsibly and to pursue the course of action that they deem to be in the best interests of Brewster and Cape Cod.
Save Our Seashore is just one organization among many groups and individuals who have studied this issue of industrial wind energy long and hard. I am willing to compare our collective depth of knowledge — and the integrity of our information — against that of anyone. All of that knowledge was acquired the hard way, with endless hours of effort by dedicated individuals who, like you, have dedicated themselves to trying to do the right thing on behalf of Brewster and Cape Cod.
We don’t mean to make our criticisms personal, but it is impossible to rebut false claims without stating who said them, in what context, and why their arguments are hollow or destructive to the debate, to individual citizens, to Brewster and to the larger community.
We don’t begrudge anyone their good intentions and, in fact, I’m sure that we share the same goals. Everyone in our organization, without exception, is an ardent environmentalist and every single one of us has enjoyed a longstanding love affair with Cape Cod.
But sometimes good people operating from the best of intentions can pursue a course of action that has unforeseen, distinctly harmful, and long lasting consequences. We are attempting to show you that, in our view, the proposal to erect two 400 foot wind turbines in Brewster carries many hidden costs and, worse, will impose unjust burdens, unwarranted risks and undue hardship on significant number of people.
In our view, no matter how promising this project may have seemed to you initially, we believe that you must conclude that it would be irresponsible of the Planning Board to approve it.
Thank you for considering our point of view. Please know that we are at your disposal if you should care to challenge us, or seek further information, on any point.