Fairhaven Wind Turbine Rant and Bombastic Speech
Posted in the Fairhaven Forum
Town has not circumvented the democratic process
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var isoPubDate ='January 05, 2012'January 05, 2012 10:30 AM
(Editor's note: The letter to which Mr. Bowcock is referring appears on page A2 of today's edition of the Advocate.)
To the editor:
I just finished reading the letter in The Standard-Times offered by Ken Pottel stating that the democratic process has been circumvented in Fairhaven. Mr. Pottel's letter may be used in the future to demonstrate that wind turbines, even before construction, interfere with neuronal connections, and cerebral function. Mr. Pottel's letter stated that the construction of two wind turbines in Fairhaven somehow circumvented the law and the democratic process. Not true!
Mr. Pottel needs to be reminded that Town Meeting members voted to allow the selectmen to engage in the process of negotiating the present contracts. It was a majority of Town Meeting members that approved this process. What could be more democratic than that?
Mr. Pottel goes on to state that placing small ads in the back of the Neighborhood News, a local newspaper, should not suffice as notification to abutters and residents. The Neighborhood News is a legitimate local newspaper. However, it is my understanding that Mr. Pottel's attorney was called and notified in the spring of 2011, when wetlands were flagged and construction was to begin.
The Conservation Commission for the Town of Fairhaven held hearings and these hearings were also published in the local newspaper, and it is my understanding that Mr. Pottel's attorney was notified. Massachusetts DEP also placed a notification in the local newspaper, regarding a comment period, and I was also informed that Mr. Pottel's attorney was informed of this also.
How then has the democratic process, been circumvented? Mr. Pottel, you live more than one mile away from the proposed construction site; you are not an abutter. Your letter continues to provide more misinformation, historical revisionism and false facts.
You even were able to attack the Green Communities Act passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Patrick. Did the governor and legislators also circumvent the democratic process?
Anyone interested in propaganda and misinformation should access Mr. Pottel's web site. Just remember the famous quote Ken: "You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people, all the time."
Brian K. Bowcock, D.C.
Selectman, Town of Fairhaven
Citizens' rights are denied in Fairhaven
Jan 05, 2012 10:30 AM
To the editor:
The rights of the citizens of Fairhaven have been denied under the guise of the Green Communities Act. This law requires that town officials only need to ask for a building permit. The only way that town residents can find out about a building permit is to go to the Town Hall every few weeks and check to see what permits have been applied for. Town leaders now have a law which allows them to circumnavigate the democratic process.
The central issue is that no notice was given to abutters and no public hearings held regarding the erecting of two 400-foot industrial wind turbines in the middle of a Fairhaven neighborhood. In the past, the Board of Selectmen and the Conservation Commission would have been required to notify abutters and hold a public hearing. It is not enough to place a small ad in the back pages of the Neighborhood News and expect that this suffices as notification to abutters and to town residents.
Town leaders through their actions have demonstrated a lack of transparency dealing with the turbine project. The turbines have been discussed in a number of executive sessions. Agendas of meetings are posted 48 hours in advance on the town's bulletin board. Therefore, the only way to access this information is to go to the Town Hall 48 hours in advance every week. This places an unfair burden on the citizens.
Furthermore, why would the residents of Fairhaven, who had no idea what was going on in the first place, be going to the Town Hall to check on the agenda? A building permit advertisement of the project occurred in the local free paper, Neighborhood News. Again, this doesn't pass the test of allowing for public input and public notification. Newspaper notices and articles on the project are no substitutes for public hearings and notification to abutters.
Those living in the impacted area had no knowledge that the project was going forward. The parents at the nearby Wood Elementary School also knew nothing about the project. This is a source of contention because a controversial townwide vote was taken to build a new school. No one knew at the time of the vote that the school to be built would be in the vicinity of two 400-foot wind turbines. Was there a deliberate attempt by town officials to keep this information from the public so that the vote for the new school would pass?
Some town committees were not informed that the project, after being held up in court four years ago, was now going forward. The project is now being developed by a new company formed under a Limited Liability Corporation. The Finance Committee should have reviewed the amended lease and the new financial arrangement but they were never given the opportunity.
Information on a noise study that was done this year was never shared with the public. Why was this noise study not shared with the public? The study did not include infrasound, which is the noise from the turbines you don't hear but can make you ill. Any noise study dealing with wind turbines should include infrasound. We only learned of this study through a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
The rights of people to participate in the democratic process through town boards, notification to abutters, and public hearings is a sacred right that has been denied to the citizens of Fairhaven. The Green Communities Act allows town leaders to take away the rights of the citizens of Massachusetts as it relates to these kinds of municipal projects. We believe that this law raises constitutional issues regarding free speech and due process. We have video documentation on the Board of Selectmen's meeting providing further evidence to support our position. To view the video of the Board of Selectmen's meeting go to www.windwise.org .
Kenneth W. Pottel
Project Type: Wind
Palmer's Role: Co-Developer/Investor
Transaction Size (Total Financing or Tax Credits):$8,757,000
Palmer teamed up with CCI Energy LLC and Solaya Energy LLC to bring wind energy to this Massachusetts community. For its part, Palmer assisted with start-up capital and the structuring of the transaction to comply with the regulations for net metering as established by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. Palmer also worked with the local utility, the Town of Fairhaven, contractors, the selected wind turbine manufacturer and various financing sources to bring this project to fruition. All of the power from this 2-turbine project will be sold to the Town of Fairhaven, including the Town’s adjacent wastewater treatment plant. Besides providing clean and renewable energy to the Town, Fairhaven is also projected to receive about $200,000 in annual benefits from a combination of cost savings by reducing the price it pays per kilowatt hour and from lease and property tax payments for the siting of the turbines on Town property. Considerable time and resources were expended in educating the Town and its residents about the benefits that will be derived from such a facility. In addition, many studies were completed showing the minimal impact of wind turbines to the adjacent neighborhoods. The project was approved at a Special Town Meeting and is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2012.
We are just reading in the Florida newscast about what is going on in Fairhaven, Massachusetts
This is the cradle of liberty ?
Structural Failure : Safety : New York
January 30, 2012 Wind-turbine fire under investigation
SHAUN KITTLE Press-Republican The Press Republican Mon Jan 30, 2012, 02:28 AM EST
ALTONA — A wind turbine in the Altona Wind Park caught fire Saturday evening, but the cause of the blaze is still under investigation.
According to a press release from Noble Environmental Power, the company responsible for building the wind turbines dotting the Altona landscape, there was no damage incurred to anything besides the turbine, and there was no risk to people.
But that doesn't mean no one noticed.
As Phil Tucker and his wife, Meredith, turned onto Rand Hill Road from Military Turnpike in Altona Saturday, they were greeted by a flash that lit up the night sky.
Upon reaching their home on Rand Hill Road, the Tuckers could see the source of the flash. Flames were consuming the top portion of a wind turbine behind the Rand Hill Dairy Farm, which is across the street from their house.
"The fire caught one of the blades and made it look like a Roman candle," Phil said. "There was a snow squall that night, but we could see the flames burning right through it."
Even though the cause of the fire is still unknown, according to Noble Environmental Power, Phil thinks natural forces might have been responsible.
"We saw a flash and then heard a bang, just like a lightning strike," Mr. Tucker said.
The wind turbine is one of two on James Van Arman's property. Van Arman said he was surprised to learn that the wind turbine had caught fire.
"Noble has a regular routine for maintenance," Van Arman said. "And I was out there at 4:30 (p.m.) and everything was fine."
Altona Fire Chief Alan Mitchell was at the scene and said his volunteer department was unable to extinguish the blaze due to the turbine's inaccessibility.
"There was nothing we could do," Mitchell said. "Water (from the hoses) wouldn't reach the tower, and we couldn't get to it with a fire truck. The top of it was still burning when we left."
Douglas Bonyea, whose grandson is now the fifth-generation owner of the Rand Hill Dairy Farm, watched the flames leap off the turbine as it burned and said that the fire is not a good reason for the community to turn its back on the wind farm.
"We actually went after Noble Environmental to get wind turbines built here," Bonyea said. "They benefit everyone involved, from the landowners to the town."
Bonyea, whose family has two turbines on their property, said he has never regretted their presence on his family's land.
"They hardly make any noise and we can plant crops right up to their bases," Bonyea said. "They provide us with extra income and they lower taxes in the town. Things like this fire happen, but it's still a lot cleaner than coal and a lot safer than nuclear power."
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