Is going rural the key to opposition-free wind development?
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Putting wind turbines in places where most people won’t come across them might be the key to easier wind development in Massachusetts. Monday’s Boston Globe
featured a piece
by Erin Ailworth
highlighting the success some wind companies have had in Massachusetts getting wind power up and running - on land. As Cape Wind
’s ongoing saga to build turbines in Nantucket sound progresses, these less publicized but smoother experiences indicate that simply putting turbines on land could thaw the frozen stance of local opposition.
There’s no doubt that it’s getting easier to harness wind power. Ailworth finds a 30 percent reduction in the price of turbines in the past few years, and lower wind speeds can be used to generate electricity. But fierce local opposition to land-based wind projects is frequent, particularly among abutters of wind farms. Falmouth
was forced to scale back
operating hours for two of its wind turbines following complaints from abutters. In Kingston
, a group called Kingston Wind Aware
is trying to get the town to shorten hours of three turbines. In Fairhaven
, the state has agreed to conduct a sound study
of two turbines in that town to determine whether they are in violation of Massachusetts noise regulations. Late last year, a bill that would have streamlined permitting for wind projects died
in part due to opposition from those looking to prevent turbines from being built near residential areas.
The state has also weighed in on claims of “Wind Turbine Syndrome
,” a condition said to be caused by living near wind projects with symptoms ranging from sleep disruption to vertigo. A Department of Environmental Protection/Department of Public Health
joint study debunked
Wind Turbine Syndrome this past January.
Ailworth found that one of the ways to avoid opposition was planning wind development in rural areas. But even in sparsely populated places like the Berkshires
, there is debate
over whether land conservation efforts are more vital to the environment than renewable energy development.
Responding to complaints from Kingston residents, turbine owner Mary O’Donnell told the Globe
in June, “Anything new that happens frightens people,” and likened fear of turbines to fear of the telephone 100 years ago. So perhaps it will only be time and not location that will ultimately save wind development in the Bay State. --CHRISTINA PRIGNANOBEACON HILLKeller@Large
says legislators could make a bold statement of their priorities by overriding Gov. Deval Patrick’s veto of raises for human services workers
, who have gone five years without a pay increase.
Only seven of the 17 legislators -- all representatives -- in the Quincy-Brockton area are facing challengers this November
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission plans to court Wall Street in order to lure more investors
into the eastern Bay State casino market.
The alleged victim of State Rep. Carlos Henriquez
will hold a press conference this afternoon about the Sunday morning incident, the Boston Herald reports
The Boston Herald calls for an update
to the state’s wiretap law
. MUNICIPAL MATTERSScituate
selectmen will take matters into their own hands to end the five-month impasse over the housing authority’s spending account
, which was frozen by the state after two authority members refused to sign documents because they say they’re not protected against perjury.NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTONThe Atlantic
has video of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi burning up the dance floor
at Barney Frank
A third California city
plans to seek bankruptcy protection.ELECTION 2012
The Globe looks at
the deficit-cutting plans of US Sen. Scott Brown
and challenger Elizabeth Warren
, with an outside policy group concluding Warren’s ideas would cut 67 percent more from the deficit over 10 years than those put forward by Brown.
Republican political consultant Todd Domke
on WBUR wonders what Scott Brown is telling us
by running an ad that has his wife praising him for being sensitive. Democratic political consultant Dan Payne tells NECN
that Warren is doing a great job raising money, but describes her message as meek.
The Wall Street Journal tries to tally up the number of jobs Bain created
under Mitt Romney
and finds the task “vexing.” Meanwhile, Romney and the GOP have ramped up their counter-assault
on President Obama on jobs claims by labeling him “outsourcer-in-chief.”
The New York Times
has jumped into the fray over Romney’s personal finances
, calling on the former Massachusetts governor to open up his books and explain his offshore accounts.
WBUR’s On Point hosts
political consultant James Carville
and pollster Stan Greenberg
to talk about the importance of the middle class in this year’s election.Slate
reports a new poll shows one in five Democrats think the country has changed for the worse
A Harvard graduate who served four tours of duty in Iraq says
he’s considering running as an independent against US Rep. John Tierney
. BUSINESS/ECONOMYGreater Boston
looks at the housing market
in the state that’s showing signs of a rebound
, especially in Weymouth where housing sales are up 25 percent over last year.Details emerge
of last-ditch fundraising efforts by 38 Studios
Boston School Superintendent Carol Johnson is facing new criticism
over her handling of a domestic assault case involving a former school principal, with the chairman of the City Council’s education committee, Councilor John Connolly
, calling for her resignation. Johnson admits errors on Broadside
with Jim Braude
, who earlier had called on her to be fired.Strategies for Children
pushes legislation requiring the development of an early literacy road map for Massachusetts communities to help boost third-grade reading scores, the Sun reports.Jim Stergios asks
whether teachers are changing their unions.HEALTH CARE
The Dorchester Reporter follows up
on CommonWealth’s story
on Steward Health Care attempting to unload Carney Hospital
to an Andover college. Rachel Zimmerman
, on WBUR’s CommonHealth blog, posts
Members of the Fall River Housing Authority
say they may turn down federal money rather than impose a smoking ban
in the city’s public housing.TRANSPORTATION
Massachusetts still owes $9.3 billion in interest and principal payments on the Big Dig,
a project whose total price tag is pegged at $24.3 billion, AP reports
(via Worcester Telegram
). Here’s NECN’s report.ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT
Over stiff opposition, Dartmouth officials approved a variance for a 21,000-panel solar farm
in a residential neighborhood.The Cape Cod Times hails new management
at NOAA’s Fisheries Services but warns that John Bullard
, the new regional administrator, has his work cut out for him.CRIMINAL JUSTICE
The former general manager of the trash hauling company serving Lawrence is called to testify before an Essex County grand jury investigating Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua
, the Eagle-Tribune reports.
The sister of drug-ring head Juan Guzman
was placed on leave from her job at the Dorchester Juvenile Court
for allegedly handling drug money, the Boston Herald reports
More fallout from the baseball establishment over a documentary produced by Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine
about the scandals in scouting and signing Dominican baseball players
and Facebook will partner up for the Summer Olympics
, with the TV network urging viewers to share their thoughts on the social network site while Facebook readers will be reminded to turn on the tube to watch the games.
s the New York Police Department’s
claim that it has foiled 14 terrorist attacks and finds the claim doesn’t add up.