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Is going rural the key to opposition-free wind development?

Posted in: Energy   Environment and recreation
Tags: EnergyEnvironmentElectionObamaRomney




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 PRIGNANO

BEACON HILL

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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 MATTERS

Scituate 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/WASHINGTON

The Atlantic has video of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi burning up the dance floor at Barney Frank’s wedding.

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.

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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 under Obama.

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/ECONOMY

Greater 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.

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EDUCATION

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.

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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 about CommonWealth’s story .

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

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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.

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MEDIA

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