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Follow the Falmouth Wind Turbines Options Analysis process

Human impacts, News, Wind turbines Add comments

The town of Falmouth, Massachusetts has been the site of some unusually wide-ranging efforts to come to grips with the unexpected impacts on nearby neighbors after two town-owned turbines began operating at the local wastewater treatment plant.  Several dozen neighbors, most living within a half mile or so, have spoken out consistently about their experiences with turbine noise, leading to an evenly split town meeting last spring in which about half the town meeting voters asked that the turbines be shut down, and half urged the selectmen to pursue a collaborative process to come up with a solution to the problems.

In response, a committee was formed to come up with a set of options to offer to the selectmen, hopefully in time for the fall town meeting, though it may take longer.  The process is being facilitated by the Consensus-Building Institute, which has created a website where you can track the progress of the committee. Here you can find generalized meeting minutes (usually available within three weeks after each meeting; look for items called “Final Meeting Summary” under each date), presentations made at meetings, and some outside documents, including the full collection of testimony from over forty residents submitted to the Falmouth Board of Health when it held a hearing on the issue.   In addition, local public access TV is making videos of all meetings available; links to these videos appear on the CBI page as well. 

As laid out by the group as it began its process, the core interests at stake include the following, with the understanding that any broadly acceptable long-term plan for the turbines will need to respond to some extent to all of these core interests:

  • Health, safety and well-being of impacted abutters
  • Property rights and economic impacts on property for abutters
  • Implementation of Falmouth’s climate action protection plan goals to reduce use of fossil fuel
  • Fiscal impacts on the town’s taxpayers and town services
  • An amicable end to a conflict that has divided and challenged the town’s relationships and reputation

The participants have been selected to represent the following interests:

  • 5 residents primarily concerned with adverse impacts of the turbines on neighbors, including health and economic impacts
  • 2 residents primarily concerned with implementing Falmouth’s climate action protection plan to reduce use of fossil fuel
  • 2 taxpayers primarily concerned with the Town of Falmouth’s fiscal well-being
  • 2 residents with strong empathy for all perspectives. These representatives are primarily concerned with a fair and effective process that may lead to an amicable outcome and reunite the town
  • 3 Town Departments
  • 2 liaisons from the Board of Selectmen attend all meetings and are available to answer questions, but do not participate at the table

One Response to “Follow the Falmouth Wind Turbines Options Analysis process”

  1. Kathy Sherman Says:

    The Cape Cod Times had a cover story August 18, 2012, entitled ‘Turbine group spins its wheels”. Many in the group have been diligent in trying to understand the complexities of wind turbine noise, but need to watch your NEWEEP webinar to learn that it is it noxious at much lower levels. Most importantly, it needs to be understood that there are no peer-reviewed studies showing efficacy of various mitigation possibilities, especially when the problem is
    allowed to continue for years.

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