Our nation is faced with a near-total collapse in confidence in our government’s capacity and competence to operate effectively, with a forward-looking ability to inspire our greatest aspirations for a just, strong and sustainable future.
That failure in confidence is not only found at the national level but also permeates and exists at all government levels, including the justice system as well as in our own municipality.
At the local level, our town manager often proclaims that he serves at the pleasure of the board of selectmen, though he seems rather to serve to please that board rather than providing constructive advice that, in some instances, could oppose the board’s judgment on issues where the board has gone awry. His presentation on the “Status of the Wind Turbines” at the selectmen’s January 8 meeting is a case in point.
That report presented the following facts: (1) an April 2017 Superior Court jury verdict—yes, a jury of our peers—affirmed that Wind 1 did not constitute a nuisance to the Andersens’ property, closest residence to Wind 1. (2) In June 2017, a superior court judge on his own (a) declared Wind 1 a nuisance to the Funfars’ property, about 500 feet further away than the Andersens’ and across Route 28, a noisy divided four-lane highway; (b) declared that there is no diminishment of property values due to Wind 1 and (c) ordered Wind 1 and Wind 2 shut down. (3) The board of selectmen opted not to appeal the judge’s decision. (4) Even with turbines shut down, neighbors still pursue several court cases against the town.
Apparently, the selectmen did not feel it worth appealing but now want to invest in a consultant to find what to do with the turbines. That cost is in addition to over $10 million owed by the town for turbine repayments, the estimated $1 million to take down the turbines and lost revenue from electricity generation, including the $120,000 so far approved by the last Town Meeting for electricity lost to operate the wastewater treatment plant—a perpetual financial burden.
That cost will only increase as the new Little Pond area sewer expansion goes online.
The legality of spending any money on turbine removal, including fees for consultants, is also a serious and possibly liable concern after the May 2013 town-wide vote by a two-thirds margin not to finance decommissioning, dismantling and removing Wind 1 and Wind 2.
In addition to the financial burden placed on the town by the selectmen when they opted not to appeal the contradictory decision by a single judge, that irresponsible action further advances the mining of our atmosphere’s limited capacity to buffer greenhouse gas emissions, augments climate disruption and already impacting the planet’s ecological sustainability.
In response and to correct the selectmen’s poor judgment, Friends of Falmouth Wind and The Green Center are engaged in legal interventions.
What I also suggest is that we keep these facts in mind at the next opportunity to vote for selectmen and be wary of the word “incumbent” following any candidate’s name.
Ron D. Zweig, Fay Road, Woods Hole