Letters, April 7, 2012

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 12:36pm

To: the Editor—

In regard to risk assessment for the offshore wind farm proposed by Deepwater Wind, your article references the Carnegie Mellon study stating: “Most of the damage to wind turbines from hurricanes came from Category 4 and 5 storms… No hurricanes that strong have made landfall in New England since record keeping began in 1850.”

I first visited BI in 1939, a year after the hurricane of 1938 — which was in fact a Category 5 while at sea and a Category 3 once it made landfall. Signs of the extensive damage of the storm were still clearly evident at that time.

After moving here in 1975, one of my projects as Conservation Commission chair was to get the island into the Federal Flood Insurance program. This effort involved interviews with local witnesses to the 1938 hurricane, including Linus Dodge, Fred Benson and Rob Lewis, as well as looking at Mabel Thomas’s photographs. These interviews are available in the Block Island Town Hall archives. Their accounts were all the same — the storm surge rose 50 feet up the bluffs and breached Sachem Pond.

Barbara Burak

Great Swamp


To: the Editor—

After a lot of hard work by the Electric Utility Task Group and the Planning Board, there will be a public hearing on the proposed revisions to the Energy Component of the Comprehensive Plan on April 11 at 4 p.m. Many of the proposals are reasonable while others are more controversial. If you care about any of the following controversial items (IMHO) you should attend this meeting and make your voice heard.

1. The establishment of industrial sized, municipal wind turbines at island locations to be determined. The Jamestown Press, where such a turbine is being proposed, reported last week that the latest cost estimates for installing a turbine is between $4.8 million and $5.83 million plus at least $1.5 million for lines to connect to the distribution system. That’s about a 20-year payback period for us, not including the Block Island Factor and assuming the turbine lasts that long. The Jamestown turbine is larger in capacity than the one proposed for BI. The company that built Portsmouth’s turbine went bankrupt, leaving the town without a warrantee. We will not have the “income” of selling back to National Grid. Should these turbines be in residential neighborhoods?

2. Changing the zoning ordinance regarding setback, height and lot area requirements for individual wind turbines, therefore allowing taller turbines and more of them on private property.

3. Adopting an ordinance prohibiting covenants restricting the use of on-site renewable installations, i.e. solar, wind turbines, by homeowner associations.

4. To save fuel, the reestablishment of a jitney service for summer visitors.

5. Supporting a wind farm to supply the island’s electrical needs.

6. Have a composting demonstration plant to create compost from sewer sludge and garbage.

7. Having a biodiesel collection bin for edible oils at the transfer station to give off-island biodiesel producers another source (and island’s rats a food source?)

8. Buy out Block Island Power Co. and have the company run by the ratepayers.

This is your opportunity to be heard! This plan may set the stage for our island’s future.

Arlene Tunney

Corn Neck Road