Letters to the Editor, June 23, 2012
To: the Editor —
In the interest of accuracy, I would like to offer corrections to misinformation or mistatements made by a West Beach Road resident in discussing the issue of wind energy as it relates to the Comprehensive Plan.
The resident stated that the wind turbine at the Portsmouth High School was not functioning, and was not financially successful. Both statements are false: According to a town spokesperson, the turbine is working just fine, and has continued to be a financial success. And I can find no evidence of negative health impacts on the students and nearby residents. As to the British Medical Journal editorial on negative health effects that she cited, the authors, two wind energy oppponents, conveniently ignored 17 studies by independent groups that reached decidedly different conclusions.
Peter B Baute, MD
Peckham Farm Road
This letter is being run again because a portion of it was lost in the layout process last week:
To: the Editor —
I am hopeful that many Block Island Times readers were able to read a recent front page article in the New London Day with regard to the proposed wind farm. The writer apparently spent most of her time interviewing [First Warden] Kim Gaffett and [Electric Utility Task Group Chair] Barbara MacMullan, both avid wind farm supporters, and thus there is a definite wind farm bias in the article. However, for some semblance of balance, reference was made to certain concerns of wind farm opponents. For example, there was a visual comparison of the height of the turbines to the Empire State Building and the Washington Monument, which has to be very unsettling, even to the most rabid proponents. An interesting but subtle aside in the article was the mention that the coast of Connecticut was apparently devoid of wind, which means that Connecticut residents can apparently travel to Block Island for their visual shock.
The above article made me retreat to the November 6, 2010, Times and an article written by Brent Lang. The article references the initial Public Utilities Commission rejection of the wind farm project and quotes PUC Commissioner, Paul Roberti, as saying that the wind farm was a flawed solution to the island’s electricity woes, and the PUC would initiate an investigation into the construction of a transmission line between Block Island and the mainland. Also at that time my conversation with U.S. Sen. Jack Reed’s office indicated that he would support a transmission line.
It is indeed unfortunate that the PUC was forced by the then governor and General Assembly (with the support of First Warden Gaffett) to reverse their well-thought-out rejection, and here we sit, as Mr. Roberti stated, embracing a very flawed solution to our energy problems.
Based upon what has transpired over the last few years, it is difficult to believe this: that if we had leadership on Block Island that was properly focused on reducing electricity costs, such as what occurred on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard with a cable, as opposed to advocating an off “the grid” ideology for the smallest town in the smallest state, Block Island would be well on its way to energy cost resolution with a stand-alone cable as opposed to being mired in this Deepwater Wind controversy.