The Eagle's Dec. 5 editorial promoting ridgeline wind farms in the Berkshires is seriously flawed. The Eagle presents wind projects as "beneficial" but it fails to describe the extensive blasting often needed to create the massive pads for the turbines, the largest of which are as tall as 50-story buildings, and the extensive blasting also needed to prepare a deep base for roads as wide, in parts, as Route 7 -- roads which traverse steep slopes, destroy hundreds of acres of forest, disrupt hiking trails and drainage routes, and destroy wildlife habitats. Nor does The Eagle mention the wide corridors for transmission lines, which are built without any legal recourse for the landowners whose land is impacted.
The Eagle praises wind projects for reducing our carbon footprint, but it fails to mention that the wind-resource in the Berkshires is very marginal, and that even the draconian approach of erecting many hundreds of turbines on our ridges would not even produce 5 percent of our energy needs. Indeed, the dollars being spent by ratepayers and taxpayers to subsidize wind farms could be used in a much more productive and efficient way to sponsor other green projects, including conservation and efficiency programs, and small and large solar, hydro-electric, and geo-thermal projects.
Contrary to the Eagle's accusations, promoting wind projects is "environmentally irresponsible" as it promotes wasting valuable human, financial, and natural resources needed to reduce our carbon footprint. The Eagle clearly favors the prospect of a wind farm in Otis, and holds out the carrot of increased revenue. But, imagine the impact on our ridgelines if every Berkshire town and city decided to make either private or public wind farms a permanent tool for increasing their revenue and lowering their tax rates. Imagine if even one-third of our municipalities do. Imagine the many miles of ridgeline and the thousands of acres which would be removed from habitable use. Such environmental damage cannot be justified, when there are viable alternative ways for us to produce energy in a green way.
Hopefully, local officials throughout the Berkshires will shore up their bylaws to prohibit wind farms and will urge state officials to shift their course away from on-shore wind and toward more sensible, renewable projects.