Avert tragedy of local wind farms

Sunday September 11, 2011

I hope that the people of Lenox, Richmond, and the surrounding towns will reject the idea of constructing industrial wind turbines on Lenox Mountain. For several decades, many people and organizations have worked hard to protect the range, from the Stockbridge Sportsman’s Club to Bousquet’s, from development. In the process they have given sportsmen, runners, hikers, and mountain bikers a uniquely beautiful web of trails, old roads, ponds, streams and overlooks, which includes Kennedy Park and the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, as well as Dunbar, Reservoir and West Mountain roads.

They have also preserved a soothing and inspiring surrounding for people on both sides of the range, whether they are gazing from their homes or their cars, from the surface of Stockbridge Bowl, or from countless hilltops in the surrounding area. The people who have worked in the past to protect this region have acted as responsible stewards, motivated by a deep love and respect for the natural beauty before them, and it is with this same sense of respect, responsibility and stewardship that a growing number of people are working to stop industrial wind turbines from degrading Lenox Mountain and its supporting regions.

There are very few people who would ever suggest constructing industrial towers more than 400 feet high on the tops of our mountains as a way to make them more beautiful. Clearly, many of the proponents of wind farms are people who are concerned for the environment, and who have long been frustrated at the slow pace of research and development of new and cleaner electrical power generation, and who have mistakenly concluded that it is necessary to sacrifice our beautiful landscape in order to reduce our carbon footprint. Only absolute necessity, only an absence of viable alternatives, could ever justify the degradation of our mountains, and I am confident that if people take the time to study the situation, they will conclude that many less destructive and more productive and dependable alternatives are available. It is essential that people investigate the situation and that they stay mindful of the powerful corporate and political vested interests behind the statewide, national and international wind power movements.

There are reasons specific to Lenox, which demand a rejection of wind turbines, but at the same moment the Lenox project is being proposed, the state is trying to severely limit people’s ability to oppose all wind projects, and it is trying to gain permission to allow the construction of wind farms on state-owned mountaintops in the Berkshires, 15 from Pittsfield south, and 22 north of Pittsfield -- truly a scorched-earth proposal.

Voters need to get engaged to avert a tragedy in our own backyard. If not us, who?




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