Wind Act threatens our landscape

Thursday, Nov. 19

The recent acknowledgment by the National Geographic Society that the Berkshires are one of the earth's 10 greatest tourist destinations (Berkshire Eagle Nov. 19) is a significant distinction. It highlights that our primary attraction is an intact natural landscape.

Protecting the Berkshire landscape has always been a concern of local zoning authorities, the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, and numerous land preservation groups and citizen activists. Towards this end the Berkshires have time and again put an end to many proposals which would scar or blight our mellow landscape.

Today the commonwealth's secretary of energy and environmental affairs has authored proposed legislation which has the potential of seeing over 700 wind turbines built on the Berkshire's commanding ridgelines. The Wind Energy Siting Reform Act would effectively remove all local control over siting these behemoth turbines. The intent of this legislation is to shift the decision-making powers over the siting of these turbines from the municipalities to a newly forming Energy Facility Siting Board whose composition would be carefully screened so as to appear to represent Berkshire community and environmental interests. However you can bet your bottom dollar that when critical votes are taken by that board the utility interests will always come out on top.

Some years ago I served for six years on the commonwealth's Energy Facility Siting Council whose board was composed so as to appear to represent community and environmental interests when in fact the majority of voting members had deep ties to the industry which they were called upon to regulate. In a word the proposed siting board is a sham and I would urge all those who love the Berkshire hills to call Sen. Downing and ask him to put this bill aside. His office phone number is (413) 442-4008. Thank you so much.



The writer is president emeritus of the Berkshire Natural Resources Council.


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