Town Forfeited Turbine Revenue – Letter

Town Forfeited Turbine Revenue – Letter

  • Aug 12, 2016
  • 1

“Town officials agreed to…offering mediation to the plaintiffs.” It might be more accurate to say, “Town officials agreed to…accepting the (ongoing since 2012) mediation offer by neighbors.”

Last week’s edition of the Enterprise stated that there are currently 11 active wind turbine lawsuits against the town. In the interest of fair reporting, four of the 11 lawsuits are those filed by the Town of Falmouth suing itself.

“It’s the first time in about six years a more direct channel of communication with the town will be open,” Mr. Cool, one of the neighbors, said. Over the past six years the town has delayed, denied the problem, and turned away neighbors’ requests for help.

Is selectmen chairman Douglas Jones’s comment: “The board feels the litigation has been going on long enough.” political-speak for: “Now that the town has been losing in court the board realizes it’s pointless to continue and desperately wants to cut town losses by settling before the town wastes any more money on this lost cause and loses the window of opportunity to settle.”?

Is Mr. Jones’s statement: “I hope for a speedy resolution.” political-speak for: “After stringing out the neighbors for six years, the board expects the neighbors to respond quickly (directly opposite the town’s modus of operation) to save the town.”? Mr. Jones’s statement is an affront to neighbors in light of the fact that they, the neighbors, have depleted much of their own personal funds while the town has strung them out for six years.

“…neighbors claim [more accurately presented convincing evidence] about adverse health effects,” which compelled a Barnstable Superior Court Judge to rule Wind 1 must remain shut down.

“It would cost up to $15 million to shutter them (the wind turbines), considering repayment of a $5 million ARRA (federal recovery program) grant.” The $5 million grant was federal funds given to the town to stimulate the economy with no strings attached. The state attached its own strings and hopes to gain a resulting $5 million windfall.

“Currently Wind 1 is shut down following a Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals cease and desist order,” which the town is suing its own ZBA to overturn (one of four lawsuits the town has filed against itself).

“Wind 2 is operating on a curtailed half-time schedule resulting from a 2013 Barnstable Superior Court order.” In Superior Court, all parties (selectmen represented by former selectman Moffit) agreed to a 12 hours on/12 hours off operation. Selectman Moffitt subsequently advocated for 24-hour operation and selectmen settled on an 18 hours on/six hours off operating schedule. Upon hearing of the town’s action, Superior Court Judge Muse was furious. He lectured town counsel that “an agreement in his court was as good as a decision.” Judge Muse immediately ordered, that in addition to a 12 and 12 operation, there would be no Sunday or major holiday wind turbine operation. As a result of selectmen abrogating their agreement, the town forfeited what amounts to 17 percent of wind turbine energy revenue.

J. Malcolm Donald, Ambleside Drive, West Falmouth

(1) comment


FrankHaggerty Aug 13, 2016 10:30am

First in 2012 the Consensus Building Institute CBI was paid just under $139,000.00, for an assessment; designing and convening the process; preparing for, traveling to, facilitating and documenting 24 meetings (including all expenses); and writing and revising a final report, over the course of 13 months. The purpose of the Falmouth Wind Turbine Option Analysis Process (WTOP) was to engage in an open, transparent, and collaborative exploration of the range of options for the long-term future of the Town’s two Wind Turbines – Wind I and Wind II.

During these negotiations the Town of Falmouth intentionally hid a 2010 noise warning letter from Vestas wind company that the turbines were dangerously loud.

On November 7 of 2013 Town counsel Frank K. Duffy and former select board member Rebecca Moffitt, representing the town of Falmouth , came to an agreement in Barnstable Superior Court . Barnstable Superior Court Judge Christopher J. Muse was the judge in the wind turbine case. One week later the Falmouth Select Board rejected the agreement saying it was not binding because it was not it writing.

How long before it becomes clear the town only offers mediation in order to stall the court dates and continue paying up to $300,000.00 every six months on wind turbine litigation.

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