|On April 10, Falmouth Town Meeting members voted down a citizens’ petition that would have advised the select board to vote to allow offshore wind developers access to public lands for soil testing and engineering studies. The vote count on Article 15 was 116 Against and 72 For. Although disappointing, the vote should not be regarded as a total defeat.
Some say Town Meeting members voted No in the belief that the Select Board would have more leverage when negotiating with developers on the cable landfall and substation site. What we do know is that all of the Select Board members have stated they support and welcome alternative and renewable energy development. Likewise, speakers in opposition to Article15 said they support wind energy. In other words, opponents of Article 15 may not be trying to achieve a perfect outcome, but the best collaboration, cooperation and trade-offs.
As you know, the Falmouth Democratic Town Committee (FDTC) had previously endorsed Article 15. Support of offshore wind is consistent with our party’s platform to increase domestic renewable energy development, including wind and solar. We remain optimistic that offshore wind can and will be developed in our region in the timeframe needed.
So how do we get there? In the short term, there is much work to do in educating the public about clean energy so that misinformation that can easily derail local projects does not take hold. Falmouth’s scientific community can play a pivotal role by offering lectures or webinars on topics such as Health Impacts and Safety of High Voltage Power Lines; Offshore Wind Effects on the Marine Environment; and Challenges and Opportunities to Transitioning to Clean Energy Future. The FDTC can help by recruiting speakers, hosting community education events, and acting as clearing house for information.
Our Representatives and State Government Officials can also play a role. Representative Fernandes and Senator Moran both made renewable energy key issues in their campaigns. Governor Healey has also made climate and clean energy an administration priority. We applaud the Governor’s decision to create two new entities: a commission to review clean energy siting and permitting, and an interagency council focused on offshore wind development. Contact these elected officials and express your ongoing support for responsibly developed offshore wind. State leadership on siting, collaboration, coordination, and implementation are needed to achieve the Commonwealth’s clean energy goals.
Bottom line: get informed, stay engaged, and stay hopeful, because Massachusetts can be a leader in offshore wind, with tangible benefits to our community, economy, the planet, and future generations
Happy Earth Day!
Scott Simenas Rosemary Dreger Carey
Attachment: Why Vote to Approve Article 15