The Block Island Times

Letters - March 8

Mar 07, 2014

To the Editor:

If the Block Island turbines go forward, I wonder why the few of them have to be spaced so far apart, thus spoiling such a wide area of the pristine South East viewshed of this tiny island. I have seen many of hundreds, if not thousands, of turbines spinning side by side over remote areas of Southern California.

Christopher Walken

Block Island

This letter was sent to the Coastal Resources Management Council and copied to The Block Island Times.

To the Editor:

I am not at all happy about the Deepwater Wind project. I know that many of my friends on Block Island love the idea and believe it will bring them relief from high electric bills, carbon emissions and contribute to the use of “green energy.” I have encountered great excitement from the people who really want this project to happen. I have also encountered great hostility and, in some cases, disdain when I have expressed doubts about the cost or effectiveness of a project that seems to need massive amounts of money to be spent to lower the electric bills on Block Island and raise the bills of everyone else in Rhode Island. And it will hardly add jobs in a state that needs jobs badly.

I couldn’t believe it when Deepwater got this contract without having any competition after the governor overrode a decision by the Public Utilities Commission that the wind farm economics didn’t add up to a benefit to the people. People chuckled and said, “Well, that’s typical Rhode Island.” Are people so jaded? Every time I read about how the federal government subsidized a solar or wind or car producer, and took our tax money and promptly went out of business, I got upset; but Block Island people didn’t think it had anything to do with Deepwater Wind’s project. Block Island people got really upset when groups of neighbors asked to be heard when they had objections to this venture and I heard about how the “rich summer people” don’t care about anything but their views and have no consideration for the year round residents’ struggles.

But I haven’t noticed conversation about what happens to the value of homes that are impacted by the change in their view — and there are a lot more of them than people realize. Will they ask for a reduction in their property taxes to accommodate for that, since part of our assessment is the view we have? That will mean that the rest of us will have to pay more taxes to make up a shortfall. I haven’t noticed anything about a study to determine impact on tourism. People have told me that tourists will actually come to Block Island to see the turbines, others believe that they will drive people away. What is the real answer? Has anyone studied it? Just one example — how will the disturbance of the ocean floor and the consequent debris affect our beautiful beaches and coastline that the tourists come to enjoy? By the time we get an answer, will it be too late to change the effect it will have had on the tourist economy that sustains Block Island?

We have always valued our historic scenery and buildings — a step back in time, people say. There is a big impact to the historic nature of a small island that will have extremely large wind turbines visible from more areas on Block Island than people understand. We value our night sky and have ordinances against too much light, and now the turbines will have flashing lights on each one of them that will be seen almost everywhere, even if the actual lights cannot be seen. It seems that we have given so much away to people who have promised us a cable to the mainland

What a shame that we all couldn’t have installed solar equipment on our houses years ago to cut down on electric bills and avoided the awful disruption that has been — and will be — a result of the Deepwater Wind project.

Sharon Lehman

Grace’s Cove Road

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