Letters to the Editor, February 22, 2014
To the Editor:
Orange flags and the regular hunting schedule (not White Buffalo) were recently provided to the school, library and Interstate to be raised on days when hunting is allowed, providing a visible feedback mechanism to Block Island residents and visitors. (Interstate has not confirmed participation at this time). The hunting schedule is not well known, and the hope is that the flags will bring increased awareness. An orange traffic flag is also in the snow pile in front of the Police Station for the same purpose.
New Shoreham Town Council
To the Editor:
Helping Hands would like to express their appreciation to all who have participated in the program at the Block Island Grocery that allows the participant to donate their discount. We are reinforced daily by the good deeds of others and that spurs us on to continue the work we do. Thank you, Block Island, and thank you, Mary Jane, for keeping us in your hearts; we know all those who receive are thankful too. God bless you all.
Helping Hands Staff and Volunteers
To the Editor:
In last week’s issue of your newspaper an article of the recent Fire Department quoted me as saying, “If I was to be responsible for the books, then I need to be the only one that has access ...” Let me explain. Every corporation in Rhode Island (like Block Island Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department) is required to have a treasurer. This person is solely responsible for the financial books of the corporation and the financial statements that are drawn from the books. The treasurer signs annual tax returns to the IRS and state of Rhode Island, and they include the financial statements. In order for accuracy to be held, it is necessary to limit the people who have access to the books and ability to make entries to them.
I was previously treasurer of BIVFandR for 10 years. I picked Mike Lofaro, a CPA and friend, to succeed me. He agreed if I would be assistant treasurer. I agreed and have served as such for the last six years. For those years we have had two people with access to the books and with check-signing authority. That is all that is needed.
Information from the books is available to anyone with appropriate need. However, access to the books by others other than the treasurer and assistant treasurer is not acceptable.
To the Editor:
The letter of Dr. Peter Baute in support of the Deepwater Wind project is based entirely on false information. First, it is a commonly accepted fact that wind power does not replace coal power, ever. Coal plants are not flexible enough to ramp up and down to compensate for the intermittency of wind and changes in consumer demand. Coal and nuclear power are used for “base line” production. As demand increases, it is primarily hydroelectric and natural gas that make up the difference. Further, every scientific study that has been done on wind power has shown that, because of the need for conventional plants to ramp up and down more frequently, there is little or no savings at all in actual fossil fuel use or carbon emissions. Studies done by Ireland, Denmark and the U.S. have all shown these results. In the case of the 2,300 wind turbines connected to the Texas grid, there is actually a net negative effect on the environment. (See the ERCOT Bentek IV study.) What Deepwater and their supporters don’t want you to know is that the only thing “green” about this project is the money.
To the Editor:
When it comes to documented facts regarding Deepwater Wind’s Block Island project, proponents such as Davis Fogg and most recently Peter Baute are seriously “challenged” in discerning fiction from fact!
For example, Deepwater will not reduce coal use. There is a “promise” of diesel use on the island being totally stopped but that’s just not the case! Let’s “get real” about the miniscule amount of carbon actually being emitted on the island. Let’s “get real” about Deepwater reducing global warming and improving the economy when foreign-owned National Grid overcharges its R.I. mainland customers more than $500 million that could be better spent or saved in ways that individuals can choose for themselves.
Deepwater will create how many jobs for Rhode Islanders? According to Deepwater and National Grid testimony given under oath, only six permanent jobs will be created. That is $3.4 million per job each year for 20 years! Certainly there could be other mathematical calculations, but the bottom line is that only Deepwater Wind, Wall Street’s DE Shaw Hedge Fund and National Grid will be reaping the BIG profits, and contracts are going to German-owned Siemens, French-owned Alstrom and Norwegian-owned Fred. Olsen Windcarrier.
Block Island had a chance six years ago to get a cable from the mainland. Unfortunately, a majority of “town leaders” undermined that initiative then and now in exchange for a “free lunch” from Deepwater Wind. In Peter Baute’s recent testimony before the CRMC, he misrepresented himself as spokesperson for a majority of the island when he irresponsibly used results of the “publicly acknowledged to be biased” Pavlides survey of 2009 that provided hypothetical situations and very little if any factual information about the Deepwater project as proposed today.
During the past six years, BIPCO customers have paid an average of $2 million per year above what they would have paid with a cable to the mainland for a total of over $12 million thus far. That’s $12 million that did not get spent, invested, saved or donated on the island, preventing too many hardworking folks from doing what they think is best with their money. Just stop a moment to think about this.
Shouldn’t all the facts about what Deepwater is proposing now be presented and an independent comprehensive analysis of all impacts on Block Island be completed, presented and discussed by the public before any official vote by the Town Council be made? “Town leaders” have never done the analysis appropriately warranted and never provided a forum for a genuine community conversation about the trade-offs.
By now and with more facts about Deepwater Wind, shouldn’t “facts trump fiction”? The CRMC is conducting a public hearing on the island on Feb. 24 and on the mainland on Feb. 27. Haven’t most of us learned that there is no such thing as a “free lunch” without consequences? This is your chance to express your opinion on the facts and on the consequences as you see them!
To the Editor:
I am surprised by the Deepwater Wind proposal going forward in its current form. I know Block Islanders are vigilant stewards of the extremely rare commodity that is Block Island’s great natural beauty, views and, perhaps most wondrous of all, its dark night skies.
From our house we enjoy the view of Montauk’s twinkling lighthouse. This landmark is 111 feet tall and is 15 miles away. This has given me a worrisome perspective on the Deepwater plan. The turbines will be 650 feet high, in a group of five, just 3 miles offshore. These turbines at this size and number would be a small price to pay for sustainability from 15 miles away, but 3 miles?!! This will forever change the night skies and views.
This selling of the island’s most precious assets for a cable and reduced electric rates, while not insignificant, is selling far too cheap. There is a reason why all of Deepwater’s other planned sites are no closer to shore than 15-16 miles. Has an objective group done any simulations of the visuals from shore and/or the impact on the night sky? I feel misled by the pictures I’ve seen of the proposed turbines from shore; when I use the Montauk lighthouse as my gauge to judge how the height, number and proximity of the turbines would appear from the island, I believe the simulations’ perspective is not an accurate representation of the view from shore, and the current plan may well undermine the decades of protection of this rare and special place.
To the Editor:
In your online edition of Feb. 10 I found a post by Myron Waldman, who represents Deepwater opposition.org.
I must point out that this sarcastic rant contains false statements and misrepresents my factual testimony before the CRMC.
It is completely false that there must be a MW of conventional power installed to match every MW of new wind power. That is simply not the case and has not happened, because existing facilities are readily able to adjust their outputs up or down, according to supply and demand. This happens, for example, at BIPCo every day as the community's power needs fluctuate.
I made no statement suggesting that the Block Island Wind Farm would save the atmosphere. I did say that it will reduce harmful emissions, and quoted the weights of those emissions from a University of Rhode Island publication. I calculated the weight of carbon emissions sent into the atmosphere from BIPCo using an EPA conversion factor and the known amount of diesel fuel required yearly by the power company (1,100 pounds for each B.I. resident).
What we are seeing here is a desperate attempt to discredit wind energy by dreaming up misleading fictional scenarios and purposefully twisting the words of others.
Peter B. Baute, MD
To the Editor:
For my family, Block Island is a place for pilgrimage. It is the one place in Rhode Island that is not “Rhode Island.” It is a corner in our minds that is special, personal, natural, politic-free, worry-free, bigger inside than the “real world,” and that is why for four generations we visit “The Island.”
Things change. Here in Narragansett, it’s special but not like Block Island. We were almost divided by a hedge fund-financed venture that attempted to, in effect, bribe and bully their way for their own profit goals. Fortunately, our Town Council caught on and attempted to banish Deepwater Wind forever. We almost lost those intangibles that as a native, you don’t appreciate until they are threatened or taken from you. The last time this happened to us was 30 years ago when we lost control of the center of The Pier to a private corporation. You remember well when it’s too late.
Learn from us, please.
You are at risk of losing those intangibles that bring families such as mine to Block Island. We don’t want to lose the feelings, sights and sounds of pure nature. They are precious. Just off your shore, Wall Street is building five industrial plants called power turbines. We don’t want to look at them, hear them or feel the constant blink of strobes in the evening or on foggy days. If you let them take away what is precious they won’t stop there. There is plenty of ocean left to play “economy of scale” games. Yes, they’ll want to put more to the north and to the west.
What brings me and my family to Block Island is you and your island. Don’t let them divide you and don’t let them destroy what many of us hold sacred. It’s in your hands.
Treasurer of Deepwater Resistance (PAC)
To the Editor:
PLEASE PRESERVE OUR BEAUTIFUL ISLAND FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS:
My name is Judy Connelly.
In 1945, my grandfather bought our family property on Snake Hole Road, just down from Bit o’ Heaven. I was born the following year. I have been going to Block Island my entire life. I spent summers with the McCabe girls down the street. My mother bought the 15 acres we are on now (on the north side of Snake Hole) in the early ’50s.
My husband, Mick, and I retired and moved to the island year-round in 2001. Block Island is my home.
I am adamantly opposed to Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm. I honestly believe that we won’t realize the negative impact this project will have on the island until it is too late. No one – not year-round residents, summer residents, summer or off-season visitors – will want to see constant strobe-light flashing and fog-horn blowing on huge industrial wind turbines. My grandparents, my parents, my family, the people who rent our home in the summer, they came here for the beauty, the isolation, and the uniqueness of this beautiful island.
My property is located on the south side of the island. We will be directly impacted by the lights, the sound, the flicker, BUT it is not just my property that will be impacted. If you look at the map of the visual impact of the five 660-foot turbines (prepared by Deepwater Wind’s consultants), there is hardly a spot on the island that won’t be dealing with its sights and sounds! You can be on a boat on the Great Salt Pond and feast your eyes on spinning turbines!
Those of us who live on and love Block Island have much to lose. I am asking you to deny this project and begin to look at alternative solutions that don’t negatively impact our way of life and the jewel of Rhode Island ... Block Island!
Snake Hole Road