The residents truly believe in the town slogan, “best small town in Connecticut.” That is because it has the feel of a family supported by neighbors and a town government that always has your back. That changed on Oct 18, 2010, when a company called BNE Energy made a presentation to the residents of Prospect. They informed us that they would be installing two wind turbines on 178 New Haven Road. The Company and its representatives and the Mayor informed us that the town had no jurisdiction over the siting of the turbines. The final resolution lied with the state.
Over the last several weeks there have been articles and letters to the editor which were against the project ranging from fears within the neighborhood and the character of the town to accusations that the dissenters were really practicing a NIMBY philosophy. No one has really addressed the facts of the matter. Save Prospect Corp has been formed to educate the citizens and promote regulations to protect the citizens against irresponsible green energy projects
Reasonable residents are fully behind green energy projects and the reduction of dependence of fossil fuels. Society will determine the effectiveness of wind energy and other green projects. However they are not in favor of irresponsible green energy projects. When you pull back the curtain, many issues are raised the deal with the health and safety of the project.
During the BNE presentation, they touted two primary benefits to the town. The first was that these turbines would produce approximately 25% of the electrical needs of Prospect. This may be true, but the residents of Prospect are not direct recipients of the electricity. It is sent into the grid and sent to the CL&P substation for distribution to all of its customers. There is no project decrease in rates at this time. The second was an increase of tax revenue to the town of approximately $147,000. This is a substantial sum of money, but forensic appraisals have shown that housing values within sight of these turbines will decrease by an average of 40%. The number of homes within that vicinity of “ground zero” would reduce the taxes paid to the town by more than the windfall gain.
Now let’s deal with the facts of the project as they affect the residents of Prospect. These structures are 492 feet tall from the base to the tip of the blade. When the turbine turns at 20mph, the tips of the blade travel at speeds great than 200 miles per hour. That height is the equivalent of a 30 story building. If there were to be a fire in the hub of the turbine, does Prospect have the necessary equipment to put it out? That size of the turbines will create quite a shadow on the landscape. In fact, with the blades rotating at 20 mph, they will cast a flickering shadow when the rising sun and setting sun are directly behind them every second. This would cause severe problems to families that have an epileptic person or a person with autism. Documented cases of veterans with PTSD have been severely affected. These blades also transmit a constant drone that sounds like a jet engine flying overhead. Additionally, there is a strobe light on the hub of each to the hubs which serves as an aircraft warning. These are the issues that the proponents of the project classify as NIMBY. What about in their backyard?
Further investigation reveals other safety issues. Manufacturers state that when working within a “danger zone of 1300 feet, hard hats must be worn.” Does that mean that the residents who live within the zone should be wearing them? Do the children waiting for their bus need to be wearing them? On occasion, Prospect gets cold. The blades are like airplane wings and have ice form on them. The blades traveling in excess of 200 miles an hour, ice has been flung from the blade. The manufacturer recommends that the safe zone of 984 feet be created. Route 69 is within that throw area as well as homes. The hard hats for residents now have a meaningful purpose.
The turbines are sited very close to a superfund site created by US Cap & Jacket. There has been remediation on the site, but residents in proximately have been provided charcoal filtration units, provided by the EPA, because of VOCs in the ground water. The foundations needed for the bases of the turbines will require significant blasting. There is no known environmental impact study to determine the effect of the construction. Coincidentally, a Naugatuck reservoir is located close to the structures. Do we want to risk VOC, entering our neighbor’s drinking water supply?
People need to do their own investigation. BNE energy has never built a wind turbine to date, but they want to erect the biggest turbine ever erected in New England. Yet they have filed for emergency action by the state to approve their project. The state or local municipalities have no regulations to control this type of project. What’s the hurry? I you do not believe there is a problem, conduct your own research to form your opinion. A great deal of independent research has been conducted by Save Prospect Corp and can be seen on the web site, save Prospect.com We should not be going green for the sake of going green.
Contrary to popular belief, the town does have a responsibility in the project. They are required to create zoning and wetland regulations that require responsible installation of projects and protect the residents. We have it for wood burning stoves, but not something as significant as this project. The Mayor, the Planning & Zoning Commission, the Inland Wetlands Commission and the City Council need to take action. They cannot have a project like this be their legacy to the town. They must take a stand and let the public know their position regarding the health and safety of the residents. They cannot vote present. They must take a stand. After all, they are also residents of Prospect and their neighborhood could be next if projects like these are not adequately controlled.
31 year resident of Prospect and a member of Save Prospect Corp.