Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Another Big Win for Wind in Massachusetts Local Elections

Fairhaven WindmillsFor the third time in the last six months, southeastern Massachusetts voters delivered a major victory for clean energy yesterday. Wind turbine supporter Peter DeTerra won in a landslide over wind opponent John Wethington in the Fairhaven Board of health election:
The tally was DeTerra, 1,269, and Wethington, 717. With a 31 percent turnout (compared to 23 percent in April), Monday night's results provide DeTerra with a far more decisive victory than his one-vote win in April, which was subsequently ruled a tie by Superior Court Judge Robert Kane, who questioned one of the ballots. [...]

DeTerra swept all six Fairhaven precincts, including Precinct 5, where the town's two wind turbines — a focus of this election — are located. There, he beat Wethington by 169 votes.
As New Bedford Standard Times reporter Ariel Wittenberg points out, DeTerra avoided talking about the turbines in the April election. Judging by yesterday's result, that was a big mistake:
In April, the candidates shied away from discussing the town's controversial wind turbines, which some opponents say cause sleep deprivation and other health effects. This time around, the race seemed to be squarely centered on the turbines, with pro- and anti-turbine groups forming political action committees over the summer. Wethington attributed his loss to the success of the pro-turbine Friends of Fairhaven Wind, saying that in this re-match "the machine stepped in and got the vote out."
Lesson for candidates: If you like clean energy, say so! It's incredibly popular and not even people who live near turbines are falling for claims about "wind turbine syndrome."

The Fairhaven win for wind comes in the wake of not one but two victories in Falmouth. In April, voters at a town meeting passed on a chance to have a referendum on tearing down the turbines. Town officials decided to have the referendum anyway, so in May voters rejected tearing down the turbines by a 2-to-1 margin.

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