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The Governor’s “End-Run” around “Home Rule”

The Governor’s “End-Run” around “Home Rule”

The Department of Public Utilities, by order of our “Teflon Don” Governor, is flanking the State Legislature’s scrutiny of land-based wind turbine siting and urinating on principles of “Home Rule” authority.

Governor Patrick’s initiative of making the Berkshires and Cape Cod his bastions of land based wind energy development has taken dire new twist.  

The Patrick Administration’s desire for wind energy is no secret.  Notable policies include a Renewable portfolio standard that requires 22% of the state's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020 and a goal of installing 2,000 MW of WIND power in the state by 2020.  To do WIND he needs the Cape and the Berkshires.  However, Gubernatorial guided wind targets have had strong blow-back from scrutinizing state legislators.  

The warning signal to the People’s representatives came from Princeton MA.  The two wind turbines mortgaged with public money in 2006 have sent the town into near bankruptcy. The wind power experiment in Princeton has been an unmitigated failure.  Yet, you wouldn’t be able to discern that from our governors jovial tone on the subject.

The determination to meet his policy’s goal and to ‘shoe-horn’ industrial turbines into every corner he can, now falls upon the jurisdictional authority of the Department of Public Utilities (DPU.  You remember!  The agency responsible for blackmailing NStar and National Grid into buying power from wind-energy projects who’s extra costs per kilowatt hour is now being transfered to economically challenged Commonwealth customers.

The lapdog DPU is now taking state-wide public comment on Best Practices regarding land-based wind turbines.  Interestingly, here’s an excerpt of what the BERKSHIRE REGIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION (one of two state recognized regional planning authority - the other - the Cape Cod Commission) submitted for comment:  

“The BRPC recognizes the need for, and supports the identification of, additional science-based best practices for the siting of land-based wind energy facilities. However, the BRPC opposes the development of best practices by the Department of Public Utilities (DPU). We are puzzled as to why the DPU is taking the lead in the development of wind energy facility guidelines, as this agency does not have jurisdiction over the siting of energy generating facilities that generate less than 100 MW and thus is very unlikely to oversee the permitting of any land-based wind energy projects in the state. Furthermore, BRPC opposes any reduction in the 100 MW permitting threshold for DPU as a means of circumventing local control over renewable energy generation projects.”

Falmouth and other Cape Cod communities take heed.  The DPU has the authority to make the cause of the greater good more important than local government’s attempts of enhancing all aspects of a community’s general welfare. At the direction of the Governor, the DPU has the power, and can remove “Home Rule” authority.

Falmouth has already become a revised edition of Princeton.  It’s time other Cape and Berkshire towns tell the DPU (the Governor) we won’t stand to be (pardon the euphemism) “pissed” on.  

Participation is encouraged by either comment at the public hearing or via E-filing.    

The hearing is scheduled Wednesday Jan. 22 at 4 p.m. at Knight Auditorium at Barnstable High School, 744 W. Main St., Hyannis.  If electronic format is preferred (dead-line for E-file submission is February 6, 2014) e-mail attachment and sent to: the Secretary of the Department at Mark.Marini@state.ma.us; the Department website at DPU.efiling@state.ma.us; to the Hearing Officer, at Kathryn.Sedor@state.ma.us; and Andrew.Greene@state.ma.us, and Enid.Kumin@state.ma.us.

More information is available at http://www.env.state.ma.us/dpu/docs/siting/13-165/11113dpuord.pdf

Please... Press the envelope for public service.  It’s not about wind energy.  It’s about “Home Rule.”  Let them hear your voice!

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