An eminent solution to Falmouth's wind woes

Town Manager Julian Suso estimates that removal of the turbines could cost up to $15.2 million
The first Falmouth turbine ready to start. Photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Office.

Isn't eminent domain a solution to Falmouth's wind turbines woes ?

The town can buy a lot of real estate for $15M

Recent weeks have seen an escalating controversy over Falmouth’s two wind turbines. Abutters claim the turbines make them ill, the energy committee chair asserts that “the voice of the people” supports the turbines and everyone in town worries over the financial impact of removing the turbines.

Indeed, the financial concerns are quite real. Town Manager Julian Suso estimates that removal of the turbines could cost up to $15.2 million. The town stands to lose close to $1 million a year--the value of the power generated by the turbines. There are also myriad concerns over the financing package that built the turbines at a cost of some $10 million.

Falmouth Energy Committee member Richard Koehler says that removing the turbines “puts us $12 million to $18 million in the hole.” We assume that higher number includes lost revenue, re-financing and other costs, versus the town manager’s $15.2 million figure.

Perhaps there’s a better solution: eminent domain.

Quite simply, the town could take the abutters’ land by eminent domain, pay the owners a fair price and continue to operate the turbines as built. Eminent domain is a taking of land “for the public good” – if ever there was a “public good” here, it is to save the town millions of dollars over a shrill minority.

In a letter to the state Energy and Environment secretary, Falmouth energy committee chair Megan Amsler refers to removing the turbines “because they bother 19 people within a 1/3 mile.” What might it cost the town to take the land of those abutters?

You can buy a lot of real estate with $15 million. welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on