Well, this post probably won’t go over well with some of you… But at least I’ll tell you the truth. Here’s the deal…
According to the experts at the Tues., March 30th Selectman’s Meeting, somewhere between 70% – 78% of our town budget is employee based. (That isn’t totally out of skew with government standards.) Now, think back to my Wed., March 24th post… I told you that last year, the insurance cost to the town went up 18% from a projected 3% increase… Do you see a pattern here?
I’m about to say something that virtually no political candidate has the guts to say – “Your taxes are going up.” They have to… We simply cannot maintain our current level of community living standard and at the same time hold the taxes level. However, there are some steps that we can take that will at least keep the wolf away from our door. In my last post, I discussed expanding the bike/hiking routes into the Port and in doing so would help to invigorate Harwich’s economy overall. But that’s not going to be enough. We need real economic horsepower going forward…
So here’s what I suggest… Why don’t we act on the two windmills proposed for North Harwich? Yes, I’ve heard the concerns about “neurological heath effects of wind turbines”, and “Wind Turbine Syndrome”, and “wind energy noise impacts”. I’ve done my homework… But I’ve also talked with virtually every breathing human in Harwich, and the unspoken truth is this… Either they’re for wind power, or they want it but don’t want it in their back yard. We all want alternative energy and a clean environment. We all hate doing business with the Middle East. But no one wants a windmill in their back yard. That’s the dirty little secret no one will tell you. (Geez… I wonder why Teddy Kennedy was pro Green energy, but against the Nantucket Wind Farm???)
Are there legitimate concerns about birds and other wildlife? Sure. Are there noise concerns? Yes. But the bottom line is that the cost of running this entire town is rising with no end in sight. Experts say that a couple of windmills will save us a ton… (The windmills will probably generate around $4,000,000.00 minimum with no threat of liability…) Unfortunately, it’s all too easy for some to dig their heels in and simply say “No! I don’t want that in my back yard…” But the bottom line is we’re going to have to find a way to generate some monetary influx, or things are going to get damned expensive, damned fast in everybody’s mailbox come tax time.
Finally, there is one last factor that no one wants to even think about – that of national public good. We here in Harwich (and Cape Cod) take our electricity consumption as a given. We feed off the grid and pay our bills… (Who knows where the juice was originally created? New York? Canada? Energy is just a commodity bought and sold.) But truth be told, our country derives almost 50% of it’s energy from coal, and that is a dirty, dangerous business. Look at the two pics below…
That carnage is from a coal ash damn break. The gray stuff you see is a mix of lead, thallium, and God only knows what else. The environmental damage will be both horrifying and mind-numbing at the same time… Quote: “The TVA spill was 100 times larger than the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, which released 10.9 million gallons of crude oil.” Here are more images.
The bottom line as I see it is that energy isn’t free no matter where it comes from. But at least we here in Harwich (and on the Cape in general) have a chance to invest in environment-friendly power generation and help our much-burdened economy. It seems like the least we could do.
P.S. Whether you like my idea about energy generation, or have a different take on the matter… I humbly suggest that you think of (and pray for) the dead and missing West Virginia miners… IMHO, it’s all too easy for us to sit in pleasant old Harwich, turn on the light switch, and fail to grasp the repercussions of what it really takes to generate electricity. If you don’t agree with me… Fine. If you think “solar”, “tidal”, “local oil drilling”, or “nuclear” is the way to go… Fine. As a matter of fact, you probably won’t get an argument from me concerning any of those alternatives. But I do believe it’s long overdue that we re-think how we’re going to power the future of Harwich. Right now, we have that opportunity smack-dab in front of us to go forward with wind power, and I say that we at least take that first step.
* Nat Decants: A thorough glossary from Natalie MacLean, noted wine writer, speaker, and judge.
* eRobertParker.com: “The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Fine Wines”
* GLOSSARY of Wine-Tasting Terminology (Version 1.4 – Jan. 1995): A thorough collection of definitions from Anthony Hawkins.