Opinion: Consider all options for renewed local economy, says Hopkinton man
To the Editor:
It’s time to put Hopkinton first: Let’s consider all opportunities for a renewed local economy.The proposed North Ridge Wind Farm will provide clean, safe, homegrown, renewable wind energy; help increase the quality of education for our children; create jobs; help make our roads better; and provide economic benefits to Hopkinton.
Our town is financially distressed. With the possibility of the project now being solely located in Hopkinton, our town could secure the full economic benefits of the project for years to come. We must give due diligence to an opportunity that could bring in approximately $38 million in revenue over 30 years, with $23 million for our schools, the town and the county, and $15 million for landowners through leases and good neighbor agreements.
Our town’s elected officials still have the opportunity to open Hopkinton to the many benefits of the project by modifying the overly restrictive draft wind law and adopting reasonable sound levels at residences and property line setbacks.
It’s clearly been demonstrated that wind energy development works in rural communities such as Hopkinton. The North Country hosts seven operating wind energy projects, representing over 550 wind turbines and nearly 1,000 megawatts of clean energy generation. Permitted under reasonable wind laws, they operate safely, many for nearly 10 years; enjoy widespread community support; and provide significant financial benefits to the local towns, counties and schools.
It is time for our citizens to advocate for the future prosperity of our town and its residents. Elected officials revising the local wind law must hear and recognize our voices – not those of an opposition group whose members represent about 3 percent of Hopkinton’s population, or towns that have tourism money contributing to the tax base, which we simply do not.
There are Hopkinton residents overdue on their property taxes, property owners with land that is hard to sell due to high taxes and "zombie" houses that have been abandoned by their owners. The proposed wind farm would reduce our tax burden. This is money we cannot afford to do without.
It is time we focus on creating a better future for Hopkinton and embrace the benefits that clean renewable wind energy can bring to our town for generations to come.
We urge Hopkinton residents to contact our town representatives to encourage them to revise the draft wind law to open our town to the benefits of a wind farm.