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'First Wind' offer stilled by objections

Brimfield residents filled up the Brimfield Elementary School cafeteria during an informational session on a controversial wind farm project off of Route 20. Many came to oppose the project. Rich Hosford. (click for larger version)
September 30, 2010
BRIMFIELD — Around 250 turned out at the Brimfield Elementary School to weigh in on a controversial wind turbine project during a Board of Selectmen meeting and public information session on Wednesday, Sept. 29.

The only item on the agenda was for the board to decide whether or not to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Wind Development, the Boston-based company looking to build between eight to 10 wind turbines, each 400 feet tall and producing up to 30 megawatts of electricity, on West Mountain, just north of Route 20. The memorandum would not have committed the town to any agreement, Selectmen Chairman Thomas C. Marino explained, and would have meant that First Wind would have provided the town $30,000 for independent research into the impact of the project.

However, the board voted unanimously not to sign the agreement after three hours of citizens expressing their opposition to the project.

"The agreement provides for the termination by either party," he said, "We could choose to stop at any time."

Marino explained signing the memorandum would have given the town funds to research the environmental impact, noise effects and financial and economic impacts of the project. He stated he was not taking a stance on the whole project, but did think this step was in the best interest of the town.

"It is better we have the information that not have it," he said. "We need outside help to get it because we are not experts."

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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