VOTE DELAYED on MAYFLOWER WIND / HEIGHTS BEACH PARKING LOT BORE HOLES

FALMOUTH SELECT BOARD DELAYS VOTE TO APPROVE TEST DRILLING AT HEIGHTS BEACH PARKING LOT AND SURF DRIVE.

With reference to our earlier “Call to Action“, the Falmouth Select Board met on Monday, Oct 5th to “discuss and vote” on the above subject. you can watch that meeting on FCTV Video on Demand. The discussion began about 8:55 PM (about 1 hour 55 minutes into the meeting.

The Select Board will meet again on Monday, 10/26/2020, to review this issue further and will possibly vote at that time. If you wish to communicate your thoughts ASAP to the Select Board please email them directly at selectboard@falmouthma.gov which will deliver your email to all Select Board members. FHMNA is not authorized to forward member emails to the Select Board, so it is important for you to use the link. Thank you.

On 10/5/20, no vote was taken to approve MayFlower Wind’s request to conduct test boring at the Heights Beach Parking Lot, Surf Drive Beach or Blacksmith Shop Road sites because the Board did not yet have clearance from the town lawyer on this matter.

Instead, Mayflower Wind made a general presentation on the project and entertained some questions from the board. There was very little contained in the presentation which we were not already aware, i.e. that Mayflower Wind is seeking a suitable location to bring the power cables ashore from their proposed wind turbine farm approximately 30 miles of the South coast off Martha’s Vineyard.

The cables would run from their offshore substation, be buried subsea and then come ashore via directional drilling to a connection point (in Heights Beach parking lot, if feasible and approved) where it would connect with underground cables. The connection point would be underground and accessed/visible only as a manhole in the parking lot. The cables would then be trenched underground (likely under a roadway) to an inland substation proposed to be located at Blacksmith Shop Road in the vicinity of the town leaf dump. The cables would then go above ground via the existing right of way to Bourne and eventually connect to the electric grid.

The Board cited many of the questions raised in letters they received from members of the community; many of which resembled those we have heard from our members.

Mayflower Wind answered some basic questions but were not ready to address more specific questions regarding the details or health concerns. Mayflower Wind stated that the test bores at the Heights Beach Parking Lot, Surf Drive and Blacksmith Shop Road are very preliminary at this stage and merely to determine feasibility of the soil structure, and that specific questions are premature. Mayflower Wind did, however, fully acknowledge that should they determine that such locations are suitable and that they desire to proceed, they will of course be prepared to address all questions the Board or the community may have, particularly relative to health and safety concerns.

The bottom line is that the Select Board did NOT take a vote to permit such testing as they are awaiting information from the town lawyers. The Board was clear in stating that they would like to have answers to some of their serious, preliminary questions before they take a vote, whereas Mayflower Wind wants to address further questions only if the sites are determined to be suitable after testing.

This is going to be a long permitting and approval process on the federal, state and local levels and the Board stated there will be time for citizens to voice their opinions and concerns. Both the Select Board and Mayflower Wind clearly acknowledge this.

Further discussion and a vote on this matter has been tabled until the next Select Board meeting scheduled Monday, October 26, 2020.