Editorial ought to have reflected wind power’s health advantages

To the Editor:

Wind power has important advantages that received no attention in your editorial of 23 September 2010.

Its potential role in helping free the country from dependence on foreign oil despots and reducing greenhouse emissions from fossil fuel combustion have been discussed a lot, but few people are aware that around 54,000 Americans die prematurely every year because we burn so much coal (estimate of the Nobel laureate organization Physicians for Social Responsibility). While opponents of commercial scale wind power surely have no intention to do so, their opposition is in fact a vote for continuing all of those things.

Your opposition to offshore wind turbines appears to be based principally on your feeling that they will degrade the look of the Vineyard seascape. You have as much right as anyone else to feel that way and to use your editorial page to express your opinion. But as the largest-circulation news medium in a small community, you also bear professional journalistic responsibility to acknowledge the other side’s substantive arguments when you weigh in on a controversial issue. Your editorial did not meet that responsibility.

Our country has a huge fossil fuel problem that is penalizing us dearly every day it continues. We should not accept those penalties just because we have become used to them. Offshore wind power is part of a national solution to the problem, and we Vineyarders live in the middle of the strongest wind belt on either coast. That creates another kind of responsibility for us as a community, one that can be looked upon as an opportunity for national service rather than a burden.

James Prichard

West Tisbury