Edgartown selectmen consider sustainable energy and immigration


Robert Hanneman of the Vineyard Sustainable Energy Committee (VSEC) asked Edgartown to join his group, an all-Island effort. Mr. Hanneman is a Chilmark resident and acts as a one-man, unofficial energy committee for the town.

Mr. Hanneman told the selectmen, at their January 23 meeting, what his committee does. First, it looks for opportunities and new developments in sustainable energy. Second, he described “planning and measuring the energy ecosystem.” His committee consulted with the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) on its “Island Plan.”

“We need to look at where there are complements to what is laid out,” he said, “and cast that into the future.” Finally, the VSEC identifies opportunities that individual towns cannot take on. Buying electric school buses was an example.

Selectman Arthur Smadbeck said that bus purchases are more the domain of the regional school committees. He offered as a counterexample the idea of building a solar array in the State Forest.

“There are technical steps before we make a committee,” Mr. Smadbeck said. “There is possible financial and administrative support — that would go to town meeting — but we could form an ad hoc committee.” Mr. Hanneman said the MVC offered administrative support to his committee.

Paul Pimentel of Edgartown’s energy committee did not attend the Monday meeting, so further discussion was postponed.

Police Chief Dan Rossi told the selectmen he is confused about the intent of the We Stand Together warrant article that asks the town to refrain from using its funds to enforce immigration laws. Chief Rossi said that if there were any changes in federal law, his department would have to cooperate.

“I understand that some people are living in fear,” he said, “but we give [illegal immigrants] the same consideration as a U.S. citizen.” He said he is unclear as to why the article was needed.

Mr. Smadbeck said that if the article is allowed on the warrant, he suspects it will not be approved by the state attorney general, who reviews all town meeting actions.

“If we pass something that doesn’t pass muster with the state,” he said, “they send it back to us and say, ‘Sorry, guys.’” There will be further discussion of the article at the annual town meeting, on April 11 at 7 pm in the Old Whaling Church.