Block Islanders sound off on wind farm

There's been a lot of talk and a lot of planning about putting wind turbines in the water surrounding Block Island, but islanders didn't have a chance to voice their opinions at a public hearing until Monday.

"I do not think this project should go forward. I think it's a poor use of the waters under the trust of the state. And it's an economic and environmental albatross for the ratepayers of National Grid," Town Council member Chris Warsel said.

More than 100 Block Islanders came to voice their opinions. Many spoke in support of the project because they'll save money or because they support renewable energy.

"This is our chance to play a small role in a situation that could bring about positive change on a global scale. So get your green on, Rhode Island. Stand up and be heard. Support the Block Island wind farm project for our future," said Wendy Zeldman-Wilson, a Block Island resident.

Deepwater Wind has won the right to build a much larger wind farm farther off shore. Executives believe the project will launch a new industry in Rhode Island.

"When you're right there at the Southeast Lighthouse, which the southeast corner, you'll be able to see all five (turbines). But from most locations on the island, you won't be able to see the wind farm," said Jeffrey Grybowski, CEO of Deepwater Wind.

Some will continue to fight against it.

"Seascapes are an integral part of our national, state and local cultural and natural resource heritage. They should be recognized as such and not be in play for developmental risk," said David Lewis of Block Island.

The Coastal Resources Management Council will be holding its third and final public hearing on the matter at 10 a.m. Thursday at the University of Rhode Island Bay Campus in Narragansett.