‘Slanted survey’ in Barre shouldn’t be accepted as voice of community on wind energy project
This letter is in response to the misleading article published in the Orleans Hub regarding George McKenna’s so-called “survey” about bringing a wind farm to Barre.
The survey was confusing, contained too many choices, and the response options were blatantly biased. Most people I know just disregarded it and threw it in the trash. A legitimate survey should be conducted by an independent, unbiased source, not a resident who is historically and vocally opposed to turbines. On top of that, interpreting the results as showing 70% of the town are opposed to the turbines is very deceptive.
I submitted the following letter to be read at the August 12 Barre Town Board Meeting: “Of the 730 households surveyed, only 254 were returned; that means only 35% of the households responded. Of the 254 households, 176 households were against the wind turbines; that means 24% of the 730 households are against them. It goes to show that one can manipulate the data to say what you want that data to say!
“I was the sole lease holder that helped open and count the surveys. In my opinion, 65% of Barre households that did not return the survey are either in favor of them, did not get a survey or do not care. So, my conclusion of the data shows that 24% of Barre households are opposed, 76% are in favor of, did not receive a survey or do not care about industrial wind turbines.” Alas, Mr. Pogue started to read my letter to the Town Board but was unable to finish reading it. Dr. McKenna’s purpose for his survey was to obtain the opinion of the majority of the Barre household; nonresident land owners were not included to receive or respond to this survey.
In addition, at Wednesday’s board meeting, a letter in support of the wind project and common-sense updates to the town’s wind ordinance was presented. This letter was signed by over 200 Barre residents and taxpayers. By my math that is more than responded to this slanted survey in opposition to the project.
There are two sides to every story. I respect the opinions of those who oppose the turbines, but these survey results clearly leave out the majority who want to see the benefits of a wind farm brought to our community.
Ruth C. Miller