Maria Mitchell Association Clarifies Position On "Good Neighbor Agreement"

Joanna Roche •

To the editor: The Maria Mitchell Association participated in the Good Neighbor Agreement (GNA), alongside the Town and Nantucket Preservation Trust, with the express interest of protecting the dark skies of Nantucket and specifically the astronomy research we have done here since 1908. This long history will be impacted by the development of wind farms off the shores of Nantucket, as well as our community education nights at our observatories. To mitigate that real and monetary impact, the MMA signed onto the GNA formally in 2020, with the best information we had at the time.

As part of that agreement, we are required to convey support for the Vineyard Wind project, and we received a partial payment in the fall of 2021. The funds will help us continue the legacy of our 121-year-old historic association and will be focused on our goals of making science accessible to all, hands-on learning, and fostering a connection to nature. We have chosen to invest in repair and restoration of our Vestal Street Observatory and the development of our Discovery center and Aquarium on Washington Street.

We plan to continue advocating for dark skies and light mitigation as the other wind farm projects roll out, by reviewing appropriate light measurements and the impact to dark skies.

Since signing the GNA, we have filed public comments on South Coast Wind and Beacon Wind projects and we plan to participate in the BOEM comment periods for the other Wind Farm permit applications, to try and ensure that there is the highest sensitivity to the impact on our work and on our island.

Joanna Roche
Executive Director, Maria Mitchell Association

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