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Wind experts duped local officials, Blue Knob couple's lawsuit claims

New documents filed in an ongoing civil lawsuit by a Portage-area couple against the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm say that wind energy experts duped local officials into believing the turbine sound was insignificant. Todd and Jill Stull of the Blue Knob area say that developer Gamesa Energy USA and owner Babcock & Brown misled local officials by supporting development of an ordinance addressing higher noise levels.

New documents filed in an ongoing civil lawsuit by a Portage-area couple against the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm say that wind energy experts duped local officials into believing the turbine sound was insignificant.

Todd and Jill Stull of the Blue Knob area say that developer Gamesa Energy USA and owner Babcock & Brown misled local officials by supporting development of an ordinance addressing higher noise levels.

The Stulls filed an amended suit Tuesday. The ordinance establishes a maximum sound level of 45 decibels and does not address the lower frequency noises, including turbine vibration that is said to cause health and other problems suffered by the Stulls.

Mrs. Stull, holding a bottle of water inside her home, can feel the turbines' vibrations throughout her hand, their lawyer said.

Nine of the 40 windmills in Phase One of the planned three-phase wind farm are within a mile of the Stulls' home, which is situated where the Portage, Juniata and Greenfield township lines converge.

Three years ago, ordinances established that turbines must be a minimum 2,000 feet from residences and not exceed a noise level of 45 decibels. They were adopted by Portage, Washington and Cresson... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

New documents filed in an ongoing civil lawsuit by a Portage-area couple against the Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm say that wind energy experts duped local officials into believing the turbine sound was insignificant.

Todd and Jill Stull of the Blue Knob area say that developer Gamesa Energy USA and owner Babcock & Brown misled local officials by supporting development of an ordinance addressing higher noise levels.

The Stulls filed an amended suit Tuesday. The ordinance establishes a maximum sound level of 45 decibels and does not address the lower frequency noises, including turbine vibration that is said to cause health and other problems suffered by the Stulls.

Mrs. Stull, holding a bottle of water inside her home, can feel the turbines' vibrations throughout her hand, their lawyer said.

Nine of the 40 windmills in Phase One of the planned three-phase wind farm are within a mile of the Stulls' home, which is situated where the Portage, Juniata and Greenfield township lines converge.

Three years ago, ordinances established that turbines must be a minimum 2,000 feet from residences and not exceed a noise level of 45 decibels. They were adopted by Portage, Washington and Cresson townships, Cambria County, and Juniata and Greenfield townships, Blair County.

The Stulls filed the civil suit in April and, earlier this month, while a Blair judge kept the lawsuit intact, he dismissed several counts, including one claim that Gamesa created a public nuisance.

He allowed to stand a claim that Allegheny Ridge created a private nuisance.

But Pittsburgh Bradley Tupi, representing the Stulls, was told by Judge Daniel Milliron to provide additional evidence in order for a fraudulent misrepresentation claim to stand.

In the amendment, Tupi claimed the companies knew the turbines would be noisy and failed to tell local officials - whom he said were depending on the wind companies for guidance in developing local laws.

"Brian Lammers and/or other Allegheny representatives told the Portage Township officials that the wind turbines would be quiet," Tupi said in the lawsuit, referring to a May 2005 conversation with then-Supervisors James Decort and Richard Olshavsky.

"Lammers told Portage Township officials that there would be no noise or minimal noise from the wind turbines," Tupi said in the document.

The Stulls said the turbines have had a significantly negative impact on their sleep, health, quality of life and enjoyment of their 100-acre property purchased in 1992.

They describe the sound from the equipment as a "whooshing" and "screeching.''

Lammers told officials the windmill noise would be equivalent to a refrigerator.

Representatives from Babcock & Brown and Gamesa could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday. In the past, Gamesa officials have said they would not comment on the lawsuit.


Source: http://www.tribune-democrat...

DEC 24 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/18386-wind-experts-duped-local-officials-blue-knob-couple-s-lawsuit-claims
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