RAYMONDVILLE — Two wind farms have until next week to answer a lawsuit in which residents accuse wind turbines of creating noise, devaluing property and posing possible health risks, federal court records show.
Records show U.S. District Judge Hilda Tagle requested that Duke Energy and E.ON Climate & Renewables North America and other defendants answer accusations by Feb. 6.
The companies requested Dec. 27 that the lawsuit originally filed Nov. 27 in 197th State District Court here be moved to federal court.
Twenty-three residents including Willacy County Commissioner Noe Loya and Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Juan Silva Jr. filed the lawsuit, arguing the companies built wind turbines on their properties that created “nuisances.”
Elon Hasson, spokesman for E.ON in Chicago, said the company was reviewing the lawsuit.
“We develop all of our wind farms in a safe, state-of-the-art and responsible manner,” Hasson said in an email. “We believe these claims will be shown to have no validity.”
Tammie McGee, spokeswoman for Duke in Charlotte, N.C., declined comment but added the plaintiffs consented to the placement of turbines on their properties.
The companies built “hundreds” of wind turbines that stand 467-feet high and weigh 7 tons on the properties of plaintiffs who received or will receive money and tax benefits that will exceed $50 million, the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit states the companies “carelessly and negligently failed to adequately disclose the true nature and effects that the wind turbines would have on the community, including the plaintiffs’ homes.”
The companies told residents that the wind turbines “would not be noisy, would not adversely impact neighboring houses and there would not be any potential health risks,” the lawsuit states.
But the wind turbines create noise, reduce property values, interfere with television, telephone, satellite and Internet reception and destroy “scenic countryside,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit states the wind turbines create “acoustic pressure pulsations that affect peoples’ health.”
Some residents were “even forced to abandon their homes,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit states “permanent and irreparable harm will be caused to the area” because the companies and county did not plan to remove the turbines when their approximately 20-year lifespan expires.
Loya “can no longer enjoy sitting outside because of the loud noise,” the lawsuit states. “The turbines also cause noise both inside and outside of the home, disturbing the peace and making it difficult to enjoy living there. (Loya) also experiences problems with his television reception. The wind turbines have also had a negative impact on the value of the property, among other losses,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuits states Silva “has difficulty sleeping, cannot have his windows open (and) cannot enjoy the sound of nature, due to loud noise from wind turbines.”