KINGSTON – The Board of Health approved a modified abatement order Monday night that changes the requirements for shutting down the Independence wind turbine when it is in excess of state noise regulations, standards and policies.
Wind direction will no longer be a determining factor dictating when the turbine will be shut down, and the turbine would need to be shut down for an additional hour each day under certain conditions.
The order approved unanimously by the Board of Health requires that the turbine be shut down year-round between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m. when wind speeds reach at least 7 meters per second at the turbine hub, regardless of wind direction, and between 11:30 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. when wind speeds exceed 9 meters per second at the hub, also regardless of wind direction.
Board of Health Chairman Bill Watson supported using the wording “regardless of wind direction” to strengthen the previous order. Several residents who spoke out against the turbine asked that the board not specify a particularly wind direction as a condition for shutting down the turbine.
One was Board of Health member David Kennedy, who could not vote due to a potential conflict. Kennedy advocated for shutting it down between 11:30 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. under specified conditions based on what he said is black and white study data.
“I don’t know how a turbine developer can turn it off and then turn it back on when the wind changes,” he said.
Town attorney Jay Talerman presented the board with the draft order, in consultation with the state Department of Environmental Protection, and then the board tweaked it.
The release of a final acoustical monitoring study report triggered the scheduling of Monday night’s public hearing.
Local wind turbine developer Mary O’Donnell of Kingston, while not the owner of the Independence, took issue with the study itself. She said the results were rigged and warned of a lawsuit - even though the owner, Kingston Wind Independence, didn’t appeal the first one.
“We wait until 3 o’clock in the morning, in the middle of the winter, when there’s no leaves, and we catch them. C’mon,” she said
The first abatement order approved by the Board of Health in August 2014 required, in part, that the turbine be shutdown from midnight to 4 a.m. whenever the wind was blowing from a south or southwest direction in excess of 8 meters per second.
KWI representative Benjamin Cleaves disputed Leland Road resident Sean Reilly’s suggestion, based on his family’s experience with turbine noise over the summer, that KWI kept the turbine going even on days when it should have been shut down.