Library filed under Impact on People from Maine
The facts are the facts and the science is very clear - mountaintop industrial wind destroys forests, lays waste to fragile mountaintops, alters mountain hydrology, causes soil erosion and heavy metal leaching, eliminates important wildlife habitat, kills birds and bats, and does NOT reduce carbon emissions. In addition, it destroys the wild, scenic quality and silence of the mountains with flashing red lights and industrial high and low frequency sounds.
In the background, the turbines churn like a rotating drum powered by Blakean bellows. What is so distracting is that the quality of sound varies from moment to moment. This is not the noise of a highway, a factory, an airport, or even the noise scape of a city. Turbine noise is as variable as the shifting wind, cementing one's attention to intermittency like the rotating lights on a police cruiser. That is on the good days.
First Wind tried to end the appeal with a cash settlement that, according to one source, jumped to $2-million in a failed effort by the company to reboot negotiations. ...however, the company's offer stretched beyond the appeal. In addition to dropping their appeal, the members of the suit would have been required to sign off on a sound easement against their property. A gag order would have prevented them from talking about it.
Petitioners who asked the Board of Environmental Protection to lower the allowable nighttime noise level of the turbines are unhappy that the standards were lowered by only 3 decibels, from 45 to 42, rather than to the 35-decibel level they sought, said Portland attorney Rufus Brown ..."So far it's the only time where the issues we've raised have been seriously. I think it's a landmark in that sense."
The state's top environmental regulators are trying to come up with new rules to control the noise made by those big commercial windmills. Opponents of wind power cite noise as one of their major complaints, and it has become the apparent achilles heel of commercial wind farms in Maine. Duration 2 minutes 9 seconds
That department's Board of Environmental Protection has been working since December to decide if Maine needs tougher noise standards. Acting DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho says the existing noise rules come from 1989, long before there were any wind farms envisioned for the state.
Staff with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection have waded into the debate over noise from commercial wind turbines by recommending a slight reduction in the decibel level that could trigger a noise violation for wind farms located near homes or businesses.
Fox Islands Wind Neighbors and other individuals are asking judges to nullify a June 2011 DEP order against the wind power project developer. Instead, the group wants the court to institute an earlier version developed by DEP staff that imposed tougher compliance requirements.
Selectman Maryann Haxton asked how the sound problem could be corrected. James replied that guidelines of 35 decibels should be set for turbines and to require them to be located a mile and a half away from homes. ...Someone asked about home appraisals and James said real estate agents were no longer appraising any homes near windmills.
Guides and sporting camp owners are highly independent, but Bowers Mountain has led them to organize against wind power. Several are expected to testify Monday and Tuesday evening at public hearings in Lincoln before the Land Use Regulation Commission.
This complaint was filed with the Maine Public Utility on behalf of ratepayers and members of the Fox Islands Electric Cooperative ("FIEC") aggrieved by unreasonable practices engaged in and unreasonable rates charged by FIEC.
While thousands of wind power enthusiasts and industry representatives gather in Anaheim Calif. for Windpower 2011, the American Wind Power Association's popular annual conference and exhibition, some 3,300 miles due east, wind power is tearing a tiny island community asunder.
The proposed minimum setback is longer than three football fields, but it's still way too short, wind opponents say, to keep people from being disturbed by the noise, low-frequency sound pressure and vibrations that turbines and their blades spinning atop 300-foot towers can make under various wind conditions.
Rufus Brown said it wasn't enough to let potentially problematic turbines be built before dealing with the consequences. He took offense to Smith's assertion that it was unfair to submit Patriot to another hearing. "That is exactly upside-down," Brown said. "It is fundamentally unfair to the people in this neighborhood to this project ... when there are so many uncertainties."
A coaltion that includes professional Maine guides and sporting camp owners has joined an effort to stop a proposed wind farm in eastern Maine. The group also is asking Gov.-elect Paul LePage for a moratorium on large wind projects until cost-benefit studies of existing wind farms can be carried out.
Last week, in a letter to the wind farm's developers, Maine's Department of Environmental Protection concluded that the turbines do, under certain conditions, exceed state noise limits of 45 decibels. The agency further ordered the developer, within the next 60 days, to come up with a new operational plan.
Fox Islands Wind has until December 3rd to outline exactly what its intentions for addressing the problems. Within 60 days, the utility is required to implement a noise mitigation plan. On Nov. 6th, the neighbors filed a second official complaint and have more than a dozen additional complaints cued up for submittal.
As a neighbor of the wind turbine farm, this year has been a journey from hope to anger and disgust. ...Our experience has forced me to look into the deeper issues of industrial wind - the technology, economics and politics - and the investigation has been an uncomfortable journey. It has brought my once-honey-eyed vision of easy, green power to the conclusion that industrial wind energy is, at present, bad science, bad economics and bad politics.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has asked the Fox Islands Electric Cooperative to submit a revised protocol for the operation of the three turbines on Vinalhaven. The protocol could include slowing down the turbines during certain times to mitigate the noise level.
People opposed to the sacrifice of Maine's landscape have the deck stacked against them. Laws in place prevent citizens from challenging the economic and environmental assumptions used to justify wind power. The cumulative effects of multiple wind projects are ignored by the agencies responsible for protecting our environment and wildlife habitats. How did this happen?