Articles filed under Noise from Maine
An attorney has advised selectmen that sound limits in the town's revised Wind Energy Facility Ordinance are "pretty low" compared to others she has reviewed.
The state high court overturned a lower court ruling Thursday that had chastised the Department of Environmental Protection’s commissioner for loosening noise requirements for the island’s wind turbines.
In a ruling issued Monday, Kennebec County Superior Court justice Michaela Murphy overturned a controversial regulatory decision Aho made in June 2011 involving noise violations at a Vinalhaven wind farm, saying there was “no rational basis or relevant evidence” to support it. Aho’s decision, which reversed the recommendations of DEP staff and the Attorney General’s Office, was the exact outcome sought by Vinalhaven’s Fox Island Wind, which was represented by Pierce Atwood, the state’s largest law firm, where Aho had worked until earlier that year.
An acoustics investigator is disputing a recently released report that indicated Beaver Ridge Wind in Freedom is operating at noise levels below the noise limit required of similar wind projects. Stephen Ambrose, of Windham, reported to the legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee that he felt the report, which was conducted by an independent third party, failed to take into account noise results from particularly windy days.
Peace and tranquility that Gosselin says he no longer has ever since 28 wind turbines were placed on top of Mars Hill mountain in 2007. “It sounds like a loud airplane overhead never leaving for it’s destination,” Gosselin said.
"We are encouraged to see that the Court will not be a rubber stamp for DEP decisions on wind power. This is a decision that FMM finds helpful because the Court addresses the health and environmental impacts of wind power projects."
The court unanimously agreed with the groups' appeal of a ruling by the Board of Environmental Protection that backed the DEP's decision that the nighttime noise level for the windmills should be at or below 45 decibels.
14 of the 22 wind turbines stretch 4 miles across the Record Hill Ridge in Roxbury. Roxbury residents approved the project but the town of Byron, where Paquette lives, turned it down. Philip Paquette: "No one wants it their backyard but it's not in my backyard it's in Roxbury's and they put it in my backyard when I said no."
After hearing from the attorneys for the farm owners, the town and the developer, Justice Andrew M. Horton determined there was some controversy about where sound receptors were located and told the two parties to submit a brief describing their locations by next Wednesday.
Reacting to a series of noise complaints by a small group of people on Concord Pond, Patriot Renewables hired Resource Systems Group (RSG) to monitor turbine sound from August 15 to September 6, 2012. The monitoring station and a meterological station were put in on the north shore of Concord Pond - 1.6 miles from the nearest turbine.
Woodstock property owners near the Spruce Mountain Wind turbines - particularly camp owners on Shagg and Concord ponds - said at a public informational meeting last week that noise from the towers is louder than expected, because it carries over water and bounces off nearby hills. Its effects, some said, include sleepless nights and headaches, as well as general annoyance.
Kuras told Roxbury selectmen Tuesday night that the low frequency noise sounds like something heavy tumbling in a clothes dryer. ..."I know what the ice in the lake sounds like and this noise is not that," she said. "This is a repetitive thumping sound: a whemp, whemp. What was once a quiet night's sleep is now this."
According to facilities committee chair Edmund Hartt, no acoustic engineer was brought on-site to evaluate the project. The problem with spending money on an acoustic study is that there is no extra money. ...The three committee members unanimously voted to ask the school board whether an acoustic engineer should be hired to conduct a sound study.
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."
In a split decision, the Maine Board of Environmental Protection voted Thursday to impose more stringent noise regulations on commercial wind turbines operating near homes or businesses.
Maine's noise law applies a decades-old standard that critics contend did not anticipate the unique noise and vibrations generated by 400-foot-tall wind turbines. Industry representatives argue that the existing standards and practices observed by companies are sufficiently protective.
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.
"It's not new blades," said Baker. "They're applying these serrations to the trailing edge of the blades. They look like sharks teeth. We're going to have the meanest looking turbines on the East Coast." Baker said the Vinalhaven installation is only the third application of the LNTE system, worldwide.
The petitioners have asked the court to vacate the June 30 order and to replace it with an order drafted by DEP staff. Earlier this year, DEP staff prepared a draft order requiring submission of data and requiring Fox Island Wind to post operational sound and meteorological data on a website for public review.