Library filed under Impact on People from Vermont
The Public Service Board, which should have the word “public” removed from it, came out with their new temporary standards on industrial wind turbine noise standards. Shocked, I guess I shouldn’t be; angry, you bet I am.
Recently a majority of the town of Windham Select Board and the chair and members of our Planning Commission sent a letter to Iberdrola responding to that corporation’s determination that some 3,000 acres central to our town are a spot “well-suited for a wind project.” We cite a number of reasons for disagreeing with Iberdrola’s conclusion, including the fact that “over 200 Windham homes lie within 1.5 miles of at least one turbine,” and we state our unwillingness “to subject any of our town’s property owners to the unknown short- and long-term effects of exposure to turbine noise, vibration, infrasound, and shadow flicker.”
“Given the marked unsuitability of the Stiles Brook Forest for an industrial wind installation, we ask that you suspend your involvement with this project immediately.”
So, if you want to understand and empathize with the plight of certain Vermonters, you might want to read “Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass.” If you are unfortunate enough to live in Vermont anywhere near a ridgeline and a powerline, you will definitely want to read these books. They will serve as a primer on what your life will be like when the wind developers come, as they almost certainly will, to your town.
The Shumlin administration and legislative leaders are questioning aspects of a renewable energy siting bill passed in the waning hours of the 2016 legislative session. The concerns may prompt Gov. Peter Shumlin to veto the bill, according to Rep. Tony Klein, the chairman of the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee.
Host Brett Gaskill speaks with Annette Smith, executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, on the current issues of industrial wind power in Vermont.
NEW HAVEN, Vt. - Ed Rybka and his husband, Kevin, moved to their land in New Haven four years ago from LA.
In the summary judgment request, Anderson incorporates several years of public record in the Brouha case leading up to the DPS case being opened, after DPS’s own consultant determined that the wind facility’s noise standards may have been exceeded.
Throughout the afternoon, the Democrat-controlled body blocked amendments from state Sen. John Rodgers, D-Essex/Orleans. Rodgers attempted to give authority to the more than 100 Vermont towns seeking to end the Public Service Board’s rubber-stamping of solar and wind development. The reaction by towns has come to be known as the Vermont Energy Rebellion.
The board determined the Bennington project failed the “Quechee test,” which requires that a proposal conform to a “clear, written community standard intended to preserve the aesthetics or scenic beauty of the area.” Bennington’s town plan contains four such standards that apply to that specific location, the board said, and New York-based Chelsea Solar’s project would have violated three.
“To the benefit of the wind industry, and apparently to those agencies promoting large wind installations on our ridgelines here in Vermont, the issue of infrasound has thus far been successfully suppressed and ignored.” His talk will point out that methodological shortcomings plague many of the large-scale industry or government-sponsored studies that state agencies rely upon to establish protective sound levels.
It’s no secret that many of his neighbors are dead-set against the endeavor. Their lawn signs have proliferated throughout this corner of Vermont. Opponents to construction on this ridge helped launch the recent call for a total ban on “industrial,” large-scale wind in Vermont.
Taken together with the thousands of case reports from around the world (I personally have seen three families here in the Northeast Kingdom that have been forced to abandon their homes due to adverse health effects from nearby wind turbines), stricter full-spectrum noise standards for these large wind projects are urgently needed.
The Vermont Department of Public Service, for the first time, acknowledged that wind farm neighbors sometimes experience severe negative effects from turbines spinning, she says. The department’s Dec. 23 filing describes the McLanes’ complaints as “credible and serious” and states there is evidence “of a significant impairment of the quality of life for some nearby residents.” There is reason to believe, the department determined, that the McLanes potentially suffer significant adverse health effects.
Brouha is asking the PSB to require permanent, continuous sound monitoring at his home by a third party. The Public Service Board has scheduled a hearing for Jan. 8 to determine if additional clarification of the sound standards is needed, and whether the commercial wind project is in violation of its certificate of public good.
In a wide-ranging meeting, Grafton residents gathered Monday to discuss everything from possible health effects of wind turbines on surrounding residents to suggested economic benefits of cutting taxes with yearly payments from wind companies. But what much of the discussion boiled down to is a Vermont town’s inability to have any control over industrial wind projects.
The group drummed outside the rally, advocating against a recently proposed wind turbine project in Swanton. They want lawmakers to re-evaluate the pace and size of the renewable energy projects popping up across Vermont. Specifically, the group believes people and families living near the sites of these projects are being overlooked in the development.
The department then filed documents Oct. 14 saying that the department “recommends that the board initiate an investigation in response” to Brouha’s concerns, and that the department is “unable to enforce the project noise conditions as currently written with sufficient certainty to make objective determinations of CPG compliance.”
On July 1, 2014, Acentech performed the same measurements at Mr. Brouha’s home as in the NPC Report. More than 15 months later, on October 14, 2015, the DPS filed with the PSB its long-awaited report from Acentech, with comments from DPS Special Counsel Aaron Kisicki (802)-828-3785, finding the NPC Report correctly establishes the interior noise levels at Mr. Brouha’s home are greater than 30 dBA (Leq)(1). According to Acentech’s report, it is reasonable to conclude the interior noise levels at Mr. Brouha’s home exceeded the CPG noise standard by as much as 14% of the time.
Debate continues to swirl around how well wind project developers monitor the sound their turbines produce. One pending investigation into possible noise violations focuses on towers atop a ridge in Sheffield.